I believe Life is an incredible miracle, made manifest by a universal mystical and spiritual power many have named God. God is Life. God is Love. God is Good. The best life is full of love and goodness, full of Godliness. To me, God is the power behind, within and between all things known, unknown and unknowable. You can call God or the Universe by any name and affiliate it’s power with any spiritual system and color it with any cultural, theological or philosophical paint, but the truth of that power remains the same. It is all encompassing, all pervasive and its force is truly universal, holistic and indivisible. People like to separate things into categories, to define and control them and make use of their understanding. As I believe all things are part of the Universe and naturally inseparable (though they may appear so), defining God or the Universe as something separate from us “lowly” human beings seems illogical. We are all part of God. We have Godliness within us and the power to make manifest what could be considered miracles.
We live in a three-dimensional reality of height, width and depth. We exist in the presence of matter, energy and space-time. Each day we observe light, darkness and twilight times. We feel good, bad or indifferent. Many agree, across cultures, that we experience the passages of life, death and an afterlife. The most basic unit of our reproductive ability consists of a father, mother and child. Do you see a pattern of three emerging? That is the essential number needed to manifest the light-filled miracles of our hopes, dreams, wants, wishes and even the darkness of our fears. Since antiquity accounts of the number three appear again and again, on this third rock from the sun, as a harbinger of change, growth and rebirth. The number two represents opposition or polarity, the creative and destructive forces of the universe, which will remain in conflict until a third force is introduced to sway that entropy or provide a balancing influence. Three comes to represent creation itself and the triangulation of forces that leads to the manifestation of energy into matter
Here are just a few examples of the repeated reference to triangular relationships in nature, literature, science, spirituality and culture that underpin and lend efficacy to the notion of the number three manifesting reality and changing the form of what we perceive as truth: From our understanding of the human condition, the three aspects of human nature are body, mind and spirit; the three aspects of human culture are art, science and religion; the three parts of human will can be characterized as thought, feeling and action. From science and mathematics, there is the triangular Pythagorean theorem, Isaac Newton’s 3 Laws of Physics and the triplet codons of the DNA/genome structure that is the basis for all life as we know it. From our sacred spiritual traditions we may observe a Holy Trinity in the Christian faith of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as well as the three Wise Men or Magi and the Christ rising from the dead after three days; the three gods of the Hindu religion, Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer and Shiva the Destroyer who preside over an endless cycle of birth, growth and renewal; the three saintly entities of Amitabha Buddha in the Buddhist faith; and, the Maid, Mother and Crone trinity, as represented by the triskelion, of the ancient Celtic or Pagan religious tradition.
We are constantly reminded of the presence of the number three in our everyday lives, morning, noon and night. We stop at traffic lights with three colored signals that cause us to stop, go or use caution when driving. Our goals are often characterized as immediate, short-term or long-term and their results seen as a win, a loss or a draw. Each day we face the sun, each night the moon and in our dreams the sleeping earth grounds us in it’s cosmic cradle. Our psyches are run by a self-conscious ego, a subconscious intuition and a super-conscious continuum. Our will, the performing, demonstrative aspect of our being, can be characterized as active, passive or reciprocal. We must deal with needs, wants and compromises to survive and flourish in this reality. Action, reaction and synchronicity govern Newton’s 3rd law of physics – that equal and opposite forces must balance each other to have three dimensions exist harmoniously. What we do, what really matters in space and time, is ultimately effective, affective or reflective of our needs, desires and will. In all relationships we are essentially independent, dependent or inter-dependent. Energy goes outward, inward or is transformed. In all these examples of our three-fold nature, nurture and self-orchestrated renewal we are bound by the number three to manifest what we must know to become what we must be in compelling physical, intellectual and mystical form.
So how do we make manifest such miracles as I have described? How do we find happiness, health and heaven on earth? It’s by using the power of three to your advantage! Recently some researchers in the scientific realm of quantum mechanics have come to some startling conclusions, based on years of research that I won’t bore you with, about how our minds can manipulate matter and events. Research in the fields of synchronistic events, the scientific observer effect and the quantum uncertainty principle indicate the power of our predominant thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and expectations can influence reality so as to effect change over a random or average result by about 3% above chance! Yes, we are shaping reality – or as I like to put it – we are “real-izing” reality or making it bend to our wills, about 3% of the time (which is also about how much brain activity we’re using at any given time). People can influence events by changing their attention and the world mirrors back to us our assertions and assumptions, reminding us that we have a magical part of God within us. What we focus on and feel is merely a metaphysical perception but we make it real.
If you want to make manifest what you believe you want, need and dream about – too late – you’re already doing it! If it’s not what you really want or feel you deserve, just dream bigger and have more faith – focus more deeply, have a crisper vision and feel more gratitude and what you wish for and are willing to create becomes your new reality over time. But let me put it another way with three simple rules that will guide you along the way to the self-directed, consciously guided miracle of manifestation: 1) Give your best, everyday… 2) Receive what’s best in all situations… and, 3) Share the best of what you have with All. Happy manifesting and may the power of three be the key that sets you free!
There are no guarantees in life. This existence we call reality is unpredictable, fraught with upheavals, reversals and all kinds of twists and turns. Just when we think we’re on a path with sure and certain footing, the ground can give way. It is our expectations that bring disappointments; our inability to accept and flow with change that makes adaptation so challenging. We all prefer what’s familiar and can forget the adventure of life demands change and flexibility. It is the flexible mind-set that fairs best in times of change and a flexible, strong body that weathers the unpredictable nature of life. We each have strong wants and needs, related to our subconscious desires and self-conscious awareness. When these two states of consciousness are married, and their differences honored, we are able to come to an understanding of “super-consciousness” where the needs of the self are recognized within the framework of the greater whole of life-awareness and cosmic consciousness is revealed. This leads to a state of creative flow, what is commonly referred to as being in “the zone.” One’s passive and assertive sides, the analogous navigator and driver of one’s consciousness is made available so one’s purpose can be understood and reached. As state of harmonious awakening then comes into being.
If the purpose of life is to grow, learn, heal and expand consciousness, it is essential to meditate on one’s place in life and to escape the confines of ego, fear and desperation. One must embrace change and uncertainty with bravery, selflessness and openness to fully understand one’s purpose and potential. We all intrinsically want and need love, peace, purpose and freedom – the channels to true prosperity and happiness. We know these things to be our birthrights, what we each deserve as human beings. But there can be no love without bravery, no peace without sacrifice, no purpose without discipline and no freedom without justice.
These are the four foundational lessons of life and karma. Aligning one’s self with such knowledge and wisdom will inevitably enlighten one’s experience of life. Ignoring these lessons and neglecting their development shortens one’s potential for conscious evolution. If there is one purpose to each day, let it be this: make your life a shining example of good in the world and leave the world better each day than how you found it. Embody the bravery, sacrifice, discipline and justice you know will make a difference and reshape the world to your highest standard of what you wish it to be. In all things, be faithful, grateful and generous and no door in this life will be closed to you.
In life, it can be challenging to prioritize our needs and wants in order to reach our dreams and goals. Choosing one path inevitably means giving up another. Taking one action or making one decision always means another choice is left unexplored. This past January, due to unforeseen changes in my domestic situation, I chose to take on new consulting work that required using my energy and attention in ways I never had before and more travel than I was accustomed to. This lead me to certain realizations about how there were limits on what I could give of myself in other areas of my life. My life had turned a corner and I needed to figure out how I could balance my new work with all the previous commitments I had made and with the goals I had set out for myself. I kept wondering, “What must I change to have everything I want?” and “How can I integrate my needs with what I dream of doing?” I began to discover that I’d have to give up some things for others and as I’ve stated before, everything is a trade-off. I want to share how I began to overcome my challenges of having enough time, energy and attention to set myself free, even while honoring those limitations.
First, I want to say that restrictions don’t have to be interpreted as negative. The words “strict” and “structure” have the same root, “strictus,” from the Latin meaning tight or narrow. This is also where we get the word “construction,” to shape or build. So when we feel restricted, or limited, it’s just a narrowing of possibilities or discipline in order to make something more clear or whole. Having a structure or foundation that is set and precise is how we skillfully build the edifices of our life. Dreams and imagination have no real limits, but taking the steps to fulfill them do. Respecting the restrictions you have in moving toward your dreams can actually set you free to achieve your goals. Having a plan of action, with calculated limits in mind, usually proves a winning formula in setting a blueprint for success.
What I have discovered is nothing too new or earth shattering: we all deal with limited resources when planning for our dreams fruition. The main resources we must cultivate, preserve and spend wisely to get the results we want out of life are simple yet profound. Just like your wishes, creativity and imagination are fairly unlimited, there are three parts of being productive that we must honor or enriching ourselves becomes fairly impossible. This is what has come into focus for me lately and hopefully it will inspire you to make better choices, take necessary risks and make the most of the resources you have to get what you want more easily.
1. TIME – Our most limited resource. We’re each given a certain amount of time on this green earth to make our dreams come true. A friend of mine would often say to me, “This is the testing ground and life is a pass-fail course.” That may seem a bit dire, but really it puts matters into perspective. How we spend our time is what determines our success and happiness in life. As an American, we can expect an average of 80 years to leave our mark on the world. That’s a limit we have to respect or we can easily forget to make our lives matter. In minutes a day you can tend to the plans and practice that will generate your success, defining how you spend your life, or you can ignore this resource and have time define you. If you spend most of your life in fear and worry, you’ll avoid your power to overcome challenges, learn and grow and wind up nowhere. If you spend your time bravely, confidently climbing each mountain you find, endless vistas will be revealed to you and life becomes an exciting adventure. Taking time to care for yourself and others, exercise, eat right, meditate, pray, travel, volunteer and enlighten yourself each day will reshape your life in myriad, positive ways. Neglecting such practices by over-working, ignoring your needs and others or abandoning your dreams will only lead to heartache and regret. I’ve come to understand that my time is precious and how I spend it will determine my success or failure, my ambitions being reached or short-changed and the realization of my happiness or misery. Pass-fail, time is your most finite resource and what you do with it freely is what matters most. Check out this video on measuring your life in jellybeans… It will really give you some perspective on how finite our time is to be and do what we dream. I hope it sets you free to make the most of your “free time.”
2. ENERGY – It can’t be created or destroyed; only transferred. This simple law of physics applies to all facets of life. Your cells, the building blocks of your life, only have so much mitochondrial energy to expend before they die. Everyday you are challenged to manage your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual energy to make the most of their life force. If you spend your energy one way, you are limited in how it can be spent another. There’s always a proverbial fork in the road. You can build and spend energy, but there’s not much you can keep for long. Energy moves. It can come in and go out, like a relay, but must continuously be transferred somewhere new. If you spend your energy on fruitless pursuits, what fruit will hang from your tree of life? If you plant, water, trim and feed that tree of metaphorical energy, eventually it will be ripe with fruit. Again, taking time to exercise and play, dream and take action, feed yourself well, rest and relax, refine and shape your body, mind, heart, spirit, relationships, finances and goals will define the energy you have to give, receive and share. Are you an electric or magnetic personality? Do you inspire others or draw them in? Asking such questions can help you get a better feel for how you spend your energy and how to focus it toward what you want out of life. Start putting your energy in one direction and see where that current you initiate takes you. If you have enough faith it will deliver results over time. For me, activity has a lot to do with how energy works in the body and how much I have to do what I want. I’ve found that exercise, no matter how inconvenient at times, always give me more energy to lend to my life goals. Eating and sleeping well also give me more energy to spend. Your health and the love you cultivate are other ways you can increase your energy. Effort can also be seen as a measure of energy and it’s output. We are limited in how much effort we can put into any endeavor and so we must choose wisely how our efforts are spent. The power, force and activity of your life is the measure of your energy. But it isn’t free and how you use it creates your life.
3. ATTENTION – What you focus on grows. As the metaphysical law of increase states, your attention defines what you experience. Attentiveness can seem like an oblique measurement of success and happiness. But, really, it is essential when establishing goals and plans. Attention denotes choice, which is also limited to available circumstances, possibilities and probabilities. And it’s a severely limited resource, too! In this Age of ADD we live in, where distractions have become the norm, where we put our focus and the choices we make become even more crucial to creating successful lives of achievement. If we put our attention on one thing, it can’t be put elsewhere – hence, the failure of the multi-tasking mentality. Our conscious thought and awareness can only be placed one place at a time. Yes, perhaps it can rotate tasks efficiently, moving from one focus to the next in rapid succession. But we are limited in how much we can focus on at once. This is where time and energy come together and help define each other. With limits of the time and energy you have to focus your thoughts and observation, you come to realize that only so much attention can be paid to any one process, goal or intention. Therefore, what you focus on will grow and what you cannot focus on will wither, at least in terms of the time and energy you can spend on its understanding or development. Try focusing on two things at once and notice how your mind switches focus over and over, never truly blending foci. So, if you focus on a goal, with undivided attention and the necessary time and energy required to fulfill it, you will have the increase in awareness and practice needed to achieve it. It’s a great freedom to know you have such limits on your attention so you can learn to focus it toward what you desire more wisely and make the best possible choices.
Realizing you have these limitations can set you free. Also knowing you can only ever control your own thoughts, feelings and actions takes the weight off your shoulders of how others behave while empowering you to use your time, energy and attention to your greatest advantage. Besides your imagination, dreams and inspiration, here are come other unlimited resources that can motivate you to be and do your best: love, joy, peace, prosperity, goodness, beauty, truth, curiosity, healing, kindness and generosity. Let these boundless resources be abundant in your life and honor your time, energy and attention so you can freely be an unlimited success with unlimited happiness.
It’s nearly 2015! How does the time fly so fast? We must have been having tons of fun! With all the hope, possibility and potential of the new year sitting right around the corner – and our resolutions sitting on ready – I’m reminded of all the past accomplishments and progress of the last year and inspired for future successes. Many of my year’s best moments revolved around 10 practices or habits that I’ve incorporated into my life over the past twenty years to make myself feel happy and healthy, whole and well. These “paths to peace” help me unwind, enhance my sense of well-being and shift my energy when I need it. In my vernacular blog lingo – they help me to be more Zen. All have had a special place and time in improving my life since I began practicing them and all can be life changing when they become habits. I hope you’re inspired to take action and try some of them to advance your life and increase your health, wealth, wisdom and happiness…
Denny’s Top 10 Wellness Habits:
1. Yoga – any style, anywhere, as often as I can get to it! Yoga always makes me feel centered, balanced, aligned, strong, loose, calm and clear. Yoga means unity and brings together the best of physical, mental and spiritual exercise and connects the parts of our being together through the breath. My favorite forms are Ashtanga (power) yoga and Restorative yoga, both of which I’m certified to teach. The daily practice of doing my own yoga at home has freed me from neck and spinal tension, rehabilitated my once shoddy knees and given me much greater flexibility, strength, breath control and mental focus. It is such a complete exercise form and miraculous “nerve tonic” that simply doing twenty minutes of yoga each day can drastically improve your joint and cardiovascular health, muscle tone, nerve and immune response, digestion and lower your blood pressure. Try a simple program of repeating Child’s pose and Down-dog pose in succession every morning for a few minutes to start and build your practice slowly from there. If it wasn’t for yoga I’m sure I’d be tied up in knots right now!
2. Acupressure and Energy Work – Therapeutic acupressure, acupuncture, Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Shiatsu, Reiki, Haptonomy and other forms of mainly Eastern energetic bodywork therapies can be fantastically effective methods to help the body heal itself. Whether it’s mind over matter or matter over mind, accessing the body’s natural energetic centers, like the chakras, tsubos and meridians, through specific therapeutic practice can unlock one’s potential for health and restore one’s sense of well-being. The power of touch, such as the “laying on of hands,” can not be over-estimated for it’s curative effects. I have tried several forms of energy therapy to reduce anxiety, heal old emotional wounds and improve my concentration. I became certified in acupressure and Reflexology over ten years ago when I realized it’s unique potential for helping others. I still use it to this day to help friends and family in need of pain-relief. I also learned Jin Shin Jyutsu, or self-acupressure, to hone myself in times of ill health or scattered energy. I highly recommend learning this method for yourself.
3. Hynotherapy and Self-hypnosis – I became certified in Hypnotherapy in 2005 because I found it fascinating as a method for reprogramming the mind for desired behavioral changes. I learned all I could about the power of suggestion and how the subconscious mind works as an autopilot response to keep us safe and confortable, even in our bad habits. I realized I could help others “rewire” their thoughts to let go of past hurts and self-imposed limitations so they could experience more out of their lives. I also became adept at self-hypnosis or auto-suggestion, the process of reprogramming your own mind through self-induced relaxation, visualization and retraining of the subconscious. It’s empowered me to achieve great feats of memorization, overcome apprehension with public speaking and develop greater confidence in business and creative endeavors. Hypnosis can help you stop smoking, lose weight, overcome insomnia and phobias or enhance your performance in any field. Digital audio-visual hypnosis programs that use neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) or anything by life coach Jon Mercer can also work wonders for whatever behaviors you want to change. All things are first a matter of mind!
4. The Arts – Be it acting, singing, music, dance, drawing, painting, sculpting, writing or participating in any kind of performance or artistic expression, the arts have been my lifesaver for years. Some people are naturally more creative and need to express themselves in that way to free their spirits and live their purpose. I definitely fall into that category, but I know many people who are more “critical” than creative minded who have greatly benefitted from exposure to the arts and some form of self-expression. Seeing a work of visual or performing art can help you relate more to the human condition and allow your spirit to feel great depths and heights of human emotion. It can be freeing, healing, calming, exciting, thought provoking, inspiring and life-affirming to experience art in any form. I’ve performed as an actor and singer since I was in Middle School and love to write and tell stories. This passion led me to obtain two academic degrees, star in two Off-Broadway shows, perform in my own comedy troupe for two years in Manhattan and fill the leading role in a two-act comedy, “The Year of Independent Living,” at this year’s Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. I know the power of the arts first-hand and can attest to it’s magical ability to transform your life and open up your heart, mind and spirit. Those who’ve gone through traumatic experience, dealt with mental illness or have been in need of physical rehabilitation have turned to the arts to help the body and mind heal via the soul’s expression. I say, pick up a pen, paintbrush or piccolo and have at it! Do it for yourself… do it for the love of art!
5. Fitness and Weight Training – I started strength training when I was seventeen but never got serious about it until I was about nineteen, a sophomore in college. I discovered yoga about that time, too. Once I really got into it, there was no turning back. Still, I’ve had fits and starts, dry spells with waning enthusiasm and booms where I was fully committed to regular weight training, cardiovascular exercise and regular flexibility and stretching components to my workouts. Everybody is different and needs different types of exercise to remain engaged. I tried running but that really killed my knees and some competitive sports but they never satisfied my personal desires when it came to feeling physically fit. I seem to do best with a combination of yoga, swimming and weight lifting. It really makes me feel strong, supple and energized. Having been a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor for over fourteen years, I know there’s a lot of information out there and it can be confusing and conflicting. If you try various workouts you’re bound to find something that will work out for you. Experiment, go with your interests and vary your routines until you find the right fit. A great rule of thumb is to make flexibility 20-30% of your total workout bout, strength training 40-60% and cardio another 20-30%. Doing your workout in that order also promotes the most efficient use of the body’s energy supply systems, not wasting too much energy on cardio early on and feeling too tires for strength training which builds and maintains muscle – the key to your metabolic rate and fat burning. That way you do 12-18 minutes of stretching, 24-36 minutes of strength and 12-18 minutes of cardio at the end to manage your workout in a 60 minute time frame. If you subscribe to the “afterburn effect” workout, you might want to stick with only strength training for 15-20 minutes, which supercharges your metabolic rate to burn calories for much longer periods of time than traditional exercise models. There’s always more to learn when it comes to fitness so I encourage you to keep researching and stay active! And don’t forget to feed your muscles!!
6. Deep Breathing Exercises – There are many ways to breathe and we’re simply not taught how magnificent breath control is in beating stress, regulating the emotions, opening blood vessels, managing the heart rate, energizing the body, stabilizing mood and deepening mental focus and relaxation. The breath is the most essential element needed for life. We can scarcely live more than two minutes without it. Yet we take it so for granted. It’s really a miracle that the exact right atmospheric and chemical conditions exist to sustain us through the magical air we breathe. Feeling grateful and joyful for each breath we take is the essence of living in grace. The Ujjayi pranayama, a type of yogic throat breathing practiced in Ashtanga yoga, is called the “victorious breath” and deeply connects you with the universal life force energy known as prana. But there are many types of simple deep breathing techniques that can help you find a tranquil state of body and mind like “reverse breathing,” where you inhale through the mouth like sucking through a straw and then exhale out the nose completely, which clears the sinus cavity and calms the central nervous system. Diaphragmatic breathing, where your belly rises and falls with each breath is also deeply calming and expands breath capacity. Focusing on certain body parts, like the eyes, fingers and toes while breathing can deepen your sensation of relaxation, too. Simply yawning and sighing in succession can also make you feel peaceful, light and free. Try sitting or lying down comfortably with a hand, a book or a pillow on your abdomen and watch as it slowly lifts and lowers as you breathe deeply. Notice each exhale taking a bit longer than the last. Feel the natural rhythm and flow of the breath deepening as you simply observe. The navel will drop lower into your abdomen as you exhale more deeply and feel more relaxed. Do this each night before bed and notice how well you sleep! My breath has always been there for me in my times of need and I keep just practicing so I never forget how to do it right.
7. Writing and Journaling – For the better part of twenty years my journal has been my constant companion and confidant. When I was just out of college it became vitally important to record my thoughts and feelings so I could later make sense of them when all other reason failed. I’ve used a spiral notebook to record my ideas for books, sketch comedy and movie concepts. I’ve written a children’s book, short stories, poetry, stage plays and screenplays and I keep aspiring to be a published author because it inspires me to challenge myself such goals. Writing is how I make sense of the world, which can often seem nonsensical. Whether it’s creative writing, blogging or journaling, I always seem to be putting my ideas down somewhere so I can remember them and reference them when needed or simply express how I’m feeling in the safest, clearest way I know. It’s a form of therapy for me and I highly recommend getting into a regular writing routine for anyone who needs to structure their thoughts and understand the way they think. Who doesn’t need that? I wrote my “morning pages” as instructed in Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” for years – just writing out 3 pages of stream of consciousness journaling, long-hand, each morning until I would hit creative or cathartic pay dirt. I have resolved many personal issues this way and found spiritual enlightenment through the patient, regular task of writing. Many times it saved me from a sticky situation and protected my relationships and goals from rash, unregulated emotion and poorly planned action. Dumping your psychic garbage and sorting through your thoughts in a journal can help you do the same. Whether it’s writing lists, poems, lyrics, memoires or anything at all you want to express you’ll notice the act of jotting it down can make you feel better than all right.
8. Meditating and Praying – Transcendental meditation has been a stalwart companion in my search for truth and inner peace for many years now. It easily brings calm and serenity to my life and has become easier and more fulfilling the more I practice it. Any form of meditation doesn’t have to be done cross-legged (called zazen in Zen Buddhist practice) for hours at a time to be of benefit. Finding one’s inner power, purpose and patience can come in just a few minutes at a time once the practice has been mastered. Simply listening to the breath with laser-like attention can make for an effective meditation practice. Guided visualization, brain entrainment music like binaural beats or repetitive motions can also be utilized to induce the trance-like state associated with deep meditative focus. Yoga is said to be form of moving meditation and prepares the body for the quiet stillness where oneness of body, mind and spirit can be attained through relaxation, focus and breath. Meditation can also be described as listening to one’s higher self, the wisest inner voice that is connected to universal knowledge, where the answers to all of one’s needs and wants can be found. Prayer, on the other hand, is where one’s questions or requests from the universe, creator or higher power are directed. It doesn’t really matter what you believe, who you think is in charge or who you pray to when you take up the act of prayer. There is no true separation of energy in divine terms and your prayers are being heard by the powers that be, whomever they are. Since we’re all connected to the universe, our creator and each other, the energy of prayer creates ripples that eventually come back to us – so it’s best to stay positive and pray only for good, for the best possible outcome for all. But prayer, like meditation, is a private act and very personal, so I won’t espouse my beliefs as definitive or dare thrust them upon you as superior. I have faith that all good people who pray or meditate do it for the right reasons and I respect all beliefs that cause no harm. I believe that if you’re a good person and practice your spiritual beliefs in positive ways, it all gets heard by the same benevolent, supportive power and the answers we need are given to us in accordance with the energy we radiate and with what we can handle. Both prayer and meditation can help heal the body, mind and spirit and should be considered when other methods of self-improvement fall short.
9. Traveling – I think broadening one’s horizons is essential in developing a wider perspective on life and opening up one’s sense of adventure, possibility, wonder, enrichment and enlightenment. Making more of one’s own life is what we all want. When we travel we add new people, cultures, customs, languages, art, food, wisdom, stories, music, spirituality and social understanding to our concept of life and how we fit into it. I have been lucky enough in my life to travel extensively through Europe and North America to sacred sites and natural wonders and have seen and done amazing things that forever enriched my sense of self and of the world. From the Acropolis in Athens to Stonehenge in England; from the Duomo in Florence to the Louvre in Paris; from the cliffs of Moher in Ireland to the palace of Knossos on Crete I have experienced ancient history and architecture, the greatest works of art ever produced and nature’s most awe-inspiring vistas first-hand it and it made me grow and appreciate the world I live in so acutely. Traveling to Chichen Itza in Mexico, hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Brice and Zion national parks, seeing the Grand Canyon up close and even viewing the New York City skyline at night have all shown me what magnificent opportunities and possibilities, both natural and man-made, that this world can offer. My big bucket list trips still include the Big Island of Hawaii, Machu Picchu in Peru, Bali in Indonesia and an African safari in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. I can only imagine how much visiting those places will reshape my worldview and remind me what a gift my life is. I can’t wait to find out! Even exploring local vistas that are new to me, like the Warm Mineral Springs in North Port, FL where the legend of the “fountain of youth” originated has made me a richer person for having the experience of visiting… and was fantastic for my skin tone!
10. Teaching and Volunteering – I’ll keep it simple and true: teaching and volunteering are two of the most fulfilling things I’ve done. I’ve taught all kinds fitness classes and wellness workshops to preschoolers, seniors and everyone in between and it’s always a joy to help people learn and grow. I’ve volunteered for various charitable fundraisers and foundations as a singer, yoga instructor, server, non-medical assistant and caregiver and it always feels great to help those less fortunate than myself. I always walk away feeling more fortunate and grateful that I donated my time and energy and that I got to make a difference in some else’s life. Selfless acts of kindness remind me to be thankful for my life and to be humble, to give generously of my heart and rejoice in alleviating someone’s suffering and savor the pleasure of feeling their gratitude and seeing them smile or hearing them laugh. It’s those little things we do that mean a lot. Volunteering and donating time, effort, energy and money, advocating for others well-being and supporting worthy causes for those in need uplifts the spirit. Helping children, seniors, the disabled and the diseased and all of God’s creatures, big and small, makes this world a better place to live in and your life a bigger light in the world. Teaching anyone to help him or herself is the easiest way to guarantee their betterment and the future benefit of others. So pay-it-forward and give of yourself, make a difference and fight for what you believe in, spread your wisdom and compassion far and wide. The boost to humankind will be worth it and the rewards for your soul will be immeasurable.
I also practice giving gratitude or counting my blessings daily, which always makes me feel more connected with the goodness and abundance in my life. Each morning I’ll think of at least ten things I’m grateful for, like my health, friends, family, my home, my clients, my food and drink, my cat, my car, my computer, my imagination (and much more) to start my day in a healthy frame of mind. Then at night I’ll think of the best thing that happened to me that day and recall all the many good things in that process of remembering, too. That helps me go to sleep in a peaceful, joyful way. Try counting your blessings instead of sheep the next time you need to rest. This is my feel-good motto: “If you’re alive and thinking, be in love and thanking!”
I hope these 10 Zen practices help promote wellness and fulfillment in your life as you move forward and grow this coming year. Thank you for taking this journey with me and sharing in my adventure of enlightenment. May the promise of 2015 inspire you to be your personal best, reach for your dreams and achieve your goals… even the sky is not the limit!
The use of hypnosis therapy, or hypnotherapy, has been employed for over four hundred years to overcome self-destructive habits, curb phobias, improve sleep, enhance athletic, theatrical and academic performance, instill confidence in public speaking and resolve emotional issues. In fact, hypnotherapy’s ability to help the mind create new pathways of learning, understanding and relating to one’s self and the world are fairly limitless. Hypnotherapy is a hypnosis-based therapy designed to resolve undesirable mental, emotional and behavioral habits and empower positive changes in one’s life. It can also be defined as reprogramming the mind for desired results through a process of induced relaxation, subconscious mental adjustments, confidence-building post-hypnotic suggestions and self-hypnosis tutorial. If you have a strong desire to overcome draining habits or to improve any facet of your life, hypnotherapy will help you reach your goals.
Far removed from the dramatic Dracula stare or “Svengali” effect of supposed mind control, hypnosis simply allows access to the subconscious mind (the most child-like, accepting and suggestible part of our consciousness, which may represent up to 90% of our awareness) to be reconditioned and reorganized. The subconscious is where most of our automatic habits of thought, emotion and action originate, forming in the receptive theta-brainwave period of childhood before age six. During hypnosis the mind is fully conscious, awake and aware, but very relaxed. The client or self-hypnosis practitioner is always in complete control of their actions, but highly open to suggestion, much like a child at play. Relaxing the body and mind progressively allows the subconscious to become the dominant awareness and is thus capable of being rewired so new habits can be created.
The dream-like hypnotic trance can be viewed as a state similar to meditation or an artist’s creative flow. In the state of peaceful serenity, called a hypnotic induction or light trance, which we experience daily as “twilight” awareness when we fall asleep or begin to awaken, we are able to program the mind for any state of being desired. This mind-over-matter practice applies to all aspects of living and is a fantastically effective way to make improvements to one’s life, including one’s sense of health and happiness and all related habits. Hypnotherapy can pick up where other physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing practices leave off or can be a more direct road to wellness. The process of hypnotizing one’s self, called self-hypnosis or autosuggestion, is a reliable way to provide self-help when a quick fix is needed and other modalities fall short.
I have been a practicing certified hypnotherapist, schooled at the Institute of Hypnotherapy in Manalapan, NJ, since 2005. I’ve helped hundreds of clients to lose weight, stop smoking, overcome phobias and insomnia, improve confidence and concentration in test taking and public speaking and reduce anxiety and depression with an over 95% success rate. I always tell my clients, “If you have a strong desire to change, I can help you achieve any goal.” Desire or motivation is the main key to unlocking your potential for change and making positive changes. We are each truly creatures of habit, but habits can always be broken and then easily replaced by better actions. Some habits, many of which I named above, need special guidance over several therapeutic sessions from a certified, professional hypnotherapist, licensed counselor or psychotherapist to make the necessary mental breakthroughs so they can be resolved completely. Chronic conditions like mental illness and behavioral dysfunctions (addictions, eating disorders and other forms of self-abuse, social anxiety and misconduct and depressive disorders) need more specialized mental health counseling that integrative hypnotherapy may be helpful in resolving. Self-hypnosis should not be considered a substitute for such mental health or medical intervention. Please contact a medical professional or health care provider if you suffer from any long-term or trauma induced mental, emotional, physical or social disorders. (Click on Black & White Spiral GIF at upper right for hypnotic experience).
Here is an example of a hypnotherapy script I have written to be used for self-hypnosis, which you can use to enhance your holistic health and sense of wellness…
Please DO NOT attempt the following self-hypnosis practice while driving or operating heavy machinery.
CREATING A HEALTHY BODY, MIND & EMOTIONS
(20-Minute Self-Hypnosis for Living in Radiant Good Health)
Make sure you’re in a relaxed, quiet position with no distractions around you for the next twenty minutes. Close your eyes for a moment. Take two deep breaths and think of your favorite or luckiest number. As you breathe deeply and think of your lucky number, hold the tips of your thumb and index finger of one hand together like an “okay” sign. This three-step process (thinking of your lucky number, holding your “okay” sign and taking two deep breaths) will be your everyday self-hypnosis practice to reinforce the following script. Make sure you exhale completely; feeling deeper relaxed with each breath. Then you may open your eyes to read the following script, but look at it in a vague, dreamy way, with your eyelids very relaxed, as if you’re about to fall asleep.
Slowly read the following words aloud to yourself, taking long blinks between each sentence, breathing deeply throughout. Really allow yourself to feel and imagine the following suggestions, listening to your own voice lulling you, like listening to dear and trusted friend telling you a beautiful, magical story. At the end of the script you may close your eyes for a while and relax. You may wind up falling asleep for a short time but will awaken feeling refreshed and energized. Please set an alarm if you need to awaken at a certain time. Upon reading and hearing the words, “It is so,” you will have programmed a post-hypnotic suggestion for radiant good health that will sink so deep into your subconscious that nothing and no one will every erase it. It will make so deep and long lasting an impression in your mind that it will positively change your thoughts, feelings and actions in regards to your health for good. Also, your lucky number, whenever you think of it, hear it or see it, will reinforce and amplify the positive suggestions your about to read… Now, take another moment to close your eyes, take two deep breaths, think of your lucky number and make the “okay” sign with your fingers. Once this is done, open your eyes slowly, maintaining the “okay” sign with your thumb and index finger, and begin to read, relaxing as you go…
“My mind has become so sensitive, so receptive to the following suggestions that they will sink so deeply into my subconscious mind and make such a permanent impression there that nothing and no one can challenge or erase them: I am deeply relaxed, calm and serene. I feel tranquil but empowered to make positive changes in my life, in my health. I am certain of myself as a peaceful, powerful and prosperous person. I attract only good, healthful experiences to myself and I feel good. I radiate good health and positive energy. I’m getting healthier everyday. I’m becoming slim and trim. My muscles are feeling toned and strong and my bones are sturdy and supportive. My joints are feeling flexible and free. The blood in my veins is flowing gently, nourishing every part of me. I move through life with ease. I am attractive. My skin and hair are beautiful. My eyes are bright and full of life. I hear my breath clearly, calmly slowing down now. I see myself as the Universe does: radiantly healthy, beautiful, perfect, whole and complete in every way. I’m now thinking “thin” and making the right decisions to keep my body happy and healthy. I’m willing to give up that which I no longer need to have the health I want. I am willing to change, heal and grow. I accept good health as my natural state of being…
I breathe deeply with ease. I appreciate the many wonders of my incredible body, brilliant mind, beating heart and beautiful spirit. I have abundant energy and wake up each morning refreshed and full of enthusiasm for the day ahead. I take time each morning to count my blessings, set my goals and prepare my body and mind for the day. I enjoy exercising and taking time for myself to stretch, move, breathe and play. Challenging myself makes me feel good. I feel more confident challenging myself to feel better each day. Food is my fuel and I supply my body with only the best fuel so I feel the best energy and I only eat what I need, easily feeling satisfied and relaxed by the healthiest foods and most moderate portions. I eat the best foods for my digestion and energy and never need to overeat. I never need to indulge in foods I know will make me feel less than my best. I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water everyday. I eliminate waste from my body regularly, easily and completely. I let go of any foods or eating habits that are out of synch with my optimum health…
I sleep peacefully through the night every night and wake up feeling on top of the world each day. I know how to relax and rest my body, mind and emotions. I have a great attitude and sense of humor about life and allow stress to bounce off and away from me. I know how to feel happy and I feel happier all the time. I love to feel pleasure and enjoy being playful. I enjoy my body and the many aspects of my sexual nature. Feeling good is a natural state for me. I enjoy my mind and my imagination. I take time each day to visualize my best possible future and my healthiest, happiest life. I’m learning how to meditate on feeling good. It’s getting easier for me to envision my body and my health as beautiful, perfect, whole and complete. I see myself as more radiant everyday. Everyday I do activities that make me feel stronger and more energetic. I create my health with actions and choices that support and empower my fitness and wellness goals…
I nourish my body-mind temple and listen to its messages of moderation and temperance. I love my body, mind and emotions and I treat them with honor and respect. I am energy in motion! What I believe, I will achieve. So I believe my radiant, good health is the substance and supply of my wellness. I am the cause and effect of my being happy, healthy, wealthy, wise and well. I create the physical shape, fitness, soundness and well-being I desire. I allow my body to be a full expression of love, joy, peace and prosperity. I rejoice in my good health and feel grateful for being healthy. I release any old, limiting beliefs about my health, diet, mobility, genetics or aging. I let go of any thought form, image or action that doesn’t support my perfect health. I let go of the past and I am free from any feelings that don’t fully support my complete wellness. I feel good and my life is truly a blessing. My energy continues to grow and I come to live the positive patterns of health I want, need and deserve. I am one with my own power, my special gift to the world and I feel blissful and full of life! I live a vigorous, loving life and I love my body and my life more than ever! My self-hypnosis practice and my lucky number (_) reinforce these truths and the most positive part of me guarantees I will take action on feeling fantastically healthy and being the healthiest, most confident, radiant and vibrant me I can be. And so it is, all is truly well in my world. And it is so!”
~Awaken, enlighten and empower yourself… and be well!
I want to share I poem I wrote almost ten years ago when I completed my advanced, “initiate level” certification in the Isabell Gatto Method (IGM) of therapeutic acupressure. It illustrates how healing touch and human kindness can change a person’s life for the better, as it did mine. If you’ve never experienced a session of acupressure before, I highly recommend it. As a practitioner, I have learned unique lessons of empathy, compassion, patience and appreciation for the human condition, in all it’s myriad expressions, and that we are all struggling with something personal and often deeply painful that we often need help to relieve. That’s what acupressure does – it relieves pain and suffering and helps the body to heal itself.
What could be a more profound and joyful service than to provide the release of another human being’s emotional or physical pain while they rest in your caring hands? The human hand holds incredible power, both creative and destructive. We rarely stop to consider what our hands do all day. They feed and bathe us. They clean, cook, drive, dress, play, pay, type, write, work, pray and point the way. They caress, comfort and soothe. They wipe away tears and they pat us on the back. They free us and bind us. They hold the door, the elevator and the keys. At times they hold each other and in blessed moments they hold another. They give, receive and share. They also heal, as if by magic, with loving warmth and generosity.
Therapeutic acupressure is an incredible way to beat stress and find an even keel in everyday life. But it’s application for pain relief is almost limitless. It is the grandfather of all the energetic healing modalities, including Reflexology, Reiki and acupuncture. A modern form of complimentary medicine, it is considered the oldest of the healing arts, having its origins in ancient China and India. Egyptian hieroglyphics also depict priests and healers applying acupressure on injured and diseased patients, going back nearly five thousand years BCE. Being a hands-on application, the practitioner and patient are involved in each others energy fields and a direct exchange of energetic information is shared. It is related to the Western spiritual practice called “the laying on of hands,” which provides similar stress and pain relieving effects. It is considered a valuable healing tool for surgical patients both pre- and post-op and works terrifically with accident victims and those suffering from sports related injuries.
A typical session is performed on a massage table, fully clothed, with light to moderate fingertip pressure applied to specific pressure points (or reflex/trigger points – called “tsubos” in Japanese) throughout the body. The ordered sequence of points accessed or “triangulated” allows the patient’s body to balance the flow of vital life force energy, called “Chi” in Chinese, “Prana” in Sanskrit or “Ki” in Japanese. Subtle energy pathways in the body, known as “meridians” are relieved of blockages caused by stress, illness or injury that cause discomfort, dysfunction and eventually lead to disease. When this balance is achieved and the energetic channels are reopened, the body literally begins to heal itself. This creates a feeling of oneness, peace and harmony in the body as internal pressures and stagnant emotions are released. The result is a relief of mental, physical and emotional pain.
The time tested Isabell Gatto Method (IGM) of therapeutic acupressure combines the best of Eastern traditional acupressure technique, Reflexology, Jin Shin Jyutsu and Shiatsu with Western understanding of modern stress relief. When I learned the method at William Paterson University I was looking for hands-on therapy to calm my nerves and relieve a “walking anxiety” I had been dealing with for years, that only my yoga practice had helped me to cope with, but that needed more attention. I received a session and was immediately hooked. As many of my clients have also attested through the years, I discovered myself to be so profoundly relaxed at the end of the session that I wondered, “Have I ever relaxed this deeply?” Since then I went through three levels of certification to learn as much as I could about this seemingly magical and intensely effective form of stress, tension and pain relief.
While in practice in New Jersey I had the privilege of helping a colon cancer survivor find pain relief from her chemo and radiation therapies; helping a brain cancer survivor regain normal vision after years of living with a wandering eye; and helping to rehabilitate a diabetic patient suffering from neuropathy. I helped a dear friend regain feeling in her extremities after a stroke. I assisted my mother-in-law in her recovery from a difficult open-heart valve replacement surgery. I even had the opportunity and privilege to help my father prepare for and recover from a series of complicated neck surgeries that he almost didn’t survive. I have also been able to apply acupressure to pets, including my cats when they’ve been ill and to help them pass on when their lives came to and end. I assure you, it was an incredible experience helping them move peacefully into the next world. I still apply the technique to friends and family today, much to our shared joy and elation.
I have witnessed and experienced this unique and thorough alternative method of therapy applied to reverse infertility, improve nerve function, reduce anxiety and depression, increase immune response, overcome emotional disorders, rehabilitate serious injuries, help addicts recover from substance abuse, relieve digestive and eating disorders and bring comfort to the terminally ill and palliative care patients, for which its application has been implemented into hospitals nationwide under the guidance and review of the NIH. IGM Therapeutic Acupressure is truly astonishing in it’s range of applications and effectiveness. It’s incredible work, both to give and receive! The IGM family of practitioners is also like an extended family to me. That is why I wrote the following poem. I hope you find it as meaningful and healing as I felt while writing it. Becoming a practitioner and providing such care has been a big part of my spiritual growth. I’m proud to say Isabell Gatto still reads it to her graduating practitioners to this day. May it also inspire you to “press on” and help others fight the good fight – for life, love and peace.
IGM Poem (2004)
To clear the confusion, matter is but an illusion… only patterns of energy exist.
Balance its flow and let yourself go… It only hurts more to resist.
Within our hands we hold a key to help unlock anothers Chi…
We become a channel for their healing.
Awakening the Higher Self, restoring a sense of health…
Releasing while embracing blessed feeling.
These days it can be confusing, stressful to be living.
We try to be brave in a world so unforgiving…
It’s hard to keep looking for the light!
Gratitude, empathy and patience is the way,
Healing touch and human caring spreading everyday…
It’s far better to be kind than to be right!
Sharing this gift with you angels, ascending,
My soul struck a chord – my heart began mending…
I found great courage in your welcoming kindness.
To express the beauty and goodness that is me,
Doubtless I am rich, moreover I am free!
At last, I can trust and recover from my blindness.
Your hands of light that held my pain
Saved my heart, released it’s chain…
Giving back my spirit to me whole.
Oh, special kindred friends,
Your love truly has no end…
It’s the power and the glory in your soul!
So I’ve learned we cannot be frozen by our woes,
Karma is a teacher and so the lesson goes…
We live to learn and grow, in short, to self-discover.
Find your simple peace, mind your mind and thus be clear,
Daily miracles can happen when you cast away your fear…
And allow your soul to be your greatest lover.
To close, I give thanks and praise,
By all of you I am amazed…
At all you so generously give.
Never forget each life that you inspire,
From this great endeavor, never retire…
You have shown me what it really means to live.
*Isabell Gatto and her daughter, Maria.
For more information about IGM Therapeutic Acupressure Intentional Wellness technique and to find a practitioner in your area, go to: IGM.
I also recommend Barbara Ann Brennan’s book on energetic therapy and hands-on healing, “Hands of Light” by Bantam Press and Dr. Richard Gerber’s book on subtle-energy therapies throughout history, “Vibrational Medicine” by Bear and Company.
Bodhi-Dharma, the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism, wrote that, “if you wish to seek the Buddha (enlightenment), you ought to see into your own nature; for nature is the Buddha himself.” Seeing your true self, the self that is connected to all of life and the universe, is what sets you free to fully understand and be at peace with your existence. We cannot escape the divine miracle of being. If we deny or ignore the majesty of our presence, we reject it’s inherent gift. To look away from that light is to believe in the shadow’s truth. The truth is there is no duality. There is only one truth but our awareness makes us question, is your truth valid or is mine? Who’s truth is best? The answer, in Zen terms, is “None. Both. Either. Neither.” What you have learned, compared, contrasted, debated, doubted, trusted and taken as your truth is merely a choice, defined by your mind. Beyond that dissecting, discerning, dividing self there is a truer self that knows all is One.
You are the light and the shadow. You perceive the sun’s illuminating brilliance and cast the shadow that seems so real. You are the reflection and the mirror, all in one. Accept the light and shade and you come to see into your own nature. What we embrace, we become, as much as what we avoid. In all things, there is you. In the stars, in the world, inside you, all around you, in the void and in the vastness of all that is, there you are. What you think and believe becomes what you do, becomes you. You and the Buddha are already One, simply by the act of your perceiving him.
Zen master Hui-Neng said, “from the first, not a thing is.” I believe this to mean that since the advent of creation no other separate thing has been created and all things we see are woven into one indivisible truth of being. Doesn’t that make you feel the depth and height of the miracle you are? You exist and nothing can erase or replace that beautiful truth. Be detached, free of form, free of mind, free of words and ideas, undisturbed by cause and effect, and there you’ll find the oneness and unity of your nature, your true self, moment by wondrous moment, breath by sacred breath, in meditation as in living.
Being an avid student of cross-cultural spiritual beliefs is one way I’ve discovered to enhance my personal sense of holistic wellness. I find many spiritual traditions have a similar basis in their approach to connecting with higher planes of consciousness and cultivating inner peace but often their amicable messages get lost in religious politics and dogma. I believe the best spiritual guidance comes from within one’s self by contemplating simple, universal truths. Looking past the obvious Eastern and Western religious traditions can help one to uncover these basic spiritual verities. A lesser-known but profound and sensible metaphysical practice I’ve connected with comes from the beautiful land of Hawaii’s ancient lore.
“Huna” is the New Age movement associated with ancient Hawaiian and Polynesian religious beliefs. The word “huna” means “secret” in Hawaiian and refers to the esoteric practices and spiritual traditions of the peoples of Polynesia before Western influence. Its rituals have been said to originate ancient healing practices and spiritual shamanism from India to Africa. Some have claimed its wisdom and power have their roots in a legendary lost Pacific civilization called Lemuria or Mu. The word “huna” was derived from the Hawaiian word “kahuna,” meaning “chief” or “expert,” by Max Freedom Long in 1936, a teacher and metaphysician who lived in Hawaii. Many Hawaiian historians have discredited Long’s teaching of New Age thought and metaphysics in association with ancient, original Hawaiian shamanism, but his Huna school of thought has endured as a spiritual belief system in several international organizations.
Whatever the name of the ancient spiritual tradition, it was likely a “kupua” or Hawaiian shaman/adventurer that held the secrets to connecting with the realm of spirits, not a Westerner who probably had limited access to these practices. Aloha International is the most reputable organization associated with Long and his Huna school of metaphysical thought and they promote Huna practice as a way to create one’s own experience through conscious belief and action. It celebrates the cycles of life, time and creation that are universal. I find its basic, humanist, virtually Buddhist principles to be quite magical in their simplicity and definitely worth sharing. As always, please draw your own conclusions and take what you can from yet another example of how spirituality can be delightfully direct without layers of dogma to sift through for kernels of truth. These are the most basic kernels of Huna and can be applied to any personal spiritual practice.
Let’s break it down…
Huna practice has three parts: The 7 Guiding Principles, the 4 Realities and the 3 Selves.
The 7 Guiding Principles are as follows:
1) “Ike” – The world IS what you THINK it is. (So YOU make it wonderful!)
2) “Kala” – There are no limits, but what we decide. (Everything IS possible.)
3) “Makia” – Energy flows where attention goes. (So focus on what you WANT.)
4) “Manawa” – Now is the moment of power. (So stay in the present and BE.)
5) “Aloha” – To love is to be happy with. (So be happy and LOVE life!)
6) “Mana” – All power comes from within. (Tend to your light, know THYSELF.)
7) “Pono” – Effectiveness is the measure of truth and worth. (IF it works, it is true.)
Aren’t those principles so simple and perfect and yet also magical in their power? Take a few minutes to meditate on these principles each day and you’ll find your mood elevated and your mind opening. I think we can consciously influence our world and indeed ourselves to feel, know and do better each day. This is a nice way of guiding better experiences and shaping a happier reality and need be nothing more or less. Unless you want to delve deeper! I think about it when I need a reality check and add it to my “gratitude list” while praying or meditating. Here’s more…
The Huna’s Four Realities:
1) Scientific Reality – All reality can be seen objectively, based on physical, empirical evidence, measurement and scrutiny.
2) Psychic Reality – All reality can be seen subjectively, based on insight, intuition, belief and emotional, energetic understanding and assumption.
3) Shamanic Reality – All reality can be seen symbolically, based on signs, signals, coincidence, association, parallels and synchronicity.
4) Mystical Reality – All reality can be seen holistically, based on the inter-connected nature and inter-dependence of people, animals, things, experiences, thoughts and actions.
Reality is relative. Science is starting to discover how subjective the concepts of time, perception and thought can be from person to person. My view of certain “facts” or “evidence” may be vastly different from yours. One man’s fact is another man’s lie. We have agreed on certain conscious states of being or reality as a species. We can all recognize the sun, moon, earth and sky for we have decided that they are real to us, collectively. In quantum theory, all things are relative and changeable. You or I or anything in existence becomes reduced to vibrating energy streams, particles and waves reacting and interacting on a deeply, intrinsically dynamic “zero point field” of creative force and manifestation. Thoughts become things. Reality is what you make it.
The Huna’s 3 Selves or Levels of Consciousness:
1) The High Self (Kane or Aumakua) is the super-conscious self that inspires creativity and change.
2) The Middle Self (Lono or Uhane) is the self-conscious self that imagines and wills change.
3) The Low Self (Kanaloa or Unihipili) is the sub-conscious self that remembers and reminds one to change.
It is said that when self-conscious and sub-conscious awareness are realized and combined a state of super-consciousness is attained in which a greater understanding of one’s place in the universe can be accessed and limitless love, joy, peace and forgiveness can be found. Finding your path to greater consciousness may indeed be the point, the purpose to existence and to eventual transcendence. Looking for ways to expand the awareness of your mind, body, feelings and spirit can only serve to make you more whole.
I hope this gives you a healthy overview of what Huna is and what it can inspire in your own spiritual practice. Please check out the following link for more information. My huna related goal? To go to the Big Island of Hawaii and study the Huna with adepts at sacred spiritual sites, deep in the jungle! How cool would that be? “Kala!” There are no limits! Unlimit yourself more everyday by seeking out the most benevolent truths that feels right to you and help you to discover your sacred self!
Chanting, like singing, can be a tremendously healing and affirmative way of making your life more rewarding, creative and tranquil. Vocalizing certain vowel sounds actually vibrates energy centers in the body known as “Chakras” in Eastern Medicine. These “energy wheels” can become imbalanced due to stress, trauma or negativity which, in turn, throws off the function of the body’s systems, especially the nervous and endocrine (hormone) systems, immune response and digestive organs. Below are Buddhist chants, or mantras, that have been used for thousands of years to restore a sense of balance, peace and calm to the body and emotions and to enlighten the mind.
Vibrating or resonating the body through the use of vocalizations has also been found to heal the body from habitual tension and uneasiness as a form of “sound therapy,” similar to the effects of attunement with ambient and classical music. The following chants are easy to learn and are pronounced phonetically or as their spelling indicates. Their use is far-reaching as a tool for meditation, relaxation and higher learning. Start with one a day, like the sacred “Om” (the symbol depicted in the mandala above). Really notice how vibrating the sounds involved makes you feel. The meaning of the chants will come intuitively, but I’ve included some basic translations below.
Buddhist chants are typically repeated in cycles of nine, a sacred spiritual number, and can often extend to between thirty-six and one-hundred-eight repetitions. But, like I said, start with just one chant, repeated nine times in a row each day and see how it makes you feel. If you like it, add more repetitions or more chants. I hope they bring you the health, wealth, wisdom and happiness they’ve brought me, my clients and millions of people worldwide. Happy chanting!
10 Buddhist Chants to Energize, Enrich and Enlighten Your World:
1. Chant “Om” or “Aum” nine times in a row to find inner peace.
2. Chant “Om Sharavana Bhavaya Namaha” nine times to show your openness to receiving good and your gratitude for all you have to give and share.
3. Chant “Om Mani Padme Hum” to proclaim that you are guided to do good and your heart and head are united in making your life peaceful, purposeful and prosperous.
4. Chant “Aham Prema” to feel inner love and proclaim divine love within your life.
5. Chant “Om Shri Ram” to heal your body and promote better health in those you love.
6. Chant “Om Shanti Om” for peace in your life, in all of humankind and in the universe.
7. Chant “Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha” for good luck, removing obstacles, gaining wisdom and increasing wealth and abundance in one’s life.
8. Chant “So Hum Ham Sa” to connect with your higher spiritual awareness and greater intuition.
9. Chant “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” to devote yourself to higher truth, beauty and goodness in an open and peaceful way. This chant revives one’s purpose.
10. Chant “Lang Vang Rang Yang Ham Om Aum” to align the chakras and connect with their innate power for healing, inner peace, wisdom, creativity and compassion.
Another great approach to discovering the healing and enlightening effects of sound therapy and resonance attunement is to read Jonathan Goldman’s book “Healing Sounds” and research his website and association dedicated to exploring the positive effects of sound vibration on the body and mind. Here’s a sample of the work he does: Chakras, 7 Minute Tune Up. I hope you enjoy his breakthrough sound therapies as much as I have. Please contact me or leave a comment if you need further advice or instruction in how chanting mantras and sound therapy can improve your sense of health and well-being.
In all you think, in all you do, in all you are – be well! ~Namaste
Ever notice that to get something you want out of life you often have to give something else up?Everything begotten in life comes with a price – a sacrifice or compromise of some kind.If you want a new car or home, you need to spend time, effort, energy and money earned to purchase one.Nothing is free. Everything’s a trade-off. Even “free time” has to be spent in some way.If you spend your free time napping, you won’t get to read that new book you’ve wanted to crack.If you would rather watch your favorite soap opera, you may be giving up your exercise time.The same is true with indulgences.If you eat dessert before dinner, you may not get to fully enjoy your pot roast.It works the same with energy and emotion, too.If you invest yourself in worry and doubt, you can’t feel confident or self-assured.If your efforts are spent on being a great leader, you really can’t just sit back and be a follower, as well. If you want to win the marathon you can’t well smoke three packs of cigarettes a day.
You don’t have to go to extremes to see how one thing trades for another. It’s not just about choice. It’s about the big trade-offs and how they shape your life. You go left instead of right and you find a path either way. Turning left may lead you somewhere you don’t like. But you can turn around and you can always turn right. The point is how does the trade work for or against you. Do you trade your time and energy to create good or do you squander it? It’s always a choice and either way you face the consequences and own the results.
We have to find work, a trade, business – a way to serve – to trade that service for what we want. In college we have to narrow our field of study and pick a major.If you decide to study basket weaving, you can’t also dedicate yourself to attaining a political science degree.Some people are talented and organized enough to try for both, but most will lose ground one way or the other.The concept of multi-tasking encourages a tight rope-balancing act of doing many things at once, but it’s an unrealistic endeavor.You may be able to switch focus many times in a row, but you’re never really paying full attention to more than one task at once.The same is true for every trade-off in life: you have to give up one thing for another in most cases.Career versus family, risk versus safety, practicality versus fun – even health versus disease – all choices that involve compromise and won’t allow for contradiction.Two decisions can’t exist in the same being at the same time.Sometimes you have to trade what you want for what you actually need.
Relationships are all about commitments and compromise.Negotiating one person’s needs and desires with anothers is an art form, even a science, which requires a give and take to satisfy both parties.If you have a family you know this is true.You can’t go on a Vegas party vacation and provide consistent care and stability for those you love without some sacrifice.If you’re developing a trusting partnership with someone, you can’t lie and cheat on them.The contradiction creates so much internal stress that the trust you’re fighting for becomes meaningless and you wind up not being true to yourself or them.If you want to be a team player in business, you probably shouldn’t ignore your team’s needs for your own. Negotiating compromises in relationships is delicate because no one gets exactly what they want but they come closer to the middle where there is peace, resolution or satisfaction. Trying to be selfless and selfish at the same time just won’t work.Energy spent one way means it cannot be spent another. There’s only so much of you to go around.We all want the freedom of choice in life.Choice denotes power and responsibility. Too much choice can be tricky. A need for too much freedom can become chaotic or imprison you in overwhelming liberty, lost in a sea of choices. It can wind up becoming over-indulgence or abuse and you wind up running out of energy, getting sick, broke or worse.Similarly, indecision, indifference, lack of discipline and abuse or over-indulgence can mean giving up your freedom, relinquishing your power to choose a different path. We keep ourselves from being free, from following our dreams and from testing our limits to stay protected from the ramifications our bold choices can and do make. Self-empowerment and encouragement are paths to wellness and success.They allow you to make the big choices that shape your life and lead to your personal happiness.The worst decision is making none.Without willingness to compromise you can guarantee failure.The worst failure comes from not trying.When you try, you’ll find you have to give in at times, to get what you want out of your trial.This is the course of learning and growth that we must all traverse.Inaction is the compromise cowards make with themselves.Action, effort, trial – possible failure – these are the compromises one must make to gain what is sought.
None of us need be limited by what we may have to give up.The only limitation we impose on ourselves is what we are willing to do to get what we want.But sometimes our emotions get in the way of our ability to compromise and choose what’s greater.We can stay stuck in one mode of being, stubbornly clinging to what we can predict, ultimately sacrificing our freedom and success for safety. To end the duality, hypocrisy and contradiction, we have to take the risk of re-programming what we are willing to trade for what we want. Often it means giving up fear and anger or some vice. Trade-offs are risks.But how do we overcome our fears and doubts of the untried or unknown to make life better?How do we trade those feelings, those limits, for what we really want to experience?
To negotiate the freedom we desire, to keep the power and choice we want, to find fulfillment, to go beyond our negative emotions and preconceived notions, we must be willing to trade.Below I have written a set of emotions and actions, choices and compromises, which show how to trade what you want for what you don’t.One the left you’ll see experiences that usually won’t serve you and on the right you’ll see options for what can resolve patterns of self-sacrifice and self-undoing.A tried and true trick for trading off negatives for positives is to focus your energy on the opposite of what you want to change.
There’s a metaphysical way to speed up the process of compromising one feeling experience for another that works wonders.It’s called “finger holding.”While you meditate on the proposed opposites, try taking ten deep breaths while holding the finger that matches the state of mind or emotions you want to change. My experience is that this simple meditation and self-acupressure technique should be practiced as often as needed to reset and recharge your energy and redirect your decision making abilities. I suggest starting with the right and holding the left hand’s fingers working in thumb-to-pinky order. Then work the right hand’s fingers with your left hand. Keep light to moderate pressure on each hold and after ten breaths or about 30-45 seconds you can let go and move on to the next finger. The process should take three to five minutes. Think of it as a sweep, to clear the hands for giving and receiving and cover your bases for emotional self-maintenance. Especially if it’s an emotional issue , hold the corresponding finger on your left hand with your right.If it’s more of a mental or intellectual issue, hold your right fingers with your left hand.Practicing this meditative technique actually changes the way your nerves fire, shifts your energy and focus and clears the way for positive compromise – the trade offs you need and want to become happy, healthy, successful, wise and well.
Opposites:Finger to hold:
Doubt/worry/shame vs. Trust/confidence/prideThumb
Fear/intimidation/anxiety vs. Love/bravery/passionIndex
Anger/frustration/guilt vs. Calm/patience/forgivenessMiddle
Grief/sadness/depression vs. Joy/happiness/pleasureRing
Desire/longing/lack vs. Fulfillment/peace/gratitudeLittle
Remember: love and approve of yourself first and you’ll never be compromised!