Nutrition for Intuition
by Doreen Virtue and Robert Reeves
Our intuition is an inner voice that speaks with an essence of love. As we connect to that loving energy, we feel supported. We feel relaxed and safe, knowing that everything happening at this moment has a greater purpose.
Begin with those small calls to action, the ones that say, Today reach out your friend—because who knows what that friend is going through at this moment? Understand that those gut feelings, and that sense of urgency behind them, may very well be lifesaving for that dear loved one of yours.
If you “hold on” to that intuitive guidance, it’s like a mail carrier receiving a parcel and refusing to deliver it. If you keep it to yourself, only one person is going to benefit from it, and that’s you. However, if you choose to share that message—to have the courage and the confidence to speak what you feel—then it may change the lives of your loved ones and allow them to feel happier and freer . . . and be inspired to then trust their own gut feelings. They, in turn, will share their intuitive messages, and that ripple effect spreads.
As you listen to your inner guidance, it may tell you something simple, such as Switch lanes, while you’re driving in the car. It may become more complex, such as You need to leave that relationship, You need to change careers, or You need to move.
Your intuition can be like an internal lie detector. When you meet someone, you can immediately tell if you like him or her or if something about what he or she is saying rings untrue. You get a sense of somebody’s energy the instant that you make a connection, and your internal lie detector says, Yes, this is a wonderful person!—or, it does the opposite and tells you to get as far away as you possibly can.
Sometimes you pick up on different energies when you’re in somebody’s home. Do you feel uplifted, or do you get a sense that the person is just trying to impress you? Is that energy stagnant with negativity? You’ll know.
So please trust the messages that you receive when you meet somebody or when you enter a new environment. Do so especially if you’re going to see practitioners or healers, because if you go into a space feeling uncertain or afraid, that’s a sign to step back.
This is something that we’ve learned to listen to when we’ve been invited to attend particular seminars. We feel that our purpose here on Earth is to help as many people as we can. We hope to spread healing messages about spirituality, natural health, God, and the angels. But we still have to trust our own intuition. Sometimes we get invited to speak at events that sound wonderful, but there’s something in our gut that says, Don’t do it.
When we trust that information, even though it might feel uncomfortable at the time, we’re then able to look back on that event at a later date and understand why we were guided to stay away. Often it’s not because the organizers or attendees were “bad” or anything like that, but rather something else came up that more urgently required our attention. We might not have been able to give 100 percent at that particular event. Perhaps we’d been so busy throughout the year that we needed some time to rest.
As you listen to your intuition, you learn that the way in which God and your angels communicate with you is special and unique because you are special and unique. Rather than feeling like you have to fit inside a box, honor your own perceptions.
Trust your intuition. Truly, it’s the heavenly voice of God and your angels coming through.
Science and Intuition
At one time, intuition was considered an old wives’ tale. Today, researchers have solid scientific foundations for the process of intuition. Dozens of studies support the value of intuition in decision making and finding creative solutions to problems. A recent study stated that medical doctors can achieve better outcomes in their patients’ care by calling upon their intuition when making decisions. The researchers concluded, “Intuitive and analytical decision processes may have complementary effects in achieving the desired outcomes of patient decision support” (de Vries et al. 2013). A related study found that farmers use intuition more than analytics.
Many studies have focused on our physical reactions to various situations, measuring blood pressure, brain waves, perspiration, and heart rate in response to stimuli, such as looking at emotionally charged photos or video clips. In some intriguing experiments, the participants’ heart and other systems were shown to react to a photo or video even before the people being studied were shown the stimulus. Most of these experiments are “double-blind,” which means that neither the participants nor the researchers know beforehand which type of image the person being studied will see. The studies show that our bodies “know” when something emotionally charged is coming our way.
Perhaps you’ve had this experience yourself when you woke up feeling excited or happy for no known reason. Or, similarly, you felt a sense of dread on a day when something unforeseen and unpleasant later occurred.
Research has demonstrated that our palms begin to sweat when we’re around something harsh or dangerous several minutes before our conscious minds can register the threat. This makes sense, as the hands have a high number of sensory neuronal connections to the nervous system. Scientists believe that if we could learn to pay attention to our palms’ subtle signals, including perspiration, it would enable us to be consciously be aware of—and avoid—danger.
Similar studies find that our heart rate and blood pressure increases when people are directing negative thoughts our way, and that these functions relax and decrease when others are thinking positive thoughts about us. It turns out that “sending love” is a measurable energy!
Intuition Works with the Body’s Systems
Our ancient ancestors relied on their intuition to ensure their physical safety. Imagine the vulnerable feeling of walking outside to forage for food, where you depend on your wits to stay alive. This is the same built-in system wild animals use for survival. While we now shop in grocery stores for food and live in houses, this doesn’t mean that our ancestors’ instincts have “evolved away.”
Researchers have pinpointed the brain’s right hemisphere, which is associated with emotions and the arts, as the center of our intuition. Additionally, the autonomic nervous system, also called our “ancient brain,” appears to be hardwired to instinctively react to potential danger in a way that could be called “intuitive.” The brain’s limbic system—our feeling center—can sense danger detected by the autonomic nervous system before it’s physically apparent. In this way, our intuition (if we listen to it) keeps us safe.
In the face of stress, our nervous and endocrine systems work closely together to bring about harmony and balance. These two systems are linked by the hypothalamus, a structure in the brain’s limbic system. While the endocrine system is made up of many glands, the most important to know in regard to stress and intuition are the pituitary and adrenal glands. Let’s look at how all these systems work together.
When your nervous system recognizes a stressor, it sends a message to the hypothalamus, which then releases hormones to deliver the message to the pituitary gland. Next, the pituitary sends out hormones influencing the adrenal glands. In turn, this causes your adrenals to release a hormone to reduce the effects of the stress. This pattern continues until your body is satisfied that you have enough stress-relieving hormones available. Your body then relaxes, and the nervous system calms.
However, if stress continues for extended periods of time, the biological exchange of neuro-messages and hormones may become unbalanced. If the hypothalamus, pituitary, or adrenal glands become depleted, it creates a strain along the cascade. This causes a change in your stress response, energy levels, and hormones.
By supporting your endocrine and nervous systems nutritionally, you will help keep your intuition clear and sharp. And, conversely, listening to your intuition is a big factor in reducing your stress levels, as it will guide you to avoid stress-producing situations in the first place. Your intuition may also lead you to a stress-management program that’s custom-tailored to your interests, schedule, and budget.
Nutrition for Intuition
by Doreen Virtue and Robert Reeves. It is published by Hay House (January 5, 2016) and is available in bookstores and online at www.hayhouse.com
The Oil Pulling Miracle
by Birgit Frohn
Five Minutes a Day for Your Well-Being
Oil pulling is very easy to perform. You can do it at any time without any special knowledge or preparation. All that you need is five minutes of your time. And whether you realize it or not, it will be time well spent.
Once Daily: Your Cure
Despite the simplicity of oil pulling, it’s good to follow the step-by-step procedure outlined below. Otherwise, small mistakes can slip in, which can detract from the success of your efforts.
The Best Time
In principle, one can use oil pulling at any time. Nevertheless, mornings, just after waking up, are generally the best time for it because many waste products, toxins, and impurities settle in our oral mucosa during the night. In the morning, these can be disposed of with one “sip” of oil.
Don’t drink coffee, juice, or even water before oil pulling. Any liquid that you swallow will wash a good portion of what you want to expel back into your body. When you enter your bathroom in the morning do the oil pulling before you put anything else into your mouth. In certain cases, such as persistent chronic illnesses and in order to speed up healing processes, one can also use this cure three times daily. Just as in the morning, it is important to do it before a meal.
To begin, place a spoonful of oil in your mouth. One full tablespoon is best. If this is too much, start with a teaspoon–but nothing less. From this amount, you can gradually work up to one tablespoon. The larger amount is better because it allows the full effects of oil pulling to develop. One teaspoon is enough for children older than six years.
Pull and Swish Vigorously
Sip the oil from a spoon. As soon as it is fully in the mouth, you need to keep the oil moving: suck it through your teeth, chew it, and swish it around in your mouth. This should occur in a leisurely fashion, without stress or strain. If you are stressed, you lose a large portion of oil pulling’s effectiveness.
Do not be surprised when the consistency of the oil changes in your mouth during oil pulling; that it becomes continuously thinner is dependent on it combining with saliva. The foamy mixture that slowly develops is completely normal and desirable.
Do Not Swallow
During oil pulling, always hold your head upright or, better yet, inclined forward. Absolutely avoid leaning your head back, as when gargling. By leaning back you risk swallowing some of the oil. This should be strictly avoided–you ultimately want to expel, not consume, the toxins that have bound themselves to the oil. But in case some of it goes down your throat, it’s nothing to worry about. You will not gain any new toxins. The toxins and waste products found in the swallowed mixture will reach the digestive tract and be transported back into the bloodstream from the small intestine. They can be disposed of during the next oil pulling session.
Away with the Toxins
Oil pulling should be performed for a duration of five minutes. When you spit it out, the oil should be milky white or at least pale yellow. If it is still yellow-green, the duration was too short. After spitting out the oil, rinse your mouth with warm water a few times. Finally, brush your teeth with a toothbrush as usual. It is frequently advised that the oil should be spat into the toilet bowl, because it is the usual repository for bodily waste. You can spit the oil into the sink as well. You should then quickly clean it, since the discarded fluid contains a multitude of toxins.
Duration of the Oil Pulling Cure
To truly realize a noticeable effect one needs to perform oil pulling daily for at least one week. It generally takes four to six weeks before the full effects of oil pulling can be seen and can have a positive impact on all levels. It is therefore useful to complete an oil pulling treatment for approximately six weeks during the early spring and fall. However, this does not mean that oil pulling should not be done daily. Many people who have done this for years swear by it.
Chronic illnesses, from which one has suffered for a long period of time, require more patience. Ultimately, long-term health problems cannot be cured from one day to the next–oil pulling cannot do that. During the treatment of chronic illnesses with oil pulling, it can sometimes take a year for full relief or healing to set in.
As a rule of thumb, the following signs show how long you need to carry out the oil pulling cure: You should be able to sleep well and have a good appetite. When you wake up in the morning you should feel rested and refreshed and your eyes should be free of “sand.” Keep up the oil pulling until you reach these benchmarks.
You Might Feel Worse at First
Immediately after starting oil pulling, a cleansing crisis can occur. You may experience deterioration in your current condition or worsening of the symptoms of an existing ailment. This should be seen as a positive sign. The initial and temporary deterioration shows that the detoxification process has begun in the body. This initial worsening is certainly not a reason for worry and should not lead you to stop the practice; on the contrary, the initial decline shows that you are on the right track.
Possible Temporary Ailments
When the detoxification gets underway and the body can finally rid itself of harmful contaminants, the following ailments sometimes occur on a temporary basis.
Joint pain or stiffness
Swollen lymph nodes
Slight flu symptoms
Digestion problems, such as constipation or diarrhea
The Oil Pulling Miracle by Birgit Frohn © 2015 Healing Arts Press. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com
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by Robin Eagle Sage, Medical Intuitive
Have you ever wondered if your physical pain is caused by unresolved emotional experiences? Each month, Medical Intuitive, Robin Eagle Sage, will share one of her medical intuitive readings with you. Using her clairvoyant abilities, this wise Sage will unravel the causes and cures of a patient’s illness. In turn, you will discover the great power capable of every individual to heal from within! Pseudonyms are used to protect the patient.
Medical Issue: Stabbing sharp pain throughout entire body. Lower pelvic pain, abdomen pain, dysfunctional uterus bleeding, fibroids, iron deficiency-anemia, ovarian cyst, ovarian ruptured cyst, pre-cancerous lesion on the cervix, pelvic inflammatory disease, migraine, headaches, indecisive, mentally exhausted, frustrated, un-ease, blocked. Lack of concentration. Unable to express thoughts and feelings. Unable to tolerate noise. Worry, fear, doubt. I feel off-balance, blocked, mood-swings, emotionally exhausted, hurt, guilty, unhappy.
When I asked what is causing Felicity’s health issues, I saw a number of spirits, entities and people in her crown chakra trying to confuse her and feed off of her energy. I saw that Felicity is intelligent, funny and dynamic too. But all of these spirits and people are trying to put out her fire! What this means energetically, is that Felicity is agreeing to it, on a subconscious level. My job is to find out why.
I saw that Felicity is unsure about who she is. I asked her about this and she agreed and said it started happening about a year ago. I believe it started much earlier than that. Felicity’s confusion about who she is, is both the cause and effect of these beings who control her. When there is confusion and doubt about one’s identity, it creates a magnet for energies to enter and take over the body. It also furthers the process of confusion. I did some healing work on Felicity’s head and crown chakra to clear some of these entities and taught her how to voice her need for space and to ask them to leave.
Next, I saw a past life of an old black man with grey hair wearing overalls and holding a pitch fork. He was an inebriated slobbering hick telling his granddaughter (Felicity) a bunch of nonsense. I felt love from him toward his granddaughter, but I also saw that he was giving Felicity a lot of excuses for his debilitating behavior and inappropriate actions. Her grandfather was a sex-offender who “took” every opportunity to have sex right in front of the young girl. He did “it” with anyone and all the time.
Her grandfather told Felicity, “In order to survive in life you have to be strong.” He said this to imply that what he was doing was right and that it was up to HER to be strong. This confused Felicity. She loved and trusted her Grandfather who was her only family, yet he was doing terrible things. Felicity could not understand if his addictions were right or wrong. She trusted her granddaddy. She even wondered if these issues were her fault.
I asked Spirit how this past life is affecting Felicity now. I heard, “These past experiences have made her buy into what other people say, even when they are false. Felicity lacks self-trust and believes that other people’s actions are okay when they are not.” I told Felicity that she must become clear about what is right and wrong. I told her that she must let go of guilt and that all people, especially children who are victims of sexually inappropriate behavior, believe it is their fault. As long as Felicity believes this on any level, both spirits and people will invade her space and continue to dupe her. I suggested counseling for Felicity in order to help her understand that her past experiences are neither her fault nor appropriate. And that she can stop believing everything she is told.
At this point, Felicity told me that in this lifetime, when she was 17 years old she was corralled into a job selling magazines across the nation. In truth, she was kidnapped, could not leave the “job” and was trafficked into a haram with an older man who raped and tried to kill her daily. These were Felicity’s exact words. Apparently, every time she tried to escape this man would control her and tell the police it was simply a domestic quarrel. Sadly, the police believed this award-winning con-artist, pedophile and sex-offender. This continued for years before she finally escaped. Felicity said that many years later, she is now in the process of a court case to put this man into jail once and for all. Apparently the police have been looking for him for years. Now it is Felicity’s chance to empower herself, but she will have to be strong and do whatever it takes to remain safe.
I explained to Felicity that the reason she had this experience is because she hadn’t healed and learned from the experience with her grandfather in the past life. In order to grow, Felicity must: acknowledge that it was not her fault, stop believing what everyone says, learn to call a spade a spade and let go of shame and guilt. In addition, her daily routine must be to fill her womb with her own female beauty, self-trust, love and self-acceptance and to know that she is a worthy child of God who deserves a safe life. Felicity and I spoke about how she can become more empowered and self-assured and what she can do in order to feel this way. I am not an advocate of guns, but I saw that if Felicity feels safer and more empowered with a gun, pepper spray, a guard dog or police protection, that she should employ such protection as she builds her courage and inner strength. It will be important for Felicity to feel safe in order to fully heal and let go of the past, so that such harmful experiences need not occur again. When the cells of the body (human energy) turn from fearful to safe and whole, one is out of harm’s way. Felicity is a strong soul and she deserves to have a healthy body and a joyous life! My blessings are with you Felicity.
Robin Eagle Sage is a medical intuitive, healer, clairvoyant reader, author and teacher. She writes the Medical Intuitive Corner in Whole Person Magazine in Los Angeles and in Sedona Conscious Magazine in Sedona, AZ. Robin gives energy readings and healings over the phone and Skype worldwide. She is the founder of Sage School of Light and teaches a Medical Intuitive training program for beginners. Robin is the author of the book, “The Financial Alchemist; The spiritual and material recipe for financial success,” the CD “Soul Love; An interactive meditation to attract wealth, health and the relationship of your dreams!” and three audio meditations: “Financial Success & Abundance,” “Releasing Stress and Fear” and “Love & Joy.” For more information visit Robin at: www.MedicalIntuitiveTraining.com.
Medical Intuitive Corner
by Robin Eagle Sage, Medical Intuitive
Have you ever wondered if your physical pain is caused by unresolved emotional experiences? Each month, Medical Intuitive, Robin Eagle Sage, will share one of her medical intuitive readings with you. Using her clairvoyant abilities, this wise Sage will unravel the causes and cures of a patient’s illness. In turn, you will discover the great power capable of every individual to heal from within! Pseudonyms are used to protect the patient.
Medical Issue: Shrinking eye sclera (white of the eye).
When I looked at Jen’s eyes clairvoyantly I saw the colors grey and white. I heard, “Who am I?” I saw Jen has limited thoughts and beliefs and is not able to see greater truths and possibilities. Jen is fighting for attention in the world and her energy is outside of her body. This is an important issue because when one’s energy is outside of the body one cannot know one’s self. I told Jen to pull her energy into her body on a daily basis by imagining her particles coming into her body like a genie coming into its bottle. I asked Jen to ground her body by feeling weight coming into her feet or sacrum.
I saw that Jen’s mother did not want a child. This has caused Jen to feel that she must wave a big flag in the air to get her mother’s love and attention. This effort takes Jen out of her body and away from her true self which is self-love. I saw a blockage in the back of Jen’s head in her occipital ridge. This is where she is struggling to be seen by her mother and also by others. This blockage and way of being needs to be released completely. Jen has been struggling for attention for so long, her head is hardwired to repeat the pattern of struggle.
Jen must know that she deserves peace. She can be at peace by constantly pulling her own healthy energy into her body, releasing her mother’s energy from her head, repeating the mantra, “I deserve peace” and then taking a deep breath while feeling lovable. Deep breathing is important as it will oxygenate her eyes and brain as well as create new neuropathways that instigate peace, love and self-worth.
Jen’s wanting to be known and seen is causing the decrease of sclera in her eyes. When she lets go of the effort of caring about what other people think, such as, “Does my mother or father love me?” she can heal. Jen is trying to learn as a spirit that she is the most important person in her life and she is her own best guide, master, parent and child. The attachment to her parents, i.e. seeing her life through their eyes, is what is making her sick. When I said this, Jen told to me that she lives with her parents. Therefore, releasing her attachments to them will be essential for her growth.
I saw that Jen needs omega-3 oils, such as, walnut and flax oils. She also needs her neurotransmitters to establish greater connections. She can do this by relaxing her head, walking in nature with fresh air and learning new things. A great way to promote this would be by taking an interesting class, getting a head massage, finding new ways to walk home from work and making new friends. Jen’s brain needs something positive and uplifting to chew on.
I told Jen that if she lived alone without her parents she would probably go out and adventure in the world. Because she is codependent with her parents, she is not discovering her true self. I advised her to go into the world and discover herself now, before her parents make their grand transition. Doing so will make their relationship better, each finding greater respect for the other. When one respects, loves and cherishes themselves, it is energetic law that others will reciprocate such feelings to the exact degree.
Jen, when you see yourself for who you truly are, a divine spirit temporarily housed in a beautiful body, your eyes will heal. See clearly and you will know thyself as God.
Robin Eagle Sage is a medical intuitive, healer, clairvoyant reader, author and teacher. She writes the column called Medical Intuitive Corner in Whole Person Magazine in Los Angeles and in Sedona Conscious Magazine in Sedona, AZ. Robin gives energy readings and healings over the phone and Skype worldwide. She is the founder of Sage School of Light and teaches a Medical Intuitive training program for beginners. Robin is the author of the book, “The Financial Alchemist; The spiritual and material recipe for financial success,” the CD “Soul Love; An interactive meditation to attract wealth, health and the relationship of your dreams!” and three audio meditations: “Financial Success & Abundance,” “Releasing Stress and Fear” and “Love & Joy.” For more information visit Robin at: www.MedicalIntuitiveTraining.com.
Medical Intuitive Corner
by Robin Eagle Sage, Medical Intuitive
Have you ever wondered if your physical pain is caused by unresolved emotional experiences? Each month, world renowned Medical Intuitive, Robin Eagle Sage will share one of her medical intuitive case readings with you. Using her clairvoyant abilities, this wise Sage will unravel the causes and cures of a patient’s illness. In turn, you will discover the great power capable of every individual. Pseudonyms are used to protect the individual.
Medical Issues: Neck tumor, tiredness, lack of motivation.
When I looked at Sabrina clairvoyantly I saw a huge grey blockage in the upper right quadrant of her brain. It was very mucus-like. I heard “memories of a distant past” and knew that her issue concerned a past life. Sabrina had a hidden memory that was blocking her brain’s ability to create, motivate, think clearly and remember. It was taking a lot of her RAM space and making her tired.
I saw a stone mansion with maids and cooks working busily preparing meals for the rich barrister who lived there. Chefs were stirring pots of food and it was a mad frenzy. It looked just like the movie Downton Abby! Sabrina was hiding behind her mother, who, in this past life was a maid wearing a white apron and bonnet over her head. The master of the house practiced law and wore a grey wig. The year was 1683 and there was unrest in the house. Sabrina was hiding not only behind her mother, but from incest with the Barrister. The word incest tells me that the Barrister was related to her. This means that Sabrina’s mother, the maid, also experienced the same suppressed fate.
I looked clairvoyantly at Sabrina’s lump in her neck to see what was causing it. This tumor was energetically bright red with rage. I saw a little girl yelling to a man, “Who do you think you are? Get away from me!” She called the man “sore-eyes,” which is not a modern-day term. This was definitely the little Sabrina from her previous life trying to save herself from the prestigious lawyer.
Because the Barrister was a man of power and well respected in the community, it made it impossible for Sabrina’s claim to be heard. She was only the daughter of a poor maid and a servant to her master. No one had time to listen to this young girl, let alone believe her. Power was the key word.
At this moment I saw a flash of Sabrina’s father from this lifetime. Although I knew that her experiences with him were different from the Barrister, there were also parallels in regard to power. I said, “I don’t think there were any issues of incest with your father from this lifetime, but I do see that both men were in positions of power.” I saw that he was unreachable and untouchable and that her relationship with him was making her heart heavy. This in turn also made Sabrina tired and unmotivated in life. The blocked feeling in her heart was, “Why try?” As I told her this, Sabrina sighed and said, “Well, there’s a story here.” Then she preceded to tell me that her actual father was a high-powered drug lord. Again, a lord! That he was a major cocaine drug-trafficker who laundered over 200 million dollars’ worth of drug money! They believed he was murdered when she was three years old because he disappeared and his body was never found. Wow, I don’t know which lifetime was more dramatic, this one or the past! This also explained the heavy feeling in her heart!
I explained to Sabrina the impact on which both “father figures” had on her. Both felt they were above the law and did not know how to create a loving relationship with themselves or her. Together we did some healing work on forgiving both men. I heard her father from this lifetime say, “I’m so sorry. I never meant for it to go this way. I love you.” I wanted Sabrina to hear this for herself, so I did not say anything. Instead I told her that her father had a message for her. I asked Sabrina to tune-in to her father on a soul level and to listen to what he had to say. After twenty seconds she repeated the exact words that I had heard! Then she began to cry. I told Sabrina that her father does not want to hold her back from experiencing love and joy.
Next we did healing work on the Barrister. Sabrina said, “This will be more difficult. How can you forgive someone for molesting their own child?” I explained to Sabrina that everyone is doing the best they can even though it may not look that way to others. Most people have addictions, some are more serious than others. The name of the game with addictions is that you “can’t” control them and that they control you. Whether it’s an addiction to sugar, sex or overpowering someone, they are still out of people’s control… until they heal from them. I explained to Sabrina that forgiving these two men is for her sake, not theirs, even though it will heal and release them as well. One must become aware of, forgive and let go of the past in order to have all of one’s own positive energy working for one’s Self in the present time. Forgiveness (with boundaries) is always the name of the game as it leads to health and happiness.
After the reading I did some healing work on myself and then “unconsciously” chose to watch the movie, Maid in Manhattan with Jennifer Lopez. Within the first ten minutes of the movie I heard the manager of the hotel tell the maids, “The job of a Barrister maid is to…”
Robin Eagle Sage is a medical intuitive, healer, clairvoyant reader, author and teacher. She gives energy readings and healings over the phone and Skype worldwide. Robin is the founder of Sage School of Light and teaches a Medical Intuitive training program for beginners. Robin is the author of the book, “The Financial Alchemist; The spiritual and material recipe for financial success,” the CD “Soul Love; An interactive meditation to attract wealth, health and the relationship of your dreams!” and three audio meditations: “Financial Success & Abundance,” “Releasing Stress and Fear” and “Love & Joy.” For more information contact Robin at: www.MedicalIntuitiveTraining.com.
How to Get Along With Your Teenager
Marta Adelsman, Psy.D.
The transition between childhood and adulthood can be tough. Your adolescent must accomplish the developmental task of separating from you, his parent. For most teens and for parents as well, it’s a scary process.
Healthy parent-to-teen relating develops new ways of relating that leave behind parent-child components in favor of adult-to-adult communication. Making the shift often creates instability and disequilibrium. Before you reach a new harmony, the process often looks and feels chaotic.
I offer here are a few tips to manage the chaos and to parent adolescents successfully:
Diffuse the difficulty of these years by talking to your pre-teen about the developmental task ahead of him. Let him know separating from parents can be a rough ride. Tell him of your intention to get through the process with mutual respect. Invite him to join you in laying the groundwork by communicating with each other how you would like to be treated. This will be easier if you have already established a precedent for respectful conversations about feelings and expectations.
Use an assertive style of communication rather than an aggressive style. Assertiveness means you respect your rights and those of your teen. You take responsibility to set clear and firm boundaries. You ask directly for what you need from her. Assertiveness involves making requests instead of demands. You relate with directness, openness and honesty while maintaining an even tone of voice and good eye contact. You see your teen as equal to you (not in amount of experience but in her personhood), worthy of your respect and consideration.
An aggressive style uses hostility, threats and intimidation to manipulate your teen to do your bidding. It ignores her rights as a human being. It makes demands such as, “Turn down that damn music! Can’t you see I’m trying to get some work done?” An assertive request sounds like, “Please turn down the volume so I can get my deskwork done.” Aggressiveness speaks with sarcasm and insults: “Of course I can’t help you! Do you think I’m at your beck and call every time you have a school project?” Assertiveness says, “I’m sorry I can’t help you with that today. I have a doctor’s appointment.”
Be real with your teen. Tell the truth. Let him know you sometimes aren’t fully confident how to parent a teen and you’re learning as you go. Admit when you make a mistake. If you fear you will lose status if you speak your truth, I assure you that confessions of imperfection make you more human in your teen’s eyes. Authentic speaking may sound like, “I feel terrible when I yell at you,” “I don’t know the answer to your question,” or “Sometimes the choices you make scare me.” These honest admissions will reap huge benefits in the form of mutual respect.
If you incorporate these suggestions and keep your sense of humor, you are well on your way toward remaining on good terms with your child throughout those turbulent adolescent years.
Marta Adelsman, Psy.D., practices in the Verde Valley as a Life Coach in Communication and Spiritual Consciousness. She coaches in person and over the phone. To contact her with comments or questions or to schedule an appointment, call 928-451-9482 or email HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com. Website: drmartacoach.com
What Kind of Parent Are You?
by Dr. Marta
My parents didn’t show much encouragement for my interests. When my father worked with wood, he wouldn’t let me hammer nails. Neither parent indulged my love for horses, and they hardly ever attended my gymnastics events or field hockey games. I felt like they didn’t really know me.
I conceptualize three kinds of parents. Mine typified what I would call uninvolved. This type doesn’t spend much time talking or doing things with their children. The children stop expecting parental involvement in their lives. They can easily become discouraged and may suffer from emotional issues of abandonment and low self-esteem.
Another type of parent I call over-involved. They make decisions for a child based on pre-conceived notions of who and what they want that child to do and be. Regardless of his feelings, these parents pressure him into activities they choose. They force him into sports when he wants to play chess. They make her play the violin when she wants to play drums. They hush their loud, social extravert because they want a quiet, compliant introvert. These parents don’t allow their child’s worldview to differ from their own. They make little effort to understand life from the child’s point of view.
The third type, the supportively involved parents, delight in their children’s strengths and interests. They exhibit these distinct characteristics:
Supportively involved parents hold an attitude of appreciation and wonder at their children’s evolving personalities and talents. They see how the path toward success for their children lies in encouraging them to follow their heart. They make them feel cherished and appreciated for who they are, independent from their performance in school, sports, music, etc. These parents allow Life to live their children, knowing that happiness and fulfillment, as well as financial success, are likely to come through doing what they love.
Supportively involved parents respect their children’s emotions. They connect through listening deeply and non-judgmentally to the child’s feelings. They celebrate achievements and give encouragement when the child fails. Instead of sheltering them from emotional pain, supportive parents allow their children to learn from anger, sadness, etc., offering love and support as the child works through her emotions.
These parents support their children through their physical presence. Through attending events and helping them gain mastery in a skill the child wants to learn, they show support by being there. Parents’ physical presence provides an underpinning of support and security as the child experiences the highs and lows of life. Susan Stiffelman, in Parenting Without Power Struggles, wrote about an important kind of physical presence and support: joyful and authentic children catch glimpses of their mother or father looking at them with wonder and love just because they exist.
When you celebrate and marvel at their uniqueness, you bestow on your children the greatest gift you could possibly give.
Dr. Marta practices in the Verde Valley of Arizona as a Life Coach in Communication & Spiritual Consciousness. She coaches individuals, couples and parents to be more awake and aware. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 928-451-9482.
by Henry Selzer
An April to Dig In, and to Remember to Breathe
The astrology of April features two eclipses, counting last month’s Spring Equinox solar eclipse that began the current cycle, and as well the lunar eclipse and Full Moon of the first weekend of April. With this potent configuration, this is shaping up to be a volatile month, also emphasizing singular Jupiter, as well as Chiron, Uranus Neptune and Pluto. We are all to a certain extent still reeling from the volatility of what we have been through over these first three months of the year, and are now attempting to integrate what we have learned.
Just as we are coming off of the final of seven exact hits of Uranus in square with Pluto, signifying the transformational tenor of these intense times that we are currently living through and the extent to which we are all of us in major flux, we have another opportunity for a look inside ourselves in resonance with this volatile aspect of revolutionary/evolutionary change that will last in one form or another to the end of the decade. The Full Moon eclipse of April 4th opposes Uranus and squares Pluto, while the Sun conjuncts Uranus. These two powerhouse planets are still only separated by less than a degree from the perfection of their recent square.
There are also definite cosmic stirrings currently that relate to Chiron, the Wounded Healer, which is strongly aspected in the timing of these eclipses, with the solar eclipse Sun and Moon in close parallel to Chiron. At this timing also, Venus was in perfect semi-sextile to Chiron, bringing relationship and aesthetics into the field of difficulty and also opportunity symbolized by this ultimately healing energy. When inner wounding comes up, especially in inter-personal interaction, there is always an opportunity for healing if we remember to take it.
Mars, was also prominent at the eclipse timing, and in forming conjunction to the new planet, Eris, beyond Pluto. There is a Venus aspect to this interesting new archetype as well at the time of the April 4th eclipse. According to extensive research that I have been conducting, this recently arrived factor in Western Astrology represents a Feminine Warrior for Soul Purpose. Her strong presence now implies that over the course of this present month we will become more conscious to a greater sense of self that exists within each of us. This stems from an inner mandate for being yourself at all costs; for finding deep with you the potential for that which only you can provide. This way of being more fully in alignment with yourself at deep levels leads to greater happiness, as you suddenly find that you have a way to respond to the urgency of these fraught times that we are all living through.
Saturn is also prominent in Sagittarius, being almost exactly inconjunct Venus in her own sign of Taurus at the beginning of this extra-strong lunar cycle, and also inconjunct to Mars in Taurus at the timing of the April 4th lunar eclipse. The limitations and grounding provided by the wise old teacher archetype are a good complement to the high-flying symbolism of other prominent astrological factors such as Jupiter and Neptune.
Neptune is emphasized now, being conjunct Mercury at the timing of the Spring Equinox eclipse, and thus lends a strong component of imagination and idealism to the current astrology. With Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune all strongly configured we have a unique situation of push-pull for both a practical and a mystical way of seeing the word around us. We win when we allow both of these approaches to have their day, steering for the golden mean of a middle course that is neither too cautious, nor allowing ourselves to go so far out there that we lose contact with the earth beneath our feet.
ARIES (March 20-April 19). This is another climactic month for you, Aries, when many things come together. You have been riding the wave of transformation for many months, feeling the ultimate implications although perhaps unaware of specifics, heading for a hazy future. You are suddenly taking up the reigns in a more purposeful manner. You find support from allowing in the viewpoint of significant persons in your life, appearing as either mentors or as foils for your emerging position. Partners might thus provide a conceptual framework that enables you to more fully visualize your own. Your transformation is still in process, of that you can be sure, and with new stage you are getting more seriously committed to making only those changes that truly matter to you, deep down, and that will bring you into closer alignment with your soul intention.
TAURUS (April 20-May 19). This is another powerful month for you, Taurus, in a series of these, taking you forward in ways not always completely anticipated. You could feel lately like you are moving through molasses. You are heading toward an unknown future that beckons you, through a combination of idealism and fond illusion. These first few months of this year have been revolutionary and eye opening, especially referring to your inner eye, as your mystical journey continues. Partners continue to have a strong role to play, perhaps serving as catalysts to your own development. Your very identity is shifting, including your worldview. You might sometimes feel as though you are stuck on the verge of breakthrough. Your progress is subtle and yet nonetheless profound, and the ultimate outcome will be longer lasting and more greatly stabilized within you as a result of this longer term in your process of getting there.
GEMINI (May 20-June 20). This is an interesting and important month for you and your ongoing transformation of values and of societal connection, Gemini. There have already been the psychic storms of February and March, and as you slide into April you are continuing to fire on all cosmic cylinders. The concept of partnership provides grounding and a sense of serious commitment to the potential bond. Your vision for the future is constantly changing and yet has a mystical quality of enduring truth that you are quite aware of, at least subliminally. This has been a metamorphosis in which every facet of your life is in flux, including your goals themselves. These have been undergoing a revision of priorities from an outer orientation to the consensus thinking of the surrounding culture, to what is a most decidedly inner alignment to deep intention.
CANCER (June 21-July 20) This is yet another intense month, Cancer, after the crescendo of major change that February and March might have meant for you. Your vision is strong for a better way to be of service to the world around you, involving new vision for social responsibility and for professional activities that have a serious point to make, and a light way of going about it. You continue to morph in the way that you bond with others for both personal and business relationships. Your own sense of self-satisfaction is thereby enhanced, so that you also better partner yourself and your own deep intention going forward. You are committed to a form of service that leaves your ego out of the picture, while yet your personality becomes the fundamental fulcrum of the spirit in which it is performed, to the ultimate advantage of everyone around you.
LEO (July 21-Aug. 21) This is yet another big month for transformation on many different levels, Leo. You are in the midst of a sensitive and potent lunar cycle, yet one having a definite edge, and representing a quest for action in support of soul intention. Your self-expression is studied and slowed down right now, perhaps in order that you might examine more closely what you are producing and your underlying motivation in so doing. You are occupied with idealistically looking within yourself for a better understanding of your own inner workings, and for clues to removing barriers to intimate connection with significant others. As you investigate and make necessary changes in habitual patterns, you might begin to notice that there is no way to separate yourself and your beliefs from the evidence that you gather; you are an indissoluble part of all that you observe.
VIRGO (Aug. 21-Sept. 21) This month continues the beat, Virgo, of transformational change that you have been dancing to all year. Uranus and Pluto, still upending your world, have precipitated major results including dramatic changes in your creative self-expression, and are still a big part of this month’s swirl of cosmic energies. Your partnership dynamic has been alternately fluctuating and deeply intentioned, and while somewhat filled with rose-colored visions of extraordinary outcomes is also seriously practical in its scope. Your intuition too is sizzling with enlightenment for new life direction, and nearly takes you to right within the psyches of others. You are making a serious application of effort to dig further into your own psychological territory as you encounter limitations on one level of family entanglements or home based concerns, simultaneous with breakthrough on another. You may also find yourself taking on issues for the way that you resource yourself, whenever it is that you are required to.
LIBRA (Sept. 22-Oct. 22) The rhythm of revolutionary change continues, Libra. The tidal pulse of major transformation keeps pounding away at the very underpinnings of your life and your personality, seemingly without letup. You remain full to the brim with lingering vibrations from recent months sparking attitudes of cosmic intentionality. These seem to come from outside of yourself, perhaps arriving on the wings of relationship interaction, and yet still very much hit the mark. Something about your life is irrevocably altering and the contribution of intelligent and deeply connected partners and fellow travellers contributes greatly to your own arc of development. You are magnetically pulled to visions of future circumstance that even though largely insubstantial; you can nearly see and feel with your physical senses. Practical magic is one watchword for your current transitional state, as you leave behind one layer of consciousness for what turns out to be quite another.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) This is your time of coming into yourself in a new way, Scorpio. Relationship is powerful for you right now, and allows you to better understand where you are coming from. The point of view of active partners helps to pave the way to your own ongoing transformation in communicative outreach and service orientation. This current cycle leads you to exploring the mechanics of public achievement. You are lucky with your outer world circumstance, which also gives you the space to more deeply investigate private areas and concerns. You are simultaneously taking your creativity to the next level, by placing it in harness to others, laying it at their feet for the benefit of partners and of society itself. Most importantly, you are discovering a component of soul intention that complements every gesture you make in the line of more ordinary mundane layers of commitment.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 20) The beat goes on, Sagittarius, and it seems like the intensity has barely diminished, although perhaps subtly shifted in direction. During this rather intense time, you continue to deal with a flood of radical change. You are exercising increased spiritual creativity in everything that you do. A sense of responsibility to the ordinary requirements of daily life might at times feel like a burden, and yet suddenly it morphs into joy at serving your higher calling. Your understanding of soul-level mission that you have been feeling these last few months has become a factor in assessing how to determine your true priorities; you are finding that some formerly important details and previously treasured habits could fall away, while the ones that you choose to embrace are those that accord with where your inner guidance is directing you.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 21-Jan. 19) This is still the season of your transformation, Capricorn, as it has been all year thus far. The recent crescendo of radical evolutionary change has lessoned slightly and perhaps turned more profoundly inward. You have mellowed into the changes of this timeframe, accepted your seat on the roller coaster, and even begun to enjoy the view of the moving landscape before your ever-widening gaze. Partners provide an interesting catalyst for your own inner exploration that has taken you into some very deep and far down places already in the weeks and even months preceding this current one. You have a creative tension available to you now that takes inner presence into outer achievement almost without conscious effort. Your intuitional inspiration descends from angel guidance and grows easier to understand with each fresh experience of insight.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 17) Your metamorphosis continues, Aquarius. This has been a season of adjustment with multiple levels of progress, and yet your changes are not complete. This month represents another dip into the transformational tide, rushing through you toward an unknown endpoint, subtly molding and fluffing you in the direction that the cosmos seems to want your life to take. There is a call from deep inside, and you feel that you must heed it, or else falter and remain floating the shallows. This is along the lines of a different and more personal educational experience than anything that has come before. Your future orientation is summoned to a higher responsibility than the mundane task list. This sense of your mission of learning and spiritual growth that has overtaken you is more profound, and will eventually lead you out of your current conundrums and into greater clarity of purpose.
PISCES (Feb. 18-March 19) This is another quite interesting monthly cycle for you, Pisces, in regard to your ongoing changes, still incomplete. Each passing day you better hone in on what exactly you are up to. Your matrix of connection to friends and to your social setting has been long evolving, and future plans are similarly transforming as you come to a place of soul-level intentionality. Your idea of what lies ahead suddenly depends for its guiding principle on what makes you feel good inside. The mundane daily run of events become, through another way of looking at things, of sacred portent. Being out in the world has served you well lately, and yet you find that the accolades of the marketplace only represent one part of the story; these fade to meaninglessness unless they allow you to make an all-important connection to Spirit inside you.
Henry Seltzer, transformational astrologer and creator of the TimePassages astrology software, is based in Santa Cruz, California. An extended look at this month’s star signs and a variety of astrology reports are available on his website. His new book is about Eris, the planet discovered in 2006, beyond Pluto. It is entitled: The Tenth Planet: Revelations from the Astrological Eris.
Look for it this Spring. Henry also offers life enhancing private astrological counseling. Call him at 831-425-3686, or visit his website: www.astrograph.com.
The Everyday Witch
An excerpt from Everyday Witchcraft
by Deborah Blake
I like to call myself the everyday Witch, and you’ll see that reflected in a number of my book titles, like Everyday Witch Book of Rituals or Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook. Even The Goddess Is in the Details is subtitled Wisdom
for the Everyday Witch.
So what does that mean, the everyday Witch?
Two things, really.
For one thing, I’m just an everyday Witch. Nothing fancy or special. I don’t lead a major coven and haven’t started my own Witchcraft movement that has grown to encompass many, like Christopher Penczak or Raymond Buckland or Z. Budapest. (All folks I admire and respect. But I’m so not in that class—I’m not a professional Witch who teaches thousands and is known all over the world. I’m just little ol’ me.)
I lead a predominantly average life. A tad unconventional compared to some, maybe, since I’m a writer and craftsperson and run a shop full of artists, all of which allows me to be more open about my witchy leanings than some people might be able to be. But still, I am much like most other people: I work, I take care of my little farmhouse in the country, and I get bossed around by cats on a daily basis.
A few people might know me from my books, but, for the most part, I’m just an everyday Witch. Much like almost any other Witch you might meet, I’m a woman trying to juggle the responsibilities and obligations of daily life while at the same time attempting to better myself and be the best “me” I can be.
The other meaning of the term “everyday Witch” has to do with my commitment to walking my talk every day. I like to think that I am a Witch all day, every day, instead of just during the time of the full moons or during the eight sabbats. This is usually reflected in small things, not large ones. I do a bit of kitchen alchemy in the morning when I make my breakfast hot chocolate, mixing mundane ingredients with magickal intentions. I greet the gods briefly when I wake up and thank them before I fall asleep. I try to live as green a life as possible because, to me, taking care of the earth is part of being a Witch, too. Nothing big or complicated, as you can see; just integrating my beliefs into my regular life—an everyday Witch.
Most of the Witches I talk to would like to be everyday Witches, too. Not everyone, of course—plenty of folks are perfectly happy to only focus on their spiritual nature eight or thirteen or so times a year, and that’s just fine. As long as that’s the kind of practice that suits them, I think that’s great. But for many, it isn’t that they don’t want to be everyday Witches, it’s more a matter of how. They don’t know how to find the time and space and energy in the midst of their busy lives, or they can’t figure out how to integrate their spiritual path with the rest of their world without having to chase down exotic ingredients, go through complicated and drawn-out rituals, or explain to the neighbors why they’re dancing naked on the lawn. (Kidding about that last one. Mostly.)
This book is written by me, an everyday Witch, for all those who would also like to be everyday Witches. Just people who live their lives and happen to be Pagan. The naked dancing is optional.
Daily Practice Many spiritual paths include some form of daily practice. Buddhism, for instance, encourages meditation as well as a general attitude of mindfulness. Some religions focus more on daily prayer or saying grace before each meal as a way of giving thanks. Some have prayer beads or rosaries. Devout Muslims kneel in prayer multiple times a day. But these practices tend to be limited to the most devoted followers, and not everyone follows them. Traditionally, modern Witchcraft hasn’t really had any guidelines for daily practice, and people often have trouble coming up with something on their own. I’d been trying for years to integrate some form of daily practice into my spiritual path when I came across a wonderful book called The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition by Dianne Sylvan. The author advocated a commonsense approach to finding the daily practice that was right for you, and reading her book made me take a new look at what I’d been doing. Mostly, my mistake had been of the “square peg, round hole” variety. I’d come up with all sorts of complicated or time-consuming daily practices when what I really needed was something quick and easy. Now I have a few daily practices, all of which help me connect with deity and my own Witchcraft path, and none of which take more than a few minutes to perform. In the morning, before I even get out of bed (often before I open my eyes), I greet the gods and ask them for their assistance through the course of my day.
Here’s what I usually say (and if you want to use this as part of your daily practice, substitute whatever words work for you):
God and Goddess, I greet you at the start of another day and ask that you send me the best day possible. Help me to feel my best so I might do my best for myself and for others. Send me the strength and energy to do the things I need to do, and the focus and creativity to do them well. Help me to let go of all those things that no longer work for my benefit so I might move in the direction of perfect health and perfect balance. Please send me prosperity and healing, patience and wisdom, serenity and faith.* Guide me as I walk the path of the author; help me to write rapidly, easily, and well, and let my words please those who read them. Keep my cats healthy and safe, help the world move in a better direction, and watch over me and those I love. So mote it be. * The things I ask for vary from day to day, depending on what is going on in my life. For instance, if I have an important event, I might ask for it to go well. If I am going to get some sort of healing work done, like visiting the acupuncturist or chiropractor, I might ask for the work to be helpful and long lasting. Obviously, you would tailor this to whatever works best for you. After I have turned off the light at night, I always say thank you to the gods for my day. There are some things I always thank them for, and then I add the people and events that have been particularly important that day. I often give thanks for stuff that might seem unpleasant or negative if I feel as though I have learned something from it or if I think something good might come from it down the road. (For instance, when someone rear-ended my brand-new car, I gave thanks that the damage was minimal, no one was hurt, and that the first boo-boo was out of the way without it being my fault!) Remember that you can change the words to suit your own needs, and that there are always different things to give thanks for. The important part of doing this as a part of your daily ritual is that not only does it show the gods that you are taking an attitude of gratitude (always a good thing, in my opinion), but it also forces you to find something about your day to be grateful for, no matter how small it is. I am always surprised to find that there is more to say thank you for than I would have expected. Here is an example of what I might say last thing at night: Great Goddess, Great God, I come before you at the end of another day and thank you for the many blessings in my life. For friends and family and cats, for home and health and good food. I thank you for (the names of whichever people crossed my path that day in meaningful ways) and for (whatever good things happened or whichever not-so-great things they helped me survive). Please help me to get a good night’s sleep so I might wake in the morning refreshed and energized and ready to face another day. Watch over me and those I love. So mote it be. There are a few other things that I try to do daily, including meditation, some form of mindful exercise, and lighting a candle and saying a spell or a prayer. I don’t always manage it, though. What I do always manage is to find a minute to appreciate nature, whether it is a beautiful sunrise, the mist rising off the meadow next to my house, the song of the birds outside my window, or the sound of the rain. Those things only take a moment, and they lift my heart every time. These, too, are ways to practice Witchcraft, since we are a nature-based religion. Here are some suggestions for easy, fast ways to integrate a daily practice into your life. Choose the ones that work best for you, and create your own personal daily rituals. Start the Day You don’t have to use my approach to starting the day; there are plenty of other ways to begin a new day with a spiritual touch.
• Greet the Goddess and/or God in your own way. Or say: Lord and Lady, I greet thee. Bless my path on this new day, and watch over me as I walk it to the best of my ability. • Greet the dawn or the new sun. Use your own words or say: I greet you, new day! I greet the dawn! I greet the sun! I greet the earth below and the sky above! Blessings upon the day!
• Light a candle each morning on an altar. (If you will be leaving the house to go to work, you might want to light the candle, say something, then snuff it out right away so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it.) You can say whatever words are in your heart that morning or use one of the greetings above. Or you can say this: With this light, I greet the new day. (See? It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.)
• Ask the gods or the universe for help with any issues you might be having. You can say something like this: At the start of this new day, I ask for help with ________________ and vow to do my very best with what I am given.
• Take a moment of silence to listen to the world around you before diving into the noise and bustle of the day. Listen to the sounds inside your home: maybe people or animals stirring, maybe just the ticking of a clock…maybe nothing at all, which is a gift in and of itself. Listen to the sounds from outside: birds, the wind, rain, the sound of traffic or people going by. Feel the connection you have with the rest of the world, and give yourself that moment to be quiet before diving into your busy day. If you want, say a few words to the gods—they can hear you even when you don’t speak out loud. (This is an especially good daily routine for those who can’t practice openly.)
• Read an affirmation or an inspiring passage, either from a book or from something you have written down ahead of time. (Multiple lists of books can be found at the end of this book, or use your own favorites.)
• Write in a journal. Taking a few moments to be present with your own thoughts, and writing down your hopes and dreams, can be a helpful part of a spiritual journey.
• Take a walk outside and commune with nature. There is nothing like connecting with the gods and the world outside by taking a morning walk, especially if you are lucky enough to have someplace quiet and peaceful to do so, like a park or a country road. Maybe leave the music at home and simply listen to the sounds around you. As a bonus, you get exercise, too!
To me, one of the most important components of a Pagan path is connection: connection with the gods, with nature, with each other, with our own inner voices. If you can start your day off by making that connection, it is like giving a gift to your spiritual self!
Reprinted with permission by Llewellyn
Purchase this book online at: http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738742182
In the Company of Sages
by Greg Bogart
Choosing a Teacher
Finding the Lineage and Qualities that Speak to Your Path
Meeting a teacher can impact us so powerfully that we’re seized by a desire to change our lives and embrace the quest for mystical realization. When Rumi, a highly respected scholar, met his teacher Shams of Tabriz, Shams took a book Rumi was writing about philosophy and threw it into a well. Rumi became an ecstatic devotee of Shams and abandoned all else, including scholarship and family responsibilities. After finding a teacher a person may begin to undergo a noticeable transformation and change of habits and lifestyle. One may experience deeper meditations or feel a blissful energy or an opening of the heart, the kindling of an inner fire. Rumi said:
What draws Friends together
does not conform to Laws of Nature.
Form doesn’t know about spiritual closeness. . . .
A hand shifts our birdcages around.
Some are brought closer. Some move apart.
Do not try to reason it out. Be conscious
of who draws you and who not.
A common experience after meeting a teacher is for everything in our lives to fall apart. In the Koran it is said, “I am with those whose hearts are broken for My sake.” Old interests fall away, and old friendships become less compelling as a seeker turns toward the path of spiritual awakening. The disciples of the Indian guru Ramakrishna underwent a profound transformation as a result of their contact with their saintly master. Many were filled with a feverish devotion and burning for enlightenment. Many of them renounced worldly life soon after Ramakrishna’s death and became monks committed to pursuing Self-realization.
We accept a teacher who inspires us to attain the enlightened state through meditation, yoga, and other consciousness-enhancing practices. In deep meditation, the mind quiets down and awareness turns inward, becoming self-reflective, becoming aware of itself as awareness. The diligent practitioner experiences the growth of tranquility, contentment, and wisdom. In Buddhist terms, meditation reveals our dharmakaya nature–the truth body, the pure mind, like a clear mirror. In the Hindu tradition this is known as realization of the Self or Atman, which is one with Brahman, the Absolute.
We need a teacher not only to teach us techniques and doctrine but also to embody the enlightened state, so that we can recognize it in ourselves and attain it. We may also choose a teacher to learn a particular method such as meditation, yoga, or shamanic journeying. Even in cases where a teacher isn’t a fully enlightened Buddha, sage, or siddha guru, we could still grow by studying with that person for a period of time–if the teacher seems clear and balanced and we feel confident that this person can guide us effectively through a stage of our transformation. It’s enough that the teacher embodies a quality of freedom that we wish to emulate.
Teachers appear in many guises. When I met my hatha yoga teacher, Allan Bateman, in 1979, I found that he was quite an unusual individual. Self-taught in yoga, Allan looked like a muscle-bound jock. He moved around his studio in a bikini, sang opera arias, and held in the palm of his hand an enormous cat named Godzilla, who lay on his back stretching out his paws in a magnificent backbend, in full spinal extension. Allan bragged modestly about this and that, and talked about his cattle ranch upstate where he had a herd of Beefalo. I learned so much yoga from this man, I didn’t care if he was some great pundit or intellectual. He wasn’t trying to be saintly. He used his body in his teaching. He was very graceful and respectful and supportive of intelligent movement. He was a free and sexy guy, very confident, and a positive male role model.
John Welwood, author of Awakening the Heart, notes, “Since genuine spiritual teachers come in many different shapes and forms, we’ll no doubt fail if we try to spell out how a good guru should behave.” David Frawley, founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies, echoes this view, saying, “Great gurus may be saints with impeccable characters and lifestyles. However, they may also look like madmen and refuse to conform to any social norms. Society may consider them scoundrels.” We shouldn’t accept a teacher just because everybody else says this is an enlightened sage; nor should we immediately reject all teachers who don’t conform to our expectations or conceptions of holiness. The teacher doesn’t have to be famous, or an impoverished ascetic, or surrounded by important disciples. What’s important is that the teacher’s personal example inspires us, the teacher’s words speak to us deeply, and the teacher’s presence affects us intensely. The guide shows us glimpses of the goal of the spiritual journey, as well as a path we can follow to reach this goal.
In this book we’ll consider how spiritual teachers have been described in a number of world religions. From the insights derived from these traditions, we’ll reach a number of conclusions:
1. Spiritual apprenticeship begins with a personal relationship with a teacher who tangibly affects our awareness and inspires us to practice a contemplative discipline in order to attain enlightenment.
2. Initiation connects the student to the influence of a spiritual lineage that transcends the individual teacher.
3. The student-teacher relationship involves the mutual meditation of the student and teacher upon one another, and may entail the deliberate cultivation of a form of psychic merger or unity that can have a transformative effect upon the student.
4. The relationship may involve experiences of grace in which the teacher functions as a conduit for transmission of transpersonal forces.
When choosing a guide, proceed with care. It’s important to take sufficient time to examine the teacher’s character and note any internal changes that occur as a result of contact with this being. A powerful inner shift of consciousness after meeting a teacher signals us to seek further contact and instruction.Author bio:
Greg Bogart, Ph.D., MFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a lecturer in psychology at Sonoma State University, a teacher at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the author of numerous books on astrology, dreams, yoga, and spiritual depth psychology.