The Accidental Shaman
Excerpt – 5
“The soul is not in the body, but the body in the soul.” –Alan Watts
For thousands of years the most prodigious philosophers, sages, and theologians have attempted to define what the soul is. More than two thousand years ago, Aristotle in his book De Anima (On the Soul) acknowledged that this is one of the most challenging enigmas for a philosopher to master. In Greek the word for soul is psyche, and this term in contemporary usage has varying interpretations; it is worth noting that the term psychology literally means “study of the soul.” To provide a working definition of soul in a healing and transformative context I refer to it as life force. This is the life force that animates our physical life on Earth. Soul is metaphorically in the body, in our guts. It responds to life, to rhythm, the joy of life, music. The purpose of soul retrieval is to have as much of our life force as possible in order to live this life to the greatest degree that we can as human beings. My subjective vision of the soul or life force is of a bio-geometric structure that contains our memories, our emotions, and our experiences from our very beginning in the physical world–the moment of our conception. I usually describe the soul using a metaphor of a three dimensional tapestry consisting of threads, fibers, and filaments. Each thread is a discrete element, a story or an experience that stretches back in time. In addition these threads form part of a larger geometric structure of our parents and personal ancestry that also stretches back in time and is part of a larger more encompassing structure and so on. Soul retrieval is one of the most effective and well-known practices to restore lost life force. The loss of life force is known as soul loss, and this can take place when we suffer a trauma—an accident, separation from a partner, the death of a loved one–or go through a pervasive period of difficult circumstances. When we undergo a severe trauma typically a part of our life force goes away, so that we can survive whatever is happening to us. It is a way for the body and consciousness to survive severe trauma. But problems develop when the soul part or fragment does not return. Shamanism does not dwell on past events; there is only this great moment of now where there is no separate past, present, or future. It is possible for a practitioner to journey and move outside of linear time to go to the place where that traumatic event is still occurring for a person and to locate and restore that person’s life force, which has been held in that energetic event. When this restoration has been carried out, the deep healing can truly begin. The concept that the threads contained in our individual soul connect to larger structures or fields of consciousness is shown in the following story. Helga, a German woman in her early thirties, came to see me with severe asthma, which she had suffered with most of her life. I must point out that her intention was purely for relief of the asthma and not any soul retrieval or related work. As I made my initial energetic connection to her, I felt this overpowering sense of smothering, oppression, and choking. The feeling was so strong that it didn’t seem possible that it came from her. I started to energetically move through the layers of her soul-tapestry, and as I followed the thread I entered Germany during the Nazi era. I saw the Swastikas, and I could hear the voices and marching music of that time. Although this was unexpected, I have learned through experience to trust my vision and intuition, after all I was following the thread of her asthma. I suggested that I take a shamanic journey to explore the source of her asthma. She agreed, and I started to journey. At my initial “conference” with the Spirit guides they issued me a gas mask. Again, this was unexpected, but I put it on. I came into a town where the atmosphere was filled with thick, yellowish, pungent fumes. I walked around this town covered in this thick yellowish fog, and then felt a “pull,” a kind of magnetic attraction to enter a particular house. I entered the house and down below in the cellar I found Helga as a young girl of about eight or nine. She was sitting against a wall, with her knees drawn to her chest in great fear and anxiety. I gently approached her and told her who I was and why I was there, which was to rescue her, to take her out of this place and bring her home to her future self. I brought her back. In that reality she was a little girl and in the physical reality the little girl became energy or life force. I blew the returned soul part into the woman’s chest, at which she experienced an enormous shudder, followed by very deep breathing at the return and union of her life forces. Helga’s immediate response was that she felt energized, clearer, and just lighter in her body, and no longer had the feeling of being crushed in her chest. Once she had rested, we spoke again, and she told me that in the town where she was born there was a factory where the poisonous Zyklon B gas used in the Nazi extermination camps had been manufactured. She emphasized that “although everybody knew this, no one ever talked about it.” So this young woman who was not even alive at the time of the war had suffered what I can only describe as an existential trauma–a collective soul wound. Her lifelong breathing predicament–manifested as asthma–connected directly to the figuratively speaking poisoned atmosphere that resulted from the unspoken conspiracy to conceal this dark secret.
Author bio: Howard G. Charing is a director of the Eagle Wing’s Centre for Contemporary Shamanism and has taught at Dr. Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies. He holds workshops internationally and in addition runs Plant Medicine Retreats in the Peruvian Amazon. He lives in England and Peru.
The Accidental Shaman by Howard Charing © 2017 Destiny Books. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. HYPERLINK “http://www.InnerTraditions.com” www.InnerTraditions.com
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Interview with Judith Orloff, MD:
The Empath’s Survival Guide
By Laurie Sue Brockway
The Empath’s Survival Guide is a new book that offers life strategies for sensitive people who need help staying centered and hopeful in a sometimes difficult world. It also shows us how to hone our gift of empathy to make the world a better place.
No one knows the joys and challenges of being an empath better than Judith Orloff, MD.
She was born with second sight, into a family of 25 physicians and several generations of healers. She struggled in her early life to find a way to cope with and then finally embraced her gift of intuition. Her journey led her to devote her life to helping others.
Her latest book, The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, is a guide for a wide range of empaths and all sensitive people who struggle with managing the gifts—intuition, creativity, and spiritual connection–with challenges that overwhelm them. The book also offers a much-needed acknowledgment that empaths are not imagining the things they feel and sense.
As Dr. Orloff explains, “We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.”
An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, she synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality to achieve physical and emotional healing. Her bestselling books, The Power of Surrender, Emotional Freedom, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing offer readers practical strategies to overcome frustration, stress, and worry.
We spoke with Dr. Orloff about The Empath’s Survival Guide and she shared wonderful insights.
So many people have been told “you’re too emotional” or “too sensitive” and they grow up feeling like there’s something wrong with them. Is it your experience that many of these people are empaths?
Absolutely! I wrote The Empath’s Survival Guide to legitimize the gift of sensitivity and teach sensitive people of all kinds to protect their energy so that they can thrive. As an empath I know how demoralizing it feels to be labeled as “overly sensitive” or told “Honey, you have to get a thicker skin” by parents and society, as if we were some kind of weaklings who just need to “steel up.” The opposite is true. I believe that empathy is the human trait that will help all of us to save the world. Everyone who is an empath or who simply wants to lead a more heart-centered life in an often insensitive world can benefit from learning skills to protect their gift of empathy.
What are some of the common hallmarks of an empath?
Empaths are sponges who absorb the emotions and physical symptoms of others. They don’t have the usual defenses that other people have to filter out noise, light, sound, intense emotions or stress. So empaths often end up taking on other people’s stress in their bodies–and they feel exhausted, anxious, depressed or sick. As a psychiatrist, I’ve worked with many empaths who come to me totally worn out and misdiagnosed by mainstream medicine as being hypochondriacs, neurotic or with some “disorder” that requires antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. With the empaths in my private practice, I always begin with teaching them how to avoid absorbing other people’s energy so they can feel stronger and more grounded within themselves. The upside of being and empath—and there are many– is that empaths have depth, intuition, deep compassion, deep spirituality and are passionate lovers and mates. As an empath, I would never give up my sensitivities for the world. They let me know the secrets of the universe because I can feel the energy of all things.
What is the difference between an empath and a Highly Sensitive Person?
Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) have all the sensory components of extreme sensitivity such as sensitivity to light, sound, touch, crowds but empaths actually absorb emotions/energy/stress /physical symptoms from other people. As a result, empaths can become exhausted or ill and not know why. They are emotional sponges! Empaths also have heightened intuitions. Both highly sensitive people and empaths have very action mirror neurons to increase our compassion.
Can you share some of the gifts of being an empath?
I cherish being an empath and I’m grateful for the blessings my sensitivities bestow on me each day. I love being intuitive, feeling the flow of energy in the world, reading people, and experiencing the richness of being so open to life and nature. We empaths have many marvelous traits. We have huge hearts and the instinct to help others in need or who are less fortunate. We’re dreamers and idealists. We’re passionate, deep, and creative, in touch with our emotions, compassionate, and can see the big picture. We can appreciate other’s feelings and become loyal friends and mates. We’re intuitive, spiritual, and can sense energy. We have a special appreciation for the natural world and feel at home there. We resonate with nature, plants, forests, and gardens. We often love water. Whether we are soaking in the womb of warm water in a bath or living by the ocean or a river, it energizes us. We may feel special intuitive bonds with our animal companions and become involved with animal rescue or animal communication.
What is the biggest challenge for empaths in intimate relationships?
Empaths have different requires in a relationship for it to work. Empaths need a lot of alone time. They sometimes need separate beds or even bedrooms. Empaths get overstimulated with “too much togetherness” and need to authentically communicate this to their partners. Empaths are often unconsciously attracted to “unavailable people” who don’t let them come close enough to have all their fears of intimacy arise. It’s possible to have loving, healthy relationships if empaths can define and express their special needs.
What exactly is emotional contagion? And how does it impact the empathic person?
Research has shown that we actually “catch” other people’s emotions and empaths are more prone to doing this because of their high sensitivities and openness. Research has shown that many people pick up the emotions of those around them. For instance, one crying infant will set off a wave of crying in a hospital ward. Or one person loudly expressing anxiety in the workplace can spread it to other workers. People commonly catch other people’s feelings in groups. A recent New York Times article stated that this ability to synchronize moods with others is crucial for good relationships. What is the lesson for empaths? To choose positive people in our lives so we’re not brought down by negativity. Or, if, say a friend is going through a hard time, take special precautions to ground and center yourself. These are important strategies you’ll learn in this book.
An old cliché is that woman is more sensitive than men. Does gender play a role when it comes to being and empath?
I have a Facebook empath support community with over 6000 people and most of them are women! Women tend to be more open in expressing their emotions, and take on a lot of stress and get drained. Men are also empaths (of course!) but sensitive boys have often been shamed by their sensitivities so they shut them off as adults. I embrace sensitive men, and urge them to come out of the empath closet and shine!
Do empaths have to be especially careful about exposing themselves to negative news coverage and social media?
Because empaths have such big hearts, they often hurt very deeply too. For all my empath patients, I suggest limiting their exposure to the news so they don’t start absorbing the suffering of the world. This doesn’t mean that we don’t keep informed. It means we get the basics and don’t allow sensitive selves to be demolished by the massive suffering. I also recommend news and technology fasts so that empaths can regenerate themselves in nature or during quiet time.
What is the neuroscience behind being an empath?
In the book, I discuss five intriguing research findings. Empaths may have hyperactive mirror neuron systems which heighten our compassion for loved ones and fellow humankind. Other findings include the possibility that empaths are reading the information in other people’s electromagnetic fields (such as those around the heart and brain.) Also how we process dopamine, the pleasure hormone, is a factor. Empaths don’t require as much dopamine stimulation to be happy– but extroverted people who aren’t empaths do. They can’t get enough of parties, and high stimulation events—whereas empaths love their alone time and quiet meditation—they need a lower amount of dopamine input to be content.
What is empathy so important in our world today?
Empathy will help us know what it’s like to be in other people’s shoes. It will foster compassion in a divided world. It will help our families and world come together in harmony. We all desperately need to develop and practice more empathy to bring our troubled planet together. Empathy is the most important quality we need in our world today!
Click to get your copy of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.
To learn more about the power of empathy, Dr. Orloff’s book tour schedule, and to sign up for her Empath Support Newsletter visit www.drjudithorloff.com.
9 Self-Protection Strategies for Empaths and Sensitive People
Combat Toxic Energy and Stop Taking on Other People’s Stress
By Judith Orloff, MD
Empaths are emotional sponges who absorb other peoples’ stress into their own bodies. As an empath myself I know how exhausting this can be. Here are some basic strategies for empaths and all people battling with low energy from my new book, The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. I practice these strategies in my life and teach them to my patients and workshop participants— and you can turn to these techniques if you’re absorbing the stress or symptoms of others and you need ways to release them. Experiment. See which ones work best for you. Use them in situations where you are feeling ill or upset and suspect you’re taking on someone else’s physical or emotional distress.
1. Ask yourself, “Is this symptom or emotion mine or someone else’s?
A tip-off that you’re absorbing someone’s energy is to notice if you experience a sudden
change of mood or physical state around that person. Most likely, if you didn’t feel anxious,
depressed, exhausted, or sick before, the discomfort is at least partially coming from him or her.
If you move away and the discomfort dissipates, it is definitely not yours! Sometimes, though, the emotion or symptom may be both yours and another person’s. Feelings are catchy, especially if they relate to a hot button issue for you. You are more prone to take on the emotional or physical pain that you haven’t worked out in yourself. The more you heal issues that trigger you, the less likely you’ll be to absorb emotions from others.
2. Breathe and repeat this mantra to counter negative energy
When negativity strikes, immediately focus on your breath for a few minutes. Slowly
and deeply, inhale and exhale to expel the uncomfortable energy. Breathing circulates negativity
out of your body. Holding your breath or breathing shallowly keeps negativity stuck within you.
As you breathe, I suggest firmly repeating aloud this mantra three times in a tone that conveys
you mean what you’re saying: Return to sender, return to sender, return to sender. The power of your voice can command the discomfort out of your body. Your breath is the vehicle that transports it back to the universe.
Also, while saying this mantra, you can specifically breathe toxic energy out of your
lumbar spine in your lower back. The spaces between the lumbar vertebrae are conducive to
acting as channels for eliminating unhealthy energy. Visualize the discomfort exiting through these spaces in your spine. Declare, “I release you” as it leaves your body and blends with the
giant energy matrix of life.
3. Step away from what’s disturbing you
Move at least twenty feet from the suspected source. See if you feel relief. Don’t worry about offending strangers. In a doctor’s office, movie, or other public place, don’t hesitate to change seats. If you’re sitting next to a noisy group in a restaurant, you don’t have to stay there and feel uncomfortable. Feel free to move to a more peaceful table. It’s fine to lovingly say “No,” to certain energies. Giving yourself permission to move is an act of self-care. Empaths often find themselves in overwhelming social situations. If that happens to you, be sure to take breaks to replenish yourself. Then, if you want to return to the gathering you can be in a more serene place.
4. Limit physical contact. Hugs are a choice!
Energy transfers through the eyes and touch. If you’re uncomfortable with someone, limit eye contact and touch, including hugs and hand-holding. Though hugging a loved one in distress
often benefits you both, if you are wary of taking on their stress, make the hug short. You can
keep sending them love from a distance. You have a choice about the kind of physical contact you participate in.
5. Detox in water
A quick way to dissolve stress and empathic pains is to immerse yourself in water. Empaths love water! Epsom salt baths are divine and also provide magnesium which is calming.
You might want to add a little lavender essential oil to your bath—it is calming after a long day. The perfect empath getaway is soaking in natural mineral springs that purify all that ails you.
6. Set limits and boundaries
There’s no way around it. To survive and thrive, you need to set limits with people. If someone is draining, don’t be a doormat. Control how much time you spend listening to the person. “No,” is a complete sentence! It’s okay to tell someone, “I’m sorry, I’m not up for going to a party tonight,” or “Let’s discuss this when you’re calmer. I can’t tolerate yelling,” or “I need to meditate and be quiet right now,” or “I can’t talk more than a few minutes unless you want to
discuss solutions.” Sometimes changing communication patterns with friends is a retraining
process, but being consistent with setting kind but firm limits will protect you from energy vampires.
7. Create alone time to regroup
Empaths need alone time to reconnect with their power. If you’ve picked up unwanted
energy, be sure to take some alone time to center yourself. For a few minutes or more, quiet
everything. No noise, bright lights, phone calls, texts, emails, internet, television, or conversations. It’s sometimes important to just feel your own energy without anyone else
around. You are being your own best friend which is a way to nurture yourself. By decreasing
external stimulation, it’s also easier to clear negativity.
8. Spend time in nature and practice ‘Earthing’
Empaths love nature and feel at ease there. Being in a fresh, clean, green environment or around water clears negativity. The Earth emanates healing. Try lying in a meadow and soaking up its energy in your entire body. This feels sublime! Earthing means going barefoot and feeling
the earth’s power through your feet. To shed other people’s energy, feel the grass between your bare toes, walk in the sand or the soil. Sense the nurturing medicine of the earth coming through your feet to ground you—a beautiful experience.
9. Take breaks from being online
You need regular time-out from technology that inundates you with too much information. Online media that triggers your emotions—such as Facebook groups, Instagram, violent news feeds—can impair your ability to fall sleep. It’s easy to pick up energy in the virtual world, so make sure you spend time in nature, meditating, or participating in other off-line activities that restore you. A complete technology-fast once in a while will do wonders for your sense of well-being.
Excerpted with permission from The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, April 4, 2017). © Judith Orloff, MD. All rights reserved. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, a NY Times best-selling author and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. To learn more about the power of empathy, Dr. Orloff’s book tour schedule, and to sign up for her Empath Support Newsletter visit www.drjudithorloff.com
A Brand New Day:
An Interview with Jorge Luis Delgado
by Corinne L. Casazza
Jorge Luis Delgado is an indigenous Inca, shaman, healer and mystic with a great gift for expressing the wisdom and knowledge of his Peruvian spiritual heritage in practical, straight-forward terms. He is leading the Spring Equinox ceremony which includes a despacho at the Self-Empowered Wisdom conference in Sedona on March 20, 2017. The Inca call this time on earth, Pachakuti – the new sun rise, the return to the light after 500 years of darkness. The energies of mystical Peru are deepening, according to Delgado and we can release resistance when we’re there. It’s imperative to release our resistance so we can step into the light of who we truly are.
“All these power places really help to release the resistance for us, but what is resistance?” asks Delgado. “Resistance is heavy energies from the past. One of the strongest blockages we have in our lives is our past. We believe that the past, our history, is who we are, but it’s just an experience.” Delgado believes our tendency to carry our past with us creates resistance. He feels the more we bring our past forward the more resistance we create – our minds are great at reinforcing our resistance to keep us from remembering who we truly are.
“One of the biggest challenges is to really to love the past. When we love ourselves, we must love all our experiences, even the shadow part of ourselves. Being able to love these heavy energies and not have any attachment to them is when we can let them go. It’s so important to release the resistance so we can become aware that we have great powers like love and wisdom – the birth rights that bring us into the consciousness for the new cycle, the new day.”
Delgado reminds us that we always have the choice between fear and love. “Fear is really the disease of humanity. All we are doing, the direction we’ve been taking with our consciousness is really the fear direction. We’ve been under the control of it, but now in this new cycle we start to be aware of our fear and also the essence of who we are. When we start to believe we are our history we want to make sure that we don’t repeat it. Whatever decision you made in love will always bring you freedom and joy, but if it’s based in fear, it will bring you suffering.”
As we become aware of our spirituality, as we start to awaken, “we have the powers of ancient wisdom. We always want to share. Sharing allows us to expand. The way to expand our consciousness is by sharing love, service and wisdom.” The most common way we share in our daily lives is through our relationships, so all our relationships are an opportunity to expand who we are; our essence. When we consciously do this, “we are devoted to life, devoted to being a contribution for the evolution of life. Our love expresses in our life. The Inca tradition is not just about the knowledge, it’s about sharing. Love grows by sharing it.”
Our remembrance of who we truly are must include our cosmic origins. “We come from love. We don’t come from fear,” says Delgado. “We come from the profound love of the cosmic father and cosmic mother.” The Incas believe the light that we are is more than just a physical effect. It’s an expression of love, service and wisdom. “We really become the expression of mother earth and the luminosity of the seven rays shines through us, so everybody is like a crystal. Everyone is a ray of sun – that’s the origin of the name ‘Inca.’ Everybody is an Inca.”
In the new day, “we don’t have worry about each other. We just have to love ourselves. This is the most important contribution we can bring in the new day because through the love of ourselves, we can see with clarity who we are, we can experience life as transparency. We can bring warmth to our words to ourselves; to our internal conversations.”
Delgado believes we are multi-dimensional beings and we had forgotten this piece of our ancient wisdom. Peru awakens our multi-dimensionality by helping us let go of our resistance. “Peru is a magical world. Our ancestors found such powerful places. They anchored beautiful dreams in many, many spots. They anchored prayers, they anchored refined energies.” In communion with the spirits of the mountains, the Incas created cities, “where we can have the opportunity to have an explosion inside of us. This explosion is really the explosion of the resistance inside of us. We can flow with our one essence.” The Incas use the land, the power places, “to leave something that doesn’t belong to us – something that we want to release. Always the place awakens the multi-dimensionality we are talking about.”
Once we release our resistance and become aware of our multi-dimensionality, “we start to see that everything is alive, it’s amazing. When we walk in the forest, we can experience that it’s alive. We can see through every eye of an insect, or a bird; we become aware that this being is divinity watching you. We can see from this innocent eye all expression, so we are celebrating life with no reason at all.”
To those who would sojourn with him to Peru, Delgado invites you to his mystical homeland, “Peru is a place to remember,” he says. “A traveler to Peru will say ‘there was my life before Peru and my life after Peru.'”
For more information on Jorge Luis Delgado and the Self-Empowered Wisdom conference, visit stellarproductionslive.com
by Carrie L’Esperance
The Alchemy of Destiny
One definition of Alchemy is the knowledge of how to keep all things in life in creative balance through transmutation. That which we aspire toward must be undertaken with a quiet passion day by day. Willpower and ardent desire to align with Spirit combined with persistence is the starting point of self-mastery. It is important to establish that all things do not contain Spirit. Some things are void of Spirit. No experience that influences us through higher spiritual forces can be harmful. There is a silent and supportive power that aligns with those who do not lose hope in the face of discouragement. Conversely, the presence of destructive emotions will generate a dissonant frequency that destroys one’s sense of justice and fairness if not controlled through the chemistry of the mind. Thought backed by a strong desire tends to transmute itself into its physical equivalent.
ADDICTION TO DISTRACTION
Distraction is a pre-eminent condition of the age that many people struggle with. It is reasonable to enjoy a certain amount of distraction in one’s life. However, addiction to distraction creates an obstruction to the deeper self. It is a form of self-avoidance and a denial of how one is really feeling about life. It is difficult to enjoy a moment of peaceful insight when there is a defending and impenetrable wall of distraction driven by an erratic state of mind. If we cultivate the courage to simply be with the experience, however unpleasant . . . it enhances the clarity and deeper understanding of life’s lessons in a constructive manner. Some people are so accustomed to noise and distraction that the subtle path of the Soul goes unnoticed. It is possible to become addicted to stress and the need to fill each day with methodical busyness and empty moments. Regular peaceful interludes sharpen and balance the mind as well as maintain flexibility in one’s perceptions, so it is imperative to avoid the things that hold you back and waste your life energy. The power of spiritual insight is what gives people strength in challenging times, and even though our thoughts and emotions may become contaminated, we can heal ourselves.
Time, energy, and attention are necessary for learning greater things if we are to escape the shadow of these times and mend our world. When people feel afraid to be alone, they are not connected to their Soul–to who they really are, which is an extraordinary spiritual being creatively expressing in a temporal world. Taking the time to be with the deeper awareness of who we really are and what we are feeling is a form of self-realization. Self-realization establishes what action we must take. Is there something in our awareness that is recurring and attempting to get our attention in the silence beyond the distraction? Without this deeper connection, life tilts toward becoming more chaotic and self-destructive.
When people are afraid to feel, it is because the personal mind is not engaged with the Spiritual Mind. Honoring and implementing our spirituality assists us in surmounting the difficulties and challenges of life. In a material world we can become disillusioned by the overwhelming array of things to do, places to go, and people to see. The hand held digital devices that people are obsessed with, also attempt to capture minds and sway attentions away from the deeper processes of thought. Amidst our distractions can we rescue a world in decline? If our obsession with distraction and technology surpasses our quest for spiritual evolution, the demand for materialistic possessions will be all consuming. How will we balance busyness with quietness and sustained concentration? Will productivity prove to be constructive or destructive? Do our activities propel us toward spiritual advancement or do they hinder our progress? In an increasingly technological society, people are becoming less aware of the interior energies that move them from Light to dark and dark to Light, and so deciphering these energies is an exercise in selfawareness. It is you who is in command of your own thought processes. No one else can do this for you.
When we are aware of weak areas in our thoughts, words, and deeds, it is necessary to conquer all adverse frequencies through strengthening Spiritual Power. The ability to bring forth Divine Principle pays great dividends. Daily deep reflection will help pinpoint adverse emotions and in turn will assist the process of reversing the negative effects. Centering conscious awareness upon one’s deeper spiritual union, thanksgiving, gratitude, and constructive thoughts will support the greater purpose, talents, and journey of the accomplished individual. It takes patience and perseverance to clear the field of consciousness of useless weeds that are difficult to uproot. Yet, when the field of consciousness is reseeded, the indestructible Soul, hidden within the perishable Earthly body sprouts forth, yielding the fruits of more meaningful activities, fulfillment, and the sensation of being profoundly touched deep inside. It is liberation through harmonization of the mental processes with the power of Spirit.
The essence of this harmonization is produced electromagnetically. Thoughts that generate a pulsed electromagnetic field producing electricity or vitality create a magnetic resonance of Light. When the brain’s pulsed frequency matches the tissues and organs of the body, and when they are in resonance, there is an enhancement of molecular action, which is a catalyst for health and wellbeing. Spiritual guidance reveals itself when the individual is open and ready to align with the higher purpose of connecting with it, and the natural flow of communication that manifests through the inner being is enhanced. Conversely, the downward spiral of sickness and disease is also greatly affected by one’s vibratory level. Centering conscious awareness helps to illustrate how the spiral is a living thread that can lead us to different levels of vision and energy. Spiritual attainment has purpose when it is grounded in matter, in who we are, and what we work toward, or away from, in a conscious manner.
Carrie L’Esperance is an artist, writer, certified iridologist, and permaculture designer who offers workshops at a rustic retreat and nature preserve in northern California. The author of The Seasonal Detox Diet, she has spent more than 35 years studying the healing systems of the world’s cultures. She lives in San Francisco.
Soul Breathing: Spiritual Light and the Art of Self-Mastery by Carrie L’Esperance © 2016 Bear & Company. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com
Introducing Pi Gu Chi Kung
Chi produces chi; that is a very important concept to understand. It is producing chi for yourself that enables you to absorb more chi from elsewhere to help yourself. That is the importance of Chi Kung in Pi Gu. Chi will keep the body strong and the digestion working well. Some people try to achieve enlightenment at the cost of their bodies but in the end they achieve neither good physical health nor enlightenment.
Pi Gu is a very old way of fasting. Many thousands of Taoist masters have done Pi Gu for long periods without having a body breakdown, but the length of their Pi Gu fast would have depended on the strength of their chi. That is why Pi Gu is most efficient when used in a spiritual retreat and indeed the chi generated helps the concentration during the retreat. Taoists believe that physical health aids spiritual development and enlightenment. Taoism aims to produce chi through the physical body in order to feed the soul and spirit for spiritual work.
Digestive System Stimulation
It is important that the digestive system work well and we can do some Chi Kung to improve it. Taoists have done this exercise for a few thousand years and we teach this as part of the morning exercise session at Tao Garden. It is also known as Stem Cell Chi Kung as it stimulates stem cell production.
Using a bamboo hitter, our hand, or other hitting tools, we are going to focus on our inner organs and hit them to release toxins. We will be hitting the liver, gallbladder, stomach, spleen, pancreas, and small and large intestines. Your liver and gallbladder are on the right-hand side of your abdomen just below your ribcage. On the left are your stomach and spleen, and a little further down, your pancreas. The small intestines are in the center of your abdomen below the stomach. And your large intestines encircle your small intestines.
1. Stand with your knees slightly flexed, and rub the right-hand side of your abdomen below the ribcage to stimulate your liver and gallbladder. Then breathe into the area, hold your breath, and tap with the hitters at a steady rhythm.
2. Move to your abdomen just below the ribcage on the left to stimulate your spleen and stomach. Once again, rub the area you are working on, breath into it, and hold your breath as you tap with the hitter. Then move down slightly to hit the pancreas. Stimulating these organs will probably make you belch, releasing trapped gases in the digestive system.
3. Repeat: Liver, gallbladder, spleen, stomach; then go down a bit to hit the pancreas. Rest for a little while to allow the chi and blood to flow through these organs. Then warm up the organs by rubbing the surface of the body.
This exercise is very good food for the digestive system itself; you are aiding it to clear itself out so that food can pass on through the small intestines, whose function is to absorb nutrients. If the first part of the digestive system has worked efficiently, the small intestines’ job will go more smoothly. Otherwise we will have a buildup of toxins in that part of the body, too, as there will be too many pieces of food that have not been predigested sufficiently. Valuable nutrients will not be in a condition to be absorbed by the small intestines and so will be lost to the body, going out as waste.
4. Stimulate the stomach and intestines on the interior left abdominal line: Inhale and pull up, spiral, pack, and squeeze energy into the interior left abdominal line. This channel runs parallel to the center line vertically between the ribs and the pubic bone, one and a half inches to the left of the navel. While maintaining the pressure, hit down to the pubic bone and then back up the same line to a point just below the rib cage. Exhale, relax, and absorb the chi.
5. Move a few inches to the left and repeat step 4 on the exterior left abdominal line.
6. Now hit the interior and exterior lines on the right side of the abdomen using the same procedure as in steps 4 and 5 above. Use the left hand to hit as the right hand covers the right kidney, or remains in a fist.
7. Stimulate the small intestine: First, rub around it in a circle. Feel the gut being activated, the blood flowing more freely, and the pockets of trapped gas being released. Breathe into the area, hold the breath, and start hitting from top to bottom.
8. Now move on to the large intestine. First shake the colon with your hand and make it move to stimulate release of matter stuck to the walls. Start with the ascending colon on the lower right-hand side of your abdomen; move up to the transverse colon, which crosses your abdomen from right to left, and then move down the descending colon and sigmoid colon on the left-hand side of your abdomen.
Now tap the colon with your fist in the sequence outlined above.
It is very important to keep the digestive system working; it works because it produces chi and it is the chi that keeps everything going. Refine this chi to create a link between the body, the soul, and the spirit. When the chi is more refined we call it shen, which is the food for the soul and the spirit. That is one of many reasons that Chi Kung is so important in Pi Gu.
Pi Gu Chi Kung by Mantak Chia and Christine Harkness-Giles © 2016 Destiny Books. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com
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From the Psychological World to Quantum Reality Luc Bodin, M.D.
The Shamanic Roots of Ho’oponopono
The new is always inside and never outside, everything is within you, not outside of you. –Gitta Mallasz,
Talking with Angels Shamanism has been practiced on our planet for several millennia. Some claim that shamanism’s origins are to be found in Siberia or Central Asia. But shamanism was practiced widely in Europe as well. The majority of prehistoric caverns were once the site of ceremonies in which shamanic journeys were undertaken regularly. The druids, in their day, were great shamans. In Greece, Plato speaks of holy priests who used techniques that allowed them to travel outside of their bodies. A path of oral transmission, shamanism has vanished from some parts of the world, but it still thrives among certain peoples such as the Mongols, the native peoples of North and South America, and the aborigines of Australia. Shamanism is closely connected to animist thought, which sees all the elements of nature–such as plants, rocks, wind, and rain–as endowed with life force and thus worthy of the highest respect.
The shaman creates the connection between the human world and the world of the spirits. He travels into the world of the invisible in search of the answers to the questions that concern his tribe (Where should we set up our camp? Where should we hunt?) or simply an individual of his community such as questions concerning illness or family relations. The Origins of Ho’oponopono Originally, Ho’oponopono was a ritual used by the peoples of the Hawaiian islands to resolve community problems. This ritual served as a procedure for reconciliation. It consisted of gathering all the members of the tribe together so they could share their problems and conflicts. Once this had been done, each individual asked forgiveness for the inappropriate and even erroneous thoughts they had put out that were the cause of the problem.
In these earlier times, Ho’oponopono was organized by the shamans. It was part of the approach that advocated respect for the “spirits” and was also connected to the divine. From this perspective, the thoughts emitted and actions performed by human beings, if they were the fruits of erroneous memories, could also disrupt the world of the spirits. They also posed a risk of summoning–or creating–troublemaking spirits.
Ho’oponopono was therefore used as a reconciliation technique among members of the village, but it also ensured that the tribe remained in perfect harmony with the world around them, thus earning the good graces of the nature spirits. Modern Ho’oponopono Over time, this ritual became somewhat neglected. It would not be until the late twentieth century when a Hawaiian shaman, Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, revised this ritual to appeal to more modern tastes. She was a kahuna lapa’au, a healer and secret keeper (kahuna means “secret keeper” and lapa’au means “healer”). Morrnah explains: “We are the accumulation of all our experiences, which amounts to saying that we are burdened with our past.” The memory created by each experience is stored in the form of a thought in the etheric body, which is the subtle body closest to the physical body. Inspired by the ancient ritual, she came up with a new protocol that could be practiced alone without the assistance of anyone else.
This method consists of saying the following phrase: “I’m sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you.” This appeals to the divine Higher Power to heal disruptive thoughts and memories. It can therefore be best described as a process of reconciliation with yourself by virtue of love energy. Ho’oponopono tells us that we are the creators of all that surrounds us and by changing our thoughts we are able to make the life we are living harmonious. This is not so very far from the shamanic viewpoint. In fact, the ancestors believed that the erroneous thoughts of individuals had a deleterious effect on the spirits that lived in their close proximity and that these spirits would consequently send them unpleasant situations in return. Conversely, by thinking positively and erasing erroneous memories, these same individuals would restore harmonious relations with the spirits of the invisible world, who would then shower them with their favors.
The Formation of the Human Being Ho’oponopono makes it possible to restore balance between the outside world (visible and invisible) and the inner world. As it happens, what we might call “self identity” is made up of four elements: • unihipili or subconscious mind, which stores the memories of past experiences and emotions; • uhane or conscious mind, which corresponds with our reason and intelligence; • aumalua or higher self (soul), which resides in a higher dimension; • spark or divine intelligence, where inspiration and identity are created.
The ideal state exists when these four parts are equally balanced. It is interesting to note that contemporary medicine is of the same opinion concerning the conscious and the unconscious (it of course has nothing to say about the soul or divine spark), which must be in balance for the mental health of an individual. The purpose of Ho’oponopono is to re-create the equilibrium between the four parts of your identity, so that you may reconnect with your divine spark (or inner God) and recover your inner peace. For Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, peace begins with the self. She went on to say: “We are only here to bring peace into our lives, and if we bring peace into our lives, everything around us will find its proper place, rhythm, and peace.” According to the shamanic vision, Ho’oponopono makes it possible to recover one’s inner and outer equilibrium and restore balance to the self and with the spirits of nature. Human beings are weighed down by their past. When they are feeling stress or fear, they should look within. They will see that the cause of their discomfort comes from an erroneous memory–a fear, value, or belief that simply needs to be cleansed with the words of Ho’oponopono.
Luc Bodin, M.D., specializes in holistic medicine. The author of several health books, he presents workshops and trainings on energy treatments in Europe, Canada, and French Polynesia. Nathalie Bodin Lamboy is a feng shui expert with additional training in energetic and psycho-energetic practices.
Jean Graciet is a practitioner in neuro-linguistic programming and Ericksonian hypnosis and specializes in the study of the meaning of symptoms and diseases. Along with his wife, he teaches workshops on Ho’oponopono. All three authors live in France
The Book of Ho’Oponopono by Jean Graciet, Luc Bodin, M.D., and Nathalie Bodin Lamboy © 2016 Destiny Books. Printed with permission from the publisher Inner Traditions International. www.InnerTraditions.com
Secret Medicines from Your Garden
by Ellen Evert Hopman
Excerpt from Chapter 2
Herbs of Spring
I live in an oak forest in New England. There is very little light here for growing things, so I mostly rely on wildcrafted roots, barks, leaves, flowers, and berries, but I follow a few cautions before I pick.
The first is expressed by an old Native American saying: “Walk by the first seven, leave the eighth for the animals, and you may take the ninth”; always leave enough plants behind to feed the wild creatures and to make seed for next year’s crop
Gather one thousand feet from a roadway: to avoid the pollutants that abound there, such as those from car exhaust and brake linings
Act fast, because Nature doesn’t wait: there is usually just a short window of opportunity for gathering from the wild
Know your herbs: be sure you have a good guide or a teacher to point things out to you, and never pick endangered species in the wild
Every season brings its own moment of opportunity; in the spring there are already an abundance of edibles and medicinals available in fields and forests, for those with the eyes to see and the determination to seek them out.
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
The delicate white flowers of Bloodroot are among the first flowers to appear in woodlands in spring. The roots were once added to tinctures and syrups for lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and fevers. As they are now considered a toxic irritant, a better way to deliver the medicine is to put the tincture or tea of Bloodroot into a vaporizer and inhale the mist. It helps to open the capillaries in cases of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and other lung disorders. Bloodroot, an antiseptic, is used in toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Chicory (Chichorium intybus)
Chichorium intybus is a familiar bright blue wayside flower. Gather the young leaves before the blossoms appear and add them raw to salads or cook them like spinach. The leaves are also used in poultices for inflammations. Later in the season you can sprinkle the open flowers onto salads, open-faced cream cheese sandwiches, and cakes. Try freezing them into ice cubes for festive occasions.
The roots can be gathered from March to May. Sauté the root when fresh or dry it, grind it, and add it to coffee. A tea made from the roots will aid the digestive tract. A tea can also be made of the leaves and flowers (don’t pick after blooming); it will clear mucus, aid in passing gallstones, and improve digestion. Acne, liver problems, eczema, rheumatic complaints, and gout may also benefit from the tea. Tea made from the leaves can also be used as a mouthwash for gum conditions.
To make the tea: simmer one teaspoon chopped root per half cup water for ten minutes or steep one teaspoon herb per half cup water for twenty minutes. Take one tablespoon three times a day in separate doses, in water or milk.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion greens are at their best in the early spring when they first appear. Soak them in cold water with a few tablespoons of sea salt or vinegar added to remove parasites, for about twenty minutes. Then rinse the leaves and eat them mixed into a salad, or cook them like spinach with a little butter, sea salt, and lemon juice. You can also dust them with flour, salt, and pepper and then fry in butter. A classic way to cook Dandelion greens is to sauté them with onion and bacon.
The flowers are used to make Dandelion wine. Add the petals (but not the green sepals, which are too bitter) to salads for a calcium boost.
Dandelion root tea is used for acne and eczema and for liver issues. To make the tea: After soaking the roots in water with vinegar or salt added beforehand to remove parasites, then simmer two teaspoons of root per half cup water for about fifteen minutes. Take up to one cup a day in quarter cup doses.
Forsythia (Forsythia spp.)
Yellow Forsythia flowers are some of the first spring blooms. Add a few to your salad.
Nettles (Urtica spp.)
Nettles are antihistaminic and a nice alternative to allergy medications. Fresh Nettles should be gathered while wearing rubber gloves. Rinse for a few seconds under cold water in the sink and all traces of the “sting” will disappear.
Caution: do not eat Nettles raw.
Nettles can be added to soups, sautéed with other vegetables, folded into omelets, and so on. Try baking Nettles into a pie or adding them to quiche. Delicious!
Nettles can be made into a warming tea. To make the tea: steep three tablespoons chopped Nettles for three to ten minutes in a cup of freshly boiled water.
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
Add the flowers of Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) to salads.
Ellen Evert Hopman has been a teacher of herbalism since 1983 and is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild. A Druidic initiate since 1984, she is a founding member of The Order of the White Oak, an Archdruidess of the Druid Clan of Dana, and a member of the Grey Council of Mages and Sages. The author of several books, including A Druid’s Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, she lives in Massachusetts.
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
Nothing Left Over
by Toinette Lippe
Why Is Giving Attention So Important?
Giving others our complete attention is such a simple thing and yet we rarely remember to do it. Whether the person we are with is dying or living, this is always one of the greatest treasures we can give them.
It is only when you bring all your senses to bear on whatever you plan to do next that you will know how to proceed. We tend to approach most things with preconceived ideas. We carry forward whatever we noticed on earlier occasions in the belief that it will be very useful this time. In fact, there is an unspoken assumption that we do not really need to pay that much attention this time because “we’ve done it before.” But no two situations are exactly the same and such a habit can be very costly. Centuries ago Heraclitus pointed out that you cannot step twice into the same river, and hardly any of us have taken his observation to heart.
The main thing to remember when you are faced with a physical task is that you need to put your full attention at the place where the work is being done. For instance, if you are hammering a nail into the wall, you may think that the place to focus on is the head of the nail. However, the work is actually taking place where the nail is going into the wall, so put your mind at that precise point, while your eyes watch the hammer hit the nail. This will enable the nail to go straight into the wall. If you are trying to unscrew a recalcitrant jar, let your attention rest in the space between the metal and the glass as you twist. You may think that there isn’t any space there, but obviously there must be or the two would be welded together.
In order to see what is going on in any given moment, we need to have our attention out. Instead of being carried along by the flow of events or withdrawing from it, we just stay right here. There is only this moment. This is the only way to appreciate the divine.
We are always anticipating that something better (or worse) is about to happen, but it is as well to keep in mind that wonderful Gahan Wilson cartoon where two men are sitting on cushions in the zendo and have obviously been there for some time. The monk leans over and whispers into the ear of the novice: “Nothing happens next. This is it.”
I don’t quite know how we got it into our heads that whatever is going on right now is probably not that important, but it is a very pervasive view, even though in 1242 Zen Master Dogen observed:
Each day is valuable…. Do not compare it with a dragon’s bright pearl. A dragon’s pearl may be found. But this one day out of a hundred years cannot be retrieved once it is lost.