Chakras and the Kundalini

chakras

Many mystics and yogis have written and taught about chakras and the rising of the kundalini. Bringing the energy to the crown of the head is the physical counterpart to achieving enlightenment. There are many approaches to awakening and raising the kundalini. A French physician and scientist, Dr. Francis Lefebure, even designed a device called a Gyrascope that would “awaken” the kundalini when used for about an hour a day. As the kundalini moves upward, the energy flows through seven major energy centers called chakras. There are seven major chakras, but there may be many more energy centers in the … Continue reading

Science to Passion with Chanting

I was taking a swing dance class a few years ago and repeating the same spins over and over for a full hour.  Suddenly I felt a rushing sense like a fire ignited at the base of my spine, filling my pelvis and beginning to move upwards. I had never experienced that kind of thing before but I knew it had something to do with the kundalini. I had no clue what would happen next. I was panicked about being in a public place. “No!” I thought, “Not here! Not now!” Suddenly the experience was over. I walked to the … Continue reading

Face Yoga Challenge

I’ve just signed up for a 30 Day Face Yoga challenge with Fumiko Takatsu. I rarely sign up for that kind of stuff because. I’m usually motivated to create my own programs and schedules for everything: my work and exercise and my ongoing experiments with health food diets and meditation and all of the other things I am trying to pursue simultaneously. So I haven’t always felt that I needed someone else’s program or challenge to get me going. But something has changed. I’ve heard that you are either basically and introvert or an extrovert for life. I was clearly … Continue reading

Creativity, Art & Passion

There is nothing as amazing as the process of creation–be that a child, a home, a relationship or a piece of art. An art studio is a laboratory for the heart, mind and soul. I choose to work in a flowing style with highly liquid paint because this increases the number of variables and therefore the level of excitement and creative chaos in my experiments. The fluidity of the medium and the resulting artistic decisions that I am forced to make quickly over the space of days or a week as a painting develops will never happen again. Every piece … Continue reading

The Positive Effects of Chanting

kirtan chanting

The effects of chanting can be a positive influence on the body and mind. When vowels and consonants are put together, chanting emphasizing certain sounds can be constructed to have unique effects on the singer. Mantras that may actually be formulated to influence various body systems. For example, the combination “aha” (A HA!) stimulates the hormonal system to improve the functioning of the body. Interestingly, this ejaculation is used in English when a sudden solution or insight is gained: Indeed! I got it! Certainly! Definitely! That’s it! The effect of using “a ha!” is similar to laughter therapy and relieves stress and depression. The … Continue reading

Color Therapy

color harmony

Color therapy is the use of specific colors to heal the mind and body. There are many systems that suggest particular colors as supportive for the functioning of processes and organs within the human body. These include color acupuncture (shining colored lights on acupuncture points and meridians), color breathing (color visualization combined with breathing exercises), color bathing and many other approaches. Color has a wide range of applications in interior design, clothing, artwork, and the wider environment. Color psychology and color science have come to the fore in philosophies such as feng shui and in the competitive world of marketing and design. The … Continue reading

Chanting Around the World

Chanting, group song, and devotional singing has been a part of every world culture and religion for uncounted ages. In Catholicism, the Mass was chanted for hundreds of years in Latin. The text for Jewish rituals were sung by the rabbi. Muslims as well as many others chant aloud daily. As it turns out, group singing may be a better cure for depression than therapy or medication. (Learn more in the Time magazine article Singing Changes Your Brain.) Jewish mystics also practiced melodic vocalizations without words and recognized the power in the emotional element of sung versus spoken words. Kabbalists … Continue reading

Campfire Kirtan Initiation

campfire kirtan

For over a year now I’ve had this idealized vision of having campfire kirtan with friends. The idea of singing bhajans and chants in front of a campfire out in nature with the summer sun setting on the horizon has been a tantalizing daydream. In my imagination, the sounds of birds and crickets would blend seamlessly with the droning chords of the harmonium and the soothing strum of a guitar while we poured out our hearts in gratitude to the Source of all life. Wow! My opportunity for this blissful experience came last weekend. We had had several friends over … Continue reading

Islamic Mysticism

The aim of Islamic mysticism is to understand the mystery of divine creation and to understand man’s relationship with God in order to better enact His will on Earth. The goal of a Sufi is to return to the primordial state of the human being in which the human will is one with the will of God and all action is an expression of the love of God. Some Sufi practices include recitation of the names of God, meditation on a visualization of the name Allah written on the heart, and devotion to Muhammad. Muhammad is seen by Sufis as the … Continue reading

Neoplatonism and Mysticism

The term neoplatonism refers to a school of thought that was founded by Plotinus, a Greek philosopher who lived from 204—270 C.E. During this period cultures that had not had much contact with each other were for the first time studying and responding to each other’s sacred texts and philosophies. Gnostic, Jewish, Christian, and pagan philosophers all debated and interpreted the philosophy of Plato, attempting to reconcile their own belief systems with the cosmology it presented. Neoplatonism is known for synthesizing aspects of the speculations of these various faiths into a single cosmology. In neoplatonism, the universe can be divided … Continue reading