Chanting is Half the Battle

The old mansion in Chestnut Hills was three stories high, including an attic apartment. There were thirteen rooms for rent. I was in my early twenties and new in town with very little experience living on my own. I responded to an ad, rented a room and started a job in a restaurant downtown. Shortly after settling in, I found a spiritual organization that appealed deeply to me. I began attending regular study groups and services. This particular path was going to be a central influence on my soul’s journey for decades to come. My association with the group was … Continue reading

Practicing for the Cave

I was talking to a friend of mine and suggested that he try giving up sugar for a year. Or maybe give up alcohol for a year. Or coffee. Or maybe he should try some mental deprivation for a year. Like giving up movies for a year. Or giving up reading books for a year. He was less enthusiastic than I had hoped. I call that kind of self-imposed deprivation “practicing for the cave”. What comforts and pleasures do you have in your life that you would not have if meditating in a cave for an extended period of time? … Continue reading

My Prayer for a Predator

I am grateful for all of the recent media attention shedding light on one of the darkest of topics: sexual predators. This focus has caused me to look deep within to continue to find a way for myself that goes beyond forgiveness towards prayer for the predator as well as those who suffer at their hands. As a victim of sexual abuse by a Catholic priest as a young teenager and later as the victim of rape by a health practitioner, I feel a kinship with all who have been terrified, molested or raped by anyone in a position of … Continue reading

Base Chakra: Safety and Security

base chakra

The base chakra or root chakra is known as the Muludhara. This is the chakra of safety and security. “Mula” means root and “adhara” means base or support. This chakra is at the base of the spine and establishes your connection to your physical body, the earth, and the environment. This is the survival center, symbolized by a lotus with four petals. The central square represents the earth. The base chakra is often associated with the color red, but in a higher form is the white energy of the Mother light. The petals represent the Sanskrit letters va (vuh), scha (schew), sha … Continue reading

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

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

This Digital Life

There are some significant merits to the idea that life is all a video game. It does make sense in many ways and alleviates some of the angst of life. It helps to have the perspective that none of this is real. Maybe it’s just a dream that God has set up so that we can explore life and learn without lasting harm. If people think that God would REALLY set up a situation where people starve to death and there would be endless wars and abandoned children and diseases and all that, then no wonder they hate Him! If it’s just a … Continue reading

The Benefit of Stray Thoughts

Meditation is often touted as a way to focus the mind and get rid of mental restlessness and stray thoughts. I’m not sure there is such a thing as a stray thought. The first time I really tried to mediate several years ago, I lay down on the floor and tried to clear my mind. Laying on the floor is not a proper position for meditation, I know, but it was the one where I could be the most comfortable and not be distracted by physical pain on top of everything else. A scene from a movie came to mind … Continue reading

The Spiritual Power of Hair

Rumors are that during the Vietnam War, American Indian scouts known for their incredible tracking abilities were recruited by the US military. Once they were sent through boot camp, their abilities were critically diminished. In an effort to discover why they could no longer sense the enemy or prepare for danger, investigators eventually narrowed their research down to their need for long hair as a sensing device. Apparently hair is not just for endless primping and fashion. Human hair may function similarly to cat whiskers, a type of feeler or antennae that transmits information to the limbic system, brainstem and … Continue reading