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

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

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

Discipline Meets Love

Perhaps one of the dangers of the spiritual discipline of the eastern or yogic path as compared with a western or Christian path is that the yogi may come to believe that it is through his own efforts at meditation and other spiritual practices that he has attained mastery. Many Christians probably err on the side of believing that Jesus did everything for them already–that He already attained their salvation for them. This is positive in the sense that it engenders humility but negative if it engenders laziness and entitlement. Ultimately, I would think the gift of grace must be present with … Continue reading

Temple of Power

Two of my sons have recently gotten pretty serious about body building. One of them sent me a link for a website that they use to get workout ideas and instruction. There was an article written there by Chris Zaino. He’s a former Mr. America bodybuilder who is now a chiropractor and runs a clinic in Texas. In fact, it is one of the world’s largest and most successful chiropractic clinics. His philosophy is that our body is our temple and that we have a responsibility to God to take care of them. He also believes that it is God’s … Continue reading

Sports as a Spiritual Path

Philosophers and religious leaders have wrestled with the conundrum of the body versus the spirit for a long, long time. I personally grew up in a family that placed much more emphasis on areas of life other than physical prowess. We were in some sports as kids, but I was never encouraged to pursue sports as a main focus. It just wasn’t one of our top family values, which were mainly academic success and eventually achieving financial stability. In the one and only year that I ran track in high school, I was undefeated in the two mile run through … Continue reading

The Limited Law of Attraction

You have probably heard of the Law of Attraction (as presented in the movie The Secret). It’s the idea that you can concentrate on something that you want in your life–like a new car or a new relationship or a home–and you can attract the object or experience to yourself. In this view, the universe is described like a catalog and you just have to identify exactly what you want, place your order and have faith that it will come to you. You can use mental visualization and affirmations and vision boards with images of what you want. It’s all … Continue reading

The Conscious Universe

Most people are “conscious” at least as far as their physical body extends. That can be debated, of course, as many people are quite unconscious of their own bodies, but for the sake of discussion I’ll accept that people can sense various areas and the perimeter of their bodies. We can think about our hearts and “feel” them in our bodies. Or we can think about our toes or about our necks or our stomach or whatever. Our attention is “traveling” within our physical bodies. If we start to recognize that our consciousness extends beyond our bodies into the whole … Continue reading