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Countdown to Christmas: Spiritual Trivia

 

Can you guess the source of these lines of sacred text?

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world; to give to all nations unity, peace and concord; and to bestow freedom upon all peoples,
That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with presence those who are failing and infirm,
That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors and slanderers, and to turn their hearts,

You could be forgiven for thinking they’re from some kind of meditation on loving kindness in the Upanishads or the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

These lines of deep prayer are actually pulled from a very Christian prayer called The Great Litany that is performed in a communal chant. Just like Buddhists.

Acutely Buddhist in its appeal for universal compassion, The Great Litany was performed in procession by thousands of churches around the world to mark the First Sunday of Advent — the last Sunday of November in 2014 — the official beginning of the Christmas season for all of you chocolate fiends with Advent calendars, and Day One of a new church year.

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My hundred years of solitude


A mother’s death, a search for a soulmate and a spiritual journey made this year an epic reckoning

BY KAREN BLACK — By this age, I had hoped to have . . . call it a supportive partner. Call it a soul-mate. Call it whatever you want.

Yet, here I am: single, never married, holding my mother’s hands, whose tips are numb from chemo.

I never planned to do this part of life alone.

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We vote every day, psychologically-speaking

We vote every day, psychologically-speaking

The Eckhart Tolle of Europe asks us a question: Why don’t we really like change?

BY TONY SAMARA — We each have an ego. And that busy ego plugs into, let’s call it, control systems.

Yes, we do have what the enlightenment philosophers called free will but we seem to make this choice every day. It’s an unconscious choice.

Control systems compromise the free aspect of ourselves. They always want things to be the same way — in the words of the 1980′s band the Talking Heads sang — the same as it ever was.

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In to Africa

In to Africa

Our evolutionary origins lie in Africa. We share 98% of our DNA with chimps. A peak experience and political story about a chimp in Africa.

BY G. PASCAL ZACHARY — There’s a collective code that asks Christians to be their brother’s keeper.  Buddhists go a step deeper, and embrace a first principle that we are not distinct entities at all but plot-points along a continuum of being called consciousness.

Well, I’m Jewish. And I’m a secular one at that. So a code that I go to is Darwin’s intersection with DNA.

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The new, new workouts about to break out

Fitness celebs and marketing campaigns are out to hook you. Here are a couple of athelete-driven, mind-body movements.

BY SOUL’S CODE — If you’re going to get hooked on anything, it might as well be on healing habits for your mind and body.

We introduced you to emerging techniques like Chi Running. We handicapped cardio-dance trends like 5Rhythms and the S-Factor.

Ya, we know, Zumba won! Ten million Americans now do Zumba every week — and every major gym chain in the country sends Colombian-born Alberto Perez’s Zumba Fitness Inc. a royalty payment for those classes.

But here is our question: Will one of these (below) be the next Zumba, or pilates, or workout to break out?

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The power of the unknown

The power of the unknown

Many of us fear the unknown and the uncertain. Here is how to align yourself with both

SPECIAL TO SOUL’S CODE: BY TONY SAMARA — From Wall Street to the Great Wall, the business values of the West have swept the world. And one thing that the commercial culture around us dislikes intensely is uncertainty. Everything from the global insurance industry to the derivates market that caused the 2008 financial crisis are set up to act as a hedge against uncertainty and the unknown.

Perhaps this helps explain why our society suffers from a collective neurosis.

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Exclusive book excerpt: Quiet Power

Exclusive book excerpt: Quiet Power

Why I make compassion my safety net. (Editor’s note: the author is the model)

BY JANICE CARTER-LEVITCH — We all have it within us.

The ability to be still and observe the world around us.

To know and understand what ground we stand on. Meaning who we really are. Most of us are constantly searching and wanting to discover the essence of our existence.

Be still and listen to what resides within you. Your thoughts about who you are.

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A 50-second meditation hypnosis

Are you feeling out of it in your office? A quick method to expand yourself, and feel good

SPECIAL TO SOUL’S CODE: BY TONY SAMARA —  Expansion moves beyond an idea, it is the shared experience that the cosmos celebrates through this beautiful song that I call the song of angels. As the cosmos sings and you sing back to it, there is a sense of peace and understanding that manifests more deeply than just words.

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Martha Stewart Wired cover

What is your enneagram?

A more reliable personality scale than Myers-Briggs for mapping your emotions and relationships has its origins in Islamic mysticism

MARGARET  COCHRAN — The Enneagram grew out of the teachings of the great Sufi mystic, G. I. Gurdjieff, whose memoir of early 20th-Century pilgrimages, Meetings with Remarkable Men, became a landmark movie in spiritual cinema. But today we care more about the Enneagram than the movie because it is an amazing tool for developing self-awareness.

The Enneagram helps us to realize what motivates us, and how to better understand the sometimes confusing behavior of our friends, family and co-workers — and possibly the most confusing person of all, yourself!

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Meditation lite

Meditation lite

They say that meditation is sitting on a cushion and emptying your mind. But I do mine while I’m, like, shopping

BY DAVID RICKEY  — I know it doesn’t come as a surprise to say that meditation is important for spiritual growth. The post-modern philosopher Ken Wilbur claims that it is the quickest way to advance the evolution of consciousness.

But it might come as a surprise that I myself — a psychotherapist and Episcopal priest who has devoted a lifetime to spiritual development — do not meditate.

At least, I do not meditate in any classic way. I could tell you, “I don’t have the time.” But in the tradition of confession, here is mine: I have never had much discipline.

So, I have a form of meditation that takes no real time and requires only a smidgen of discipline.

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