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Ash Wednesday and the ghost in you

A ritual for Lent: make a daily list of what brings you joy, and what brings you closer to Spirit

No, we don’t mean our favorite song by the Psychedelic Furs, which was given a short second life a couple of years ago by the Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore vehicle 50 First Dates.

But now that we brought it up, did you ever wonder where they got that phrase, ‘the ghost in you’? Check out Corinthians 6:19, one of the most famous passages in the Bible:

Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own? . . . Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The passage points to the reason that people of a certain persuasion, starting tomorrow, give up pleasures of the flesh like coffee, sweets, alcohol or cigarettes. It’s a cleansing ritual that honors the temple of your body, and the Spirit which gave rise to it.

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Spiritual Surf: Tom Hanks, Egypt, Parinirvana, street preachers, terrorism, hypnosis, depression during pregnancy

Tom Hanks newest patron of Da Vinci Code church

Tom Hanks has personally donated to help restore Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel, where part of The Da Vinci Code was filmed. According to Dan Brown’s novel, the chapel was built by the Knights Templar, marks a point on the “Rose Line”, or prime meridian, and contains several  esoteric sculptures. 

In actuality, the chapel was built over 100 years after the Templars vanished, the prime meridian does not cross through the chapel, and many architectural features were added later by Anglican and (what do you know?) Scottish Freemason patrons. As its newest patron, will Hanks request any other additions?

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Spiritual Surf: Ash Wednesday, PETA, Polygamy, Madonna, atheist pastor, J.D. Salinger, yoga dating

Ashes to ashes . . . this Wednesday

Christians this week celebrate Ash Wednesday in commemoration of Jesus’ sojourn in the wilderness where he faced demonic temptation.  Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, where Christians share a similar journey in a spiritual desert. Lenten practices usually involve fasting, penance, making confession, praying the stations of the cross (prayerful meditation on Jesus’ journey towards crucifixion), and receiving ashes on the forehead with the words “From dust you came, and to dust you shall return”.

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Zen and the art of getting an Oscar

A meditation teacher views the Academy Awards ceremony as a showcase for techniques that the rich and famous use to keep their cool. A short-list of spiritual and psychological tips for overcoming performance-anxiety:

War of the poses: Ex's Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron have their eyes on the same 2010 Academy Award prize

GUEST COLUMN: REID PETERSON — The Oscar statue’s familiar gold form emblazoned everywhere in the media lets us know that it is once again time for the show that is watched by one billion viewers worldwide.

As the awards unfold much of our planet will be gathered in front of their TV screens for a few hours as actors, directors, and writers gather to receive praise, prestige, and paparazzi for the degree of excellence that they have achieved in their industry during calendar-year 2009.

We all know that the 2010 Oscars are a huge deal because the event has an uncanny ability to hook us emotionally.

But what quality of emotion do we view in the people who are in front of the camera for this event?  Is this reality-TV that exposes how nervous the nominees really are? Or is it a real-time acting lab?

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Oscar special: The glee inside me

New York theatre critic Retta Blaney discovered the spirituality of film stars when she interviewed Vanessa Williams, Liam Neeson and Kristen Chenoweth (Hey, she was on Glee!)

GUEST COLUMN: RETTA BLANEY —  As I researched and wrote my book, Working On The Inside: The Spiritual Life Through The Eyes Of Actors, I found that my personal faith was greatly influenced.  The wisdom of the actors I interviewed brought me a great deal of growth, healing and transformation —  and I pray it will do so for others who want to work on the “inside.”

The idea for the book came from my many years of interviewing stage actors like Kristen Chenoweth.  Time and again they brought up the need for a spiritual life.  I have covered many beats in my life — politics, education and business to name three — but I never encountered anyone in those fields who spoke about spiritual matters in relationship to their careers.

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Can inconvenience be a motivator?

We can use the hurdles that life throws at us to grow and reach our spiritual potential

GUEST COLUMN: PHYLLIS KING As we grow and mature, our intellect and reasoning skills increase. However, with that, often our ego increases.

The skill we acquire with our use of words sometimes exceeds our ability to truly live our words and their content.

We hide behind our words, “acting” as if we believe them.

This façade is never more apparent when difficulties arise.

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Spiritual Surf: Sundance takes down Mormons; Kitty Kelley takes down Oprah; Tu Beshevat (the tree of life) and St. Paul

8: The Mormon Proposition, a movie on spiritual politics

Utah not only hosts the annual Sundance Film Festival; in the 2010 edition of the film fest, the state’s (unofficial) church has a starring role in the line-up of movies.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is taken down in a documentary about the 2008 initiative that successfully banned gay marriage in California.

Another irony: the film, 8: The Mormon Proposition, is directed by a former Mormon. It details the counter-revolutionary intervention Mormons poured into passing Proposition 8.

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Even the Earth has faults: Haiti’s powerful reminder

Like the Earth itself, we are all vulnerable to the energy within us

GUEST COLUMN BY HEATHER GREAVES — The Earth in all her pain (toxicity) and glory has faults.

Likewise, we human beings with all our broken dreams and victories, have faults.

As below our feet. . .so it is above.

The year 2010 has begun with Earth releasing energy causing its area known as Haiti to quake and tremor. The energy was released by the rupture of a geological fault without a warning, and definitely without so much as a by-your-leave.

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Winter Rhapsody: a meditation by David Rickey

How to savor lasting impressions of beauty in the present moment

DAVID RICKEY — I am sitting by the window listening to a recording of Le Tombeau de Couperin, by Maurice Ravel, performed by Pascal Rogé. Ravel was one of the great French impressionist composers. The music lends itself to drifting in thought, and. . .well . . .impressions.

I gaze out the window, seeing the bare trees of winter outlined against the flat grey sky. I see the mottled brown crumpled leaves lying dead on the newly green grass. And I see a robin perched on a branch, perhaps looking for a worm to emerge from the cold, damp earth. This season, especially in California, is such a wonderful mixture of color and dullness, life and death.

And it is all good.

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What happens in Haiti, doesn’t stay in Haiti

Will soul evolving strength and beauty emerge from the rubble of Haiti?

GUEST COLUMN BY CHELSEA LANGAN — It’s been a tough couple of days for Haitians, their families, and sympathetic souls around the world. The devastation that has unfolded in such an already grief stricken island seems catastrophic.

But on a positive note, I believe they’ve acquired a rare opportunity to rebuild their nation from the ground up with a new, uncanny, unprecedented strength and perception that has the potential to spread miracles to the rest of the world.

One might consider the damage from the earthquake a free demo, a courtesy, rather, from God himself.

Although many of the Haitian structures deemed sacred have been leveled, or re-leveled in some cases, I don’t question God’s testaments to the ephemeral.

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