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“Rule the hearts of thy servants and the President of the United States”

“Rule the hearts of thy servants and the President of the United States”

On this First Day of Advent, The Great Litany has a new ring under an Obama presidency

That it may please thee so to rule the hearts of thy servants, the President of the United States, and all others in authority, that they may do justice, and love mercy, and walk in the ways of truth.

BY PAUL KAIHLA — That line in the six-page petition, or poem of loving kindness, called The Great Litany had a plaintive ring during the two Bush terms. But as churches across America chant it in procession at the beginning of Advent, marking the official start to a liturgical new year, it feels like a prayer that actually connects under an Obama presidency.

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Where my spiritual path and science meet

Where my spiritual path and science meet

“Can enlightenment happen through meditation and practice?” Drawing on Eckhart Tolle, her personal experience and science, the answer is: Yes


By Anonymous — I began meditating about two and a half years ago, at the urging of a then-friend (translation: a fellow I was very briefly dating.) I was an avid journal-writer, and felt that was enough for clearing the detritus-of-the-day from my mind.

But a couple weeks later, when someone came into my office and was handing out flyers for beginning meditation classes, I decided to take up the invitation. My work ‘situation’ was super-stressful, and I thought that meditation might help ameliorate the effects more than what I saw people around me using to cope — from Ambien to alcohol.

I also have an intuitive faith that if something is put in front of my face two or three times, it’s probably a Moby Dick of a message from something beyond my mind trying to jog the latter.

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Ayurvedic resort

The ultimate spa getaway

Forget the Deepak Chopra Center in southern California. This is an ayurvedic resort!

In the picture is worth a thousand words department, Renee Tavares sent this image from Kerala, India, where the San Francisco, CA yogini is enjoying ayurvedic treatments. Namaste.

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When meditation is a pain

When meditation is a pain

A 31-year-old seeker finds peace of mind by bailing on what was advertised as the ultimate self-awareness experience — a 10-day ‘silent meditation’ retreat by a famous guru

GUEST COLUMN BY MICAL AKULLIAN — It was the morning of Day 5 of my ten-day Vipassana retreat in the Sierra Mountains.

In the ancient language, Sanskrit, “vipassana” literally means “seeing deeply.” In 2010 California, it means a group of 20-odd people gathering in a secluded summer-camp setting. Our purpose: to sit in meditation for ten days, specifically not communicating with each other. No talking is allowed – not to the guy sitting beside you at mealtime – or even to yourself. Silent night? Try silent night and day. It’s kind of like the spiritual equivalent of discipline-testing reality shows like, Survivor.

The California challenge I enrolled in was organized by the contemporary Indian guru, S.N. Goenka.  Explained via video at the beginning of the retreat, Goenka relayed to us via a pre-taped lecture that the mind is like an infected wound, and as you cut it open, the puss begins to rise to the surface.  That puss is our chattering monkey-mind, which is a reaction to pain. Through meditation, we learn to train the mind like you would an animal.

This is all fine and good, except that if you kept any animal in a cramped cage for 10 days it’s bound to get a little pissy.  My revolting mind seemed less like puss rising to the surface, and more like a wake up call from my own intuition. It kept asking, “Say what?”

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What are the spiritual origins of Thanksgiving?

What are the spiritual origins of Thanksgiving?

SPIRITUAL IQ QUIZ — The Thanksgiving celebration is not uniquely American (or if you’re Canadian, an October thing). Festivities expressing gratitude for prosperity and abundance occur in practically every culture, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome, and beyond.

So if you need an escape between family feuds and football, we give you six trivia questions about the spirituality of a holiday named after gratitude. Answer by clicking the radio buttons below:

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The marriage of science and meditation

A Stanford University neuroscientist and meditation instructor talks about the transformative power of Buddhism and why happiness is a trainable skill

Dr. Philippe Goldin, a psychologist who heads the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience Group at Stanford University, runs a National Institutes of Health-funded lab that studies adults with social anxiety disorder, and offers training in mindfulness meditation.

We caught up with Dr. Goldin, who spent six years in India and Nepal studying various languages and Buddhist philosophy.

Soul’s Code: What’s the appeal of Buddhism for you?

GOLDIN: Androgyny. The goal— the ultimate goal — of mental development is to become completely inclusive of all qualities, and I thought that was incredible . . .

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Church for the 21st century: an oral and aural buffet we can all savor

Church for the 21st century: an oral and aural buffet we can all savor

An Episcopal priest comes to the realization that what we have labelled God is actually ”absolute intelligence” expressed via humans

BY DAVID RICKEY — Recently two events have changed my center of gravity. First, attending the Parliament for the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia in December of 2009 and then going to Haiti for the first time in June of 2010 and, at the same time, reading “The God Theory” by Bernard Haisch.

The Parliament gave me the opportunity to experience people from an amazing variety of spiritual perspectives, all talking and sharing in a way that opened my eyes further to the truth of the “interfaith” reality of TRUTH.

My trip to Haiti was my first encounter with incredible poverty as well as the resilience of the human spirit that I could see in the faces of the Haitian people. My reading “The God Theory” gave “solidity” to my own questions and emerging answers about this amazing mystery I call God.

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You, powered by God to heal the world

You, powered by God to heal the world

God is greater than you can imagine — and so are you!

BY DAVID RICKEY — The very idea of God is, by its nature, beyond the comprehension of “mere mortals”. So, we tend to conceive of God in ways that are limited by the level of our own evolution.

Deepak Chopra, in “How To Know God” describes various attributes of God that actually reflect the level to which our own awareness has moved. For example, if we are still basically functioning at a “fight or flight” level, we conceive of God as warring, defending or protecting.

Mystics, from Meister Eckhart to Eckhart Tolle, and some quantum physicists are able to perceive a “God” who is much more at one with all of the universe. Indeed, the astrophysicist Bernard Haisch, in his book “The God Theory” speculates that the Universe is really God — infinite conscious intelligence — seeking to express itself and experience itself.

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Depression on its own doesn’t nuke relationships. It kills communication

Why do the depressed fail at relationships? Communication breakdown. A Stanford psychologist identifies 4 telltale signs

SOUL’S CODE —  A smattering of reports have linked suicides to people who are losing their homes, or reeling from steep losses in financial markets.

For most of us, depression won’t be a life-threatening issue — but it will threaten the fabric of our marriages and relationships.

The latest research shows that fully one-fifth of all of us in the U.S. will suffer clincial depression at some point in our lives. As the Great American Recession . . .

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Guilt, shame and the whole chakra thing

Guilt, shame and the whole chakra thing

We all know guilt. And some of us understand first chakras. Both are about our primal sense of safety: acceptance

BY DAVID RICKEY — All of us have experienced guilt, and some of us are plagued with feelings of shame. These are very primitive emotions tied to tribal issues embedded in the first chakra.

The need to belong and be accepted by the tribe/family provides the fundamental sense of safety and well-being.

The threat of being abandoned by the tribe is experienced as the threat of death.

When we live at the level of the first chakra — in the ancient Eastern tradition, the chakra hierarchy assigns this energy to your genital awareness, and the hegemony of survival and material needs over your psyche.

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