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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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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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Exclusive: Tony Samara, the Eckhart Tolle of Europe

Exclusive: Tony Samara, the Eckhart Tolle of Europe

BY TONY SAMARA  —  Native people say that there will be many volcanoes going off in 2012, and that this will create chaos.

I wrote this column for Soul’s Code in December. They now publish this post. Last week, we see devastating tornadoes in the United States, the most powerful economy on earth (for better or worse).

We pray for those who lost their lives, and to the families who lost those whom they loved.

We are here for them.

Is there a spiritual lesson for observers?

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Write your own Love Scroll

Write your own Love Scroll

About the rotating panel of very personal experiences to your lower right

BY SOUL’S CODE — Have you heard a question that goes like this from competitive friends, motivational speakers or, say — the foremost practitioners of American reality TV, Oprah and Donald Trump?

“Where do you want to be five years from now?

Which reminds us of a joke . . . How do you make the Gods laugh?

Answer: tell them your plans.

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Pueblo Rico

Why we celebrate each New Year: It’s in our soul’s code

Buying into 2012 as more “doom and gloom” is a collective projection. A new solar year is a sacred event that can ground you.

BY DAVID RICHO, author of Daring to Trust and 14 other books about spirituality and psychology — Annual planting among ancient peoples began with prayer that recalled how the gods performed this same task at the beginning of time. The human lifecycle, thus, became a repetition of a primal religious event.

Whatever happens every year becomes a promise in perpetuity, and thereby the phases of life and the seasons fit into a spiritual framework.

Among ancient peoples this fostered a sense of belonging here on earth.

Repetition and participation give humans roots: “I am real because I am part of something. I have a grander meaning than is outlined by my fragile body.”

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Santa Claus: International man of mystery

SPIRITUAL IQ QUIZ — He’s big. He’s hairy. He’s said to tear through the night sky accompanied by magical reindeer. Santa Claus makes a truly weird symbol of conspicuous consumption. Maybe that’s because he’s a figure whose spiritual roots sit deeper than today’s commercial culture.

Santa as we know him today symbolizes holiday cheer, Christian charity, and, yes, maybe more than just a little bit of pagan wildness. Little wonder this mischievous elf has been shunned by Christians, banned by secularists, and viewed with suspicion by purists of all sorts.

As he keeps sliding down the chimney into our culture, click on the radio buttons below to see how much you know about the global poster-boy for Christmas.

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What is Ibogaine, and why does Charlie Sheen’s ex want to do it?

What is Ibogaine, and why does Charlie Sheen’s ex want to do it?

A hallucinogen long used in shamanic and spiritual practices, Ibogaine is a non-pharma prescription for addiction

BY SOUL’S CODE — Brooke Mueller is the ex-wife of Charlie Sheen who called 911 a couple of Christmas holidays ago in Aspen claiming that the Two and a Half Men star he was threatening her with a knife (listen to the tape here). Since then, they have both done revolving doors through rehab — and Mueller’s latest attempts and failures at sobriety are a highlight reel on Paris Hilton’s new reality TV show on the Oxygen network.

Mueller’s latest stab at AA-style 12 Steps has apparently failed again, and the gossip site TMZ reports that she made plans to fly to Cancun to undergo Ibogaine therapy.

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The lesson of James Arthur Ray’s guilty verdict in the Sedona sweat-lodge deaths

We’ve criticized Ray and the franchise that made him famous, The Secret. A Soul’s Code practitioner urges us to extend compassion to both the victims and the convicted guru

GUEST COLUMN: CARI LA GRANGE MURPHY — The topics of spiritual authenticity, accountability, compassion, and soul growth are all weighing on my heart, mind and spirit today after hearing the sad news of self-help guru James Arthur Ray’s conviction on June 22, 2011 in Arizona.

As I’ve matured and grown into a more self-aware human being, I am not one to quickly judge an individual and pound on them when they are down, for I am able to see the bigger picture and recognize that there are always soul lessons involved in any situation.

Observing things from this broader perspective doesn’t make the situation any less sad or horrific for both James Arthur Ray, or for the three individuals who died two falls ago in a make-shift sweat lodge in Sedona, AZ, but it does allow me to open my heart and have compassion for everyone involved.

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The shaman origin of your spa’s sauna

The sauna is a Finnish, warlock thing. To prove it, I skinny-dipped through a hole in the ice of Lake Superior

BY PAUL KAIHLA — I spent the afternoon breaking trail through the great boreal forest on the north shore of Lake Superior on cross-country skis made of hickory with my host, Olli. We had a novice tagging along, who couldn’t quite get the swing of it.

A Finnish engineer who has two adult children, a happy marriage and a wry sense of humor, Olli offered our tag-along adventurer mock comfort about the learning curve she faced with nordic skiing: “Don’t worry,” he quipped, “the first 10 years are the hardest.”

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Peak experience: Why I look up to feel grounded

Peak experience: Why I look up to feel grounded

In the words of Nelly Furtado, I’m like a bird. It took an aboriginal healer to tell me why it’s perfectly okay to fly.

BY MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE – Being corralled like cattle in a crowded subway underground, I always wonder where everyone is going. And my own destination was a mystery to them, one gray slushy day, as I held onto a steel pole and got jostled about. What would they think if they saw what was in my purse – a small bundle of tobacco wrapped in red polka dotted cotton and tied with string?

That, amazingly, is the “fee” they charge at Dodem Kanonhsa, an Elders’ Cultural facility created by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. It’s in a highrise office building, on a busy street with no trees in sight. To step out of an elevator, down a hall and into a peaceful “lodge” is surreal to say the least. I was sure I felt some kind of magic, even though I knew the magic was government funded.

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