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Demystifying mysticism

From a hero’s journey to a great awakening, 4 similar features spiritual masters like Jesus, Lao-tse and Gandhi share in common

GUEST COLUMN: RONDA LARUE — More and more people have been asking me lately, “What do you mean by the word mystic?” There’s a lot of confused thinking out there and some outright misconceptions about the term. In a very real sense — and because mysticism concerns the essence of life — it is audacious to even try and define it. Words are insufficient and often get in the way of understanding.

Mysticism is a quality of presence that is quite literally beyond and before any words. Nevertheless l, like others, feel compelled to at least try to frame mysticism in words. Mysticism is terribly misunderstood by mainstream culture, and it always has been. Many people think being a mystic means some kind of odd occultism — someone who studies magic or renounces life and goes off to live in a cave. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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The spiritual scientist who “invented” paranormal

The success of Paranormal Activity has eclipsed Dr. Charles T. Tart, the psychologist who turned the concept of the paranormal into a new branch of science

BY PAUL KAIHLAParanormal Activity is now the most profitable movie in history ($15,000 to make, it’s earned more than $100 million in box office) but the inventor of the field to which the film owes its name continues to research real cases of the paranormal in relative obscurity and modesty.

In 1969, psychologist Charles Tart coined the term “altered states of consciousness,” and his book of the same name remains a classic in the discipline of paranormal studies.

And around the time that Paramount was preparing its guerrilla marketing campaign for Paranormal, the movie, Tart was releasing The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Spirit and Science Together.

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My last tango with fear

A shamanic teacher visualizes her lifelong fear as if it were a dance partner. When she faces him, she discovers that he isn’t so scary after all

GUEST COLUMN: DAWN DANCING OTTER — Lately I have been noticing how the words ‘fear’ and ‘free’ are phonetically mirrored.

I have run from fear in my life, and it has been a repeating pattern of habitual behaviour. I felt the discomfort/pain of fear, and I began to to recede from my “presence”, and to hide beneath masks of a false self.

The illusion was: ‘I am becoming free from my fear by running and hiding. It won’t follow me or find me — I will just keep running . . . keep hiding’.

In this game, fear made the rules and called the tune.  And I danced to the beat of fear with my eyes closed.

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Spiritual Surf: All Souls’ Day, Witches, Brains, Hypnosis, and Ethiopian Messiah

All Souls’ Day

Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics this week celebrate the “Commemoration of the Faithful Departed” or “All Souls’ Day” (November 2). Prayerful attention is paid to the souls of the departed going through a purification (or purging) of past sins in Purgatory. Popular in Mexico as El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), families gather in cemeteries to pray for deceased friends and families.  A more macabre remembrance of the dead occurred last week: a member of 1 Mind Ministries has refused to plea guilty to starving a one year old boy to death because he refused to say “amen” after his meals.

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Twirling towards freedom: The theory of Spiral Dynamics

Cultural psychology, sociology, and evolution all prove the theory of Spiral Dynamics — here’s your free lesson

GUEST COLUMN: MICK QUINN AND DEBORA PRIETO — My personal opinion is that, from an absolute point of view, we are all one, and equal. However, from a relative point of view the story is a bit different. In the past, I always had trouble trying to reconcile the fact that I am the same as the Buddha. . .as well as a maniacal dictator.  We definitely don’t regularly behave like one over the other, but everyone has the potential for both types of behavior.  Studying Spiral Dynamics (SD) is what helped me find peace with this issue.

You may have heard of a concept called “meme.” It’s a word tossed around by many, such as Richard Dawkins in his three-decade-old book The Selfish Gene, and by the mystic and author Caroline Myss. But meme is just part of what is included in the theory of SD. In what follows, we’ll share with you a primer on the history and evolution of SD, as well as explain how this knowledge can benefit you personally and professionally.

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Spiritual Surf: Mermaids and other tricks of the mind

Sara Campbell makes a splash as the “deepest” woman in the world; Hooking the God chemical; Recession sinks mind-body and spirit, says new findings in Science

World-record holder Sara Campbell uses yoga and deep trance-work to free dive to new depths of human experience and endurance (New Yorker)

Beyond belief: A mermaid sighting in Isreal? (Live Science)

Or a mystical dip in a Scottish Fairy Pool (UK Guardian)

Is consciousness like the ‘wetness of water’? What great minds can’t grasp (Live Science)

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Google goes spiritual

Drawing on “Emotional Intelligence” author Daniel Goleman and a recent Oprah guest, Google launches a School of Personal Growth

PAUL KAIHLA — Apple isn’t the only Silicon Valley anchor-tenant that knows how to execute a stealth launch. For Google, though, this one wasn’t about products — and it seems that the world’s largest search engine and online ad agency prefers to keep this news quiet, even post-launch. Last summer with zero fanfare, Google joined the human potential movement. The vehicle: Google University, which is in a building one street down from the main Googleplex in Mountain View.

One of the institution’s four departments: The School of Personal Growth.

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Déjà vu: How the spirit reaches out across time and space

What is déjà vu? Is it repressed memories of times past, or something greater? Radio host and author Sandy Andrew offers a radical, spiritual view

BY SANDY ANDREW — Have you ever found yourself in a casual situation when, suddenly, your consciousness flashes back to a memory that seems impossible to be valid?  After all, you have not experienced this situation yet, so how on earth could you have a memory of it?

This unique sensation is one our culture has labeled déjà vu.  But what is it exactly?

Is it a memory, a premonition, or just a confused state of mind?

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Spiritual Surf: Vatican gives Half-Blood Prince thumbs up, Mira Sorvino’s miracle baby, and an eye on Oprah

We surf Oprah . . . so you don’t have to

The L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, has given Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince a four star rating.

Not overly concerned that most of the characters are witches and warlocks, the article praises the movie for its values of “friendship, altruism, loyalty and self-giving.”  Catholic News Service.

Mira’s miracle?

One wonders if the word “miraculous” is getting too much play.  Mira Sorvino’s third child has been called a “miracle baby.”

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Are you clinging to your mate out of financial fears? Here’s a clue

These aren’t “The Rules” that Oprah loves. DAVID RICHO’s arise out of Buddhism, a Catholic priesthood and depth psychology

SOUL’S CODE —  Shrunken stock portfolios, canceled checks, and an unemployment rate in the double-digits indicate that couples who are distressed in their relationships today will stick together tomorrow.

Stick it out, rather than walk out is a distinctly anti-Me Generation response to fear and unmet wants — the opposite of the Baby Boomer ethic of autonomy and desire-fulfillment.

The polar-opposite is our parents’ and grandparents’ code for survival — a Survivor-response to love and relationships forged in the scarcity of The Depression’s and WWII.

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