The Prayer Flag Tradition

Prayer flags are not just pretty pieces of colored cloth with funny writing on them. The ancient Buddhist prayers, mantras and powerful symbols displayed on them produce a spiritual vibration that is activated and carried by the wind across the countryside. All beings that are touched by the wind are uplifted and a little happier. The silent prayers are blessings spoken on the breath of nature. Just as a drop of water can permeate the ocean, prayers dissolved in the wind extend to fill all of space.

The prayer flag tradition has a long continuous history dating back to ancient Tibet, China, Persia and India. The tradition has now reached the West and is rapidly gaining popularity. The meanings behind prayer flag texts and symbols, indeed behind the whole idea of prayer flags, are based on the most profound concepts of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy.

The Tibetan word for prayer flag is Dar Cho. “Dar” means to increase life, fortune, health and wealth. “Cho” means all sentient beings. Prayer flags are simple devices that, coupled with the natural energy of the wind, quietly harmonize the environment, impartially increasing happiness and good fortune among all living beings.

History of Prayer Flags

According to some lamas prayer flags date back thousands of years to the Bon tradition of preBuddhist Tibet. Shamanistic Bonpo priests used primary colored plain cloth flags in healing ceremonies. Each color corresponded to a different primary element – earth, water, fire, air and space – the fundamental building blocks of both our physical bodies and of our environment. According to Eastern medicine health and harmony are produced through the balance of the 5 elements. Properly arranging colored flags around a sick patient harmonized the elements in his body helping to produce a state of physical and mental health.

Colored flags were also used to help appease the local gods and spirits of the mountains, valleys, lakes and streams. These elemental beings, when provoked were thought to cause natural disasters and disease. Balancing the outer elements and propitiating the elemental spirits with rituals and offerings was the Bonpo way of pacifying nature and invoking the blessings of the gods.

It is not known whether or not the Bonpos ever wrote words on their flags. The preBuddhist religions of Tibet were oral traditions; writing was apparently limited to government bookkeeping. On the other hand the very word, “bonpo,” means “one who recites magical formulas” Even if no writing was added to the plain strips of cloth it is likely that the Bonpos painted sacred symbols on them. Some symbols seen on Buddhist prayer flags today undoubtedly have Bonpo origins, their meaning now enhanced with the deep significance of Vajrayana Buddhist philosophy.

From the first millennium AD Buddhism gradually assimilated into the Tibetan way of life reaching great zeal in the ninth century when the religious King of Tibet invited the powerful Indian meditation master, Guru Padmasambhava, to come and control the forces then impeding the spread of Buddhism. Guru Rinpoche, as he is popularly known, bound the local Tibetan spirits by oath and transformed them into forces compatible with the spread of Buddhism. Some to the prayers seen on flags today were composed by Guru Rinpoche to pacify the spirits that cause disease and natural disasters.

Originally the writing and images on prayer flags were painted by hand, one at a time. Woodblocks, carefully carved in mirror image relief, were introduced from China in the 15th century. This invention made it possible to reproduce identical prints of the same design. Traditional designs could then be easily passed down from generation to generation.

Famous Buddhist masters created most prayer flag designs. Lay craftsmen make copies of the designs but would never think of actually creating a new design. There are relatively few basic designs for a continuous tradition that goes back over a thousand years. Aside from new designs no real innovations to the printing process have occurred in the past 500 years. Most prayer flags imported to the West today are woodblock printed. Some shops are now starting to produce prints made from zinc faced blocks that can be etched photographically resulting in finer detail than the hand carved woodblock. Natural stone ground pigments have been replaced by printing inks, usually having a kerosene base. Most of the companies in the west prefer to use silkscreen printing techniques as wood carving is a time consuming skill requiring lengthy apprenticeship.

When the Chinese took over Tibet they destroyed much of everything having to do with Tibetan culture and religion. Prayer flags were discouraged but not entirely eliminated. We will never know how many traditional designs have been lost forever since the turmoil of China’s cultural revolution. Because cloth and paper prints deteriorate so quickly the best way to preserve the ancient designs is by saving the woodblocks. Woodblocks, often weighing several pounds, were too heavy for the refugees to lug over the Himalayas and woodblocks no doubt made wonderful firewood for Chinese troops. Most of the traditional prayer flags today are made in Nepal and India by Tibetan refugees or by Nepali Buddhists from the Tibetan border regions.

Raising Prayer Flags

Prayer flags typically come on ropes to be hung in horizontal displays or printed on long narrow strips of cloth that are tied on vertical poles. Prayer flags on ropes are printed on 5 different colors of cloth (yellow, green, red, white and blue) so sets are always in multiples of 5. Pole flags are either a single solid color or the 5 colors sewn together into one flag. They range in height from about 3ft to 40 ft or more. Pole flags often have colored streamers or “tongues” that are imprinted with special increasing mantras meant to increase the power of the prayers written on the body of the flag. It is also common to see displays of many plain white prayer flags on poles erected around monasteries and pilgrimage sites.

Placing prayer flags in and around one’s home or business imparts a feeling of harmony, increases the spiritual atmosphere and brings to mind the teachings of enlightenment. By placing prayer flags outdoors their sacred mantras are imprinted on the wind, generating peace and good wishes. Ropes of prayer flags can be strung horizontally between two trees (the higher the better), between house columns or along the eaves of roofs. Sometimes they are strung at angle (be sure that the wind horse points uphill). Vertical Pole Flags look wonderful in a garden, try a prayer flag “grove” in a breezy area. Bamboo works the best for flagpoles but any wood, metal or plastic pole will work.

When raising prayer flags proper motivation is important. If they are put up with the attitude “I will benefit from doing this” – that is an ego-centered motivation and the benefits will be small and narrow. If the attitude is “May all beings everywhere receive benefit and find happiness,” the virtue generated by such motivation greatly increases the power of the prayers.

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Author: Timothy Clark. Copyright Radiant Heart Studio

Why We Should Bring Meditation Into Schools

“If every eight year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” ~ Dalai Lama

Imagine if meditation was a regular part of school life for children. Just think how different the world would be. If every child was able to connect to the ocean of consciousness that permeates all that is, the desire to do wrong by others would dissolve.

Meditation allows us to discover through experience the truth of who we really are. The problem in today’s society is that we are constantly running from ourselves, and consequently from the truth. We’re so occupied with work and social events that we never take the time to discover who we truly are at the core of our being.

Most of us learn to be something we are not. We learn to fit in, to conform and to abide by social norms. We learn how to put on a mask in front of other people. We learn how to be slaves to our own ego. We become so good at running from ourselves that we can’t stand the thought of ever taking off the mask we’ve become comfortable wearing. So we betray ourselves and we let our ego roam free. We become numb to the world and every living creature in it. We sell our soul for an illusion of who we are, and deep down, a part of us knows that we are on the run. Many of us have no hope of ever reconnecting with the self as we have run too far…

What if we never started running from ourselves in the first place? What if we learned to be at peace with ourselves from an early age? If schools taught meditation, children would unearth their own passions, their own interests and their own creative potential. They would not be so bothered by their own insecurities and would learn to live for the moment instead of always reaching for somewhere where they are not.

Meditation helped me find meaning in my own life. I would not be following my heart and trying to change the education system if it weren’t for meditation. It connected me to the deepest yearning of my own soul, and aligned me with my life’s purpose. Likewise, children who practise meditation on a regular basis are not so prone to stress, worry and illness. They also develop stronger bonds with all living things and have less of a need to compete with their peers.

I believe it is crucial for us to give children this gift of mindfulness. It is my hope that one day the practice of meditation will become as commonplace as cleaning one’s teeth.

The Benefits of Meditation

Many clinical studies have proven that meditation increases the brain’s cortical thickness, protects the body from disease, and significantly improves focus and concentration.

Schneider, Grim & Rainforth et al. looked at 201 men and women with coronary heart disease who took part in one of two groups: a transcendental meditation (TM) program or a health education program. After five and a half years, the TM group showed a 48% risk reduction for heart attack and stroke.

Another study by Pagnoni & Cekiccompared gray matter in the brains of Zen meditators and non-meditators over a long period of time. Though gray matter ordinarily reduces with age, the gray matter of the Zen meditators did not reduce at all.

In the report, Pagnoni & Cekic stated:

“The finding of a reduced rate of decline with age of both global and regional gray matter volume in meditators may in fact indicate the involvement of multiple mechanisms of neuroprotection.”

Lazar & Kerr et al. reached a similar conclusion in a study on the impact of meditation on cortical thickness of the brain.

They found:

“Regular practice of meditation is associated with increased thickness in a subset of cortical regions related to somatosensory, auditory, visual and interoceptive processing. Further, regular meditation practice may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex.”

Goyal & Singh et al. studied 3515 participants in mindfulness meditation programs and found evidence of decreased anxiety, decreased depression and decreased pain.

Just imagine how much future generations of children would gain from this regular practice. The benefits are truly extraordinary. We need to do everything we can to bring meditation into schools. If we’re going to learn to live peacefully with one another, we must first discover that peace within ourselves.

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Author: Will Stanton / Wake Up World 

 

Ignorance is a Choice

Throughout recorded history, humankind have had very short lifespans. After the advent of agriculture, the average life expectancy shrunk to much less than 40 years. This is not a lot of time to figure out life. On top of that, with the advent of civilization, people had to toil most of the day under feudal lords. Most of them were slaves. Knowledge was scarce. Whatever knowledge was available was held by the elite. The high priests, royalty and the wealthy were the only ones with access to any knowledge. Most people were illiterate. They lived in ignorance.

At the advent of the printing press, knowledge became more available, especially in the developed countries. Libraries became common place and books became affordable. In many places around the world, people are offered a basic education for free. Our life span has nearly doubled, and knowledge exponentiated. Now most people have access to basic knowledge about atoms, quantum theory, stars and galaxies and so many things in between.

Then came the advent of the computer and the internet. Now we don’t have to wonder about things, we Google it. We live in the information age, and most knowledge is at our fingertips. Many universities have free online courses. There is no longer an excuse to be ignorant. It is a choice. Many people choose to remain ignorant. That is a misfortune.

In the ancient Puranas it is stated that a person’s situation in life is dependent upon two conditions: his energy and his intelligence. These are the main two factors that dictate a person’s life. If you don’t have sufficient intelligence, you won’t know how to properly apply your energy to accomplish things sufficiently or properly. If you don’t have sufficient intelligence, you will make many poor decisions that cause problems. I’ve seen this far too many times in my life. Common sense has become rare. There is a large percentage of Americans who are not interested in knowledge.

These are a few statistics of literacy in America:

  • 50% of U.S. adults are unable to read an 8th grade level book
  • 33% of U.S. high school graduates will never read a book after high school
  • 42% of college students will never read another book after they graduate
  • 80% of U.S. families did not buy a book this year
  • 70% of adults have not been in a book store in the past 5 years
  • American high school students today are reading books intended for children with reading levels of a 10 year old

As you can see, a large percentage of people in America choose to live in ignorance. They have no interest in exploring new topics, researching or asking questions. Could this be the fruition of public schools? They shove so much information into kids in their formative years so fast, that when they get out, they have lost their desire to learn. It’s as if they have no sense of wonder.

We are living in a society where most people have chosen to remain ignorant of so many things in their life. As the saying goes, you can spot a fool when he opens his mouth.

There is an old saying in India, “It is better to have an intelligent enemy than a foolish friend.”There is a long, intricate story about this and we see it all the time in our own lives. Foolish friends always seem to involve you in their problems; usually asking for help to fix whatever they wrecked.

The Information Age of Ignorance

So here we are in the information age, and the majority of the people choose to remain in ignorance. Then they complain about their situation. They cannot appreciate the fact that in the past, such knowledge was not even available. They have lost their sense of wonder. They are completely content to remain in ignorance.

I know people that seem incapable of even processing information. It’s as if they can’t hear what you are saying, or comprehend what they are reading. It doesn’t even register. And then there are the ones that can’t formulate simple sentences. Sometimes I wonder where I am.

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I am referring to practical knowledge. Practical knowledge is necessary to navigate safely through the matrix; knowing how things work, how to repair things, grow food, cook. The arts of logic, science, the arts, philosophy, psychology, critical thinking, creativity, originality, proper discernment can all be regarded as branches of knowledge as well. All of these can be very beneficial on one’s journey. But without proper practical knowledge, it is difficult to navigate through life without causing many problems.

I am not suggesting that everyone should go to college, get a Ph.D and be recognized as a genius. On the contrary, state schools are a big part of the problem. What I am speaking of is having enough knowledge to glide through life, rather than to stumble through, causing problems and breaking things.The ability to think clearly and process information are undervalued in our society. It’s important to use common sense and logic. The ability to have coherent conversations and be observant determine whether or not you fail or thrive in a society. To have the ability to comprehend complex ideas, and to have the desire to learn new things, make life interesting and worthwhile.

Something in our world is just not right!

When I was young, I seem to remember that most people had a head on their shoulders. People were smart enough, had their wits about them, could think straight and could converse intelligibly. It’s not like that anymore. Something has happened. It’s been interesting watching the world go through such dramatic changes in the last 50 years. You would think that people would become smarter, and some people have, but it seems the masses are going in the opposite direction swiftly. I imagine the state school systems are a major cause of this; that and TV.

An ignorant populace is easy to control. They don’t ask questions, they don’t look behind the curtain. They just accept what they are told. This is what has been engineered by the controllers. People have been expertly programmed to be obedient and ignorant slaves.

This is not an easy thing to wake up to, especially when you see that you were programmed to live out a life as one of those slaves. It’s challenging when you realize that you also ignored the truth that had been within arms reach for your entire life. I am constantly reminded that I was also programmed.

So now what do you do? How do you go about waking up people that are so deeply programmed, so uninterested in waking up, ignorant of the world they are living in, ready to attack you if you try to awaken them?

Which brings me to my final point. Perhaps I’ve been wrong. Maybe most people really don’t have a choice. It’s possible that others are stuck in their default mode of ignorance, unable to free themselves or be freed. The programming that has been active to dumb down the population is so all-encompassing, that it may be impossible for many people to even choose to wake up from their ignorance. Their brain just doesn’t function normally anymore. An overabundance of TV, state schools, processed food, fluoride, vaccinations, and so many other poisons, have stunted people’s brains.

Isn’t it ironic?

We have tremendous knowledge at our fingertips, and we have been dumbed down, hypnotized, to not be interested in it. Instead we’re easily distracted by a never ending stream of trivia. There is now an abundance of knowledge, and we cannot process it properly. In the past, when knowledge was scarce, people were hungry for it. Now that it is so easily available, no one appreciates it. Yes, it is ironic isn’t it?

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Author: Greg Calise – Wake Up World

Free Will – How Free Are We?

What is free will? Is it the freedom to do as you will? This is what is implied. Does this mean we are free to flout the laws of the land? Obviously not, so there goes a bit of freedom. Or does it? Do we need to flout the laws of the land? Probably not. So is that now freedom reclaimed?

On a physical level free will does not really mean so very much. It’s a term, a theory, rather than a reality. Most people are driven by the demons of their childhood conditioning, and the emotional baggage they incarnate with, so any action resulting from this conditioning is certainly not free will. It’s not so easy to recognise free will, or to actually experience it.

So physically, free will is more a perception than a reality. How about the freedom to believe whatever we will? Do we have this?

Actually, if you have any beliefs from your childhood, teen years and as an adult, no, you have taken on a whole boatload of other peoples’ beliefs and made them yours. There’s nothing free about this! Consider your religious beliefs; if you are Anglican, then that is the basis of your spiritual beliefs – no freedom there. Catholic, Buddhist, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, Mormon, Fundamentalist, Muslim, these and a whole lot more are all religious beliefs that you inherit or accept with the religion. No free will at all. Generally, we grow up with our parents’ beliefs until, as adults, many of us attempt to get rid of them. Reaction, no free will here! Reaction to anything means no free will. Reaction is the abdication of freedom. Reaction is fear based, coming from the past; no freedom in this. It would seem that free will is rather difficult. Do you have the free will to stop thinking for one minute? Yes, you have the free will to try, but very few people have freedom from their own negative thoughts for more than a moment or so! You have the freedom to speak truthfully all the time, but do you do this, or is the price of such a freedom too high?

Free will, even mentally, is a nice concept but seldom a reality.

How about emotional free will? Sorry, but that is surely the most impossible of all. I facilitate 5-day intensives in a number of countries every year, and I have yet to witness what I consider to be true emotional free will. Nothing about us gets to be more conditioned than our emotions. We either suppress or deny them. Our reactions are usually more emotional than mental, even though thought precedes emotion. Emotionally, we are a very needy species, and abysmally poor at sharing our true feelings with each other. Do we have the free will to talk to people on the street, and say positive or loving things to each other? Well, we actually do have the free will to do this, but we are too inhibited to do it. Public speaking is considered one of our greatest fears. Why? Because we fear rejection and ridicule. This is automatic, no freedom of choice. Of course, we can overcome this, but most people never do. Anger is not emotional free will; it is emotional reaction.

Sorry, we are too emotionally conditioned for emotional free will.

So, the very idea of truly free will is getting bashed around a bit! Surely, we actually do have free will. We know that governments do not like us to have too much freedom of any sort, apart from conceptual freedom. We have a press that attempts to direct and control our thinking; we have politicians who attempt to convince us that their clever lies are actual truth. Every politician knows that it is not the truth that is important; it is our “perception” of the truth that matters. We are pushed and pulled mentally and emotionally by methods of advertising that use mind control; in fact, we live in a world that actively discourages true free will. We live in a world where consensus reality says, “My will be done, not yours. The only free will you have is what I allow you.”

Modern society is more about controlled will than free will.

One of the most common human conditions I encounter is self-criticism. A word about this; Oneness means all life is connected. Physics talks of the web-of-life; same thing. What this actually means is there is nothing outside Self. I do not mean the identity self, but the metaphysical Being you truly are. So in reality, whoever or whatever you criticise, it is you that receives its sting. If it is nasty negative criticism, it is you the venom poisons. Consider the boomerang principle; whatever you put out comes back. In essence, “all” criticism is self-criticism. Very few people can find the free will to end self-criticism. So much for free will! But it is possible. I do not criticise myself, although I used to, very heavily so. Self-criticism causes anxiety and depression, leading to heart disease and failing health, yet even this is not enough for us to find the free will to stop. Why not? Because our will is conditioned, not free. It’s the same with self-judgement, along with its old friend self-comparison. So many people bestow these conditions on themselves, knowing that it is to their overall detriment. Why? It makes no sense. Where is the free will to simply stop doing it? Why do we indulge in negative self-destruction? Whatever happened to free will?

Free will is not doing too well, is it? What free will?

Okay, enough; it’s time to showcase true “free will.” But let us be very clear about this, free will is a demanding choice. Yes, you can find the freedom to choose your thoughts, but it is not easy. Simple, but not easy!

First and foremost, free will demands that you live consciously. What’s that you say, you do live consciously? I doubt it. Most of the world’s population lives subconsciously between roughly ninety-three percent of each day. This means you! Think about it for a moment. Living subconsciously, you do not have free will. For better or worse, you are living from a program of the past . . . and it’s mostly worse! The good news is that, just occasionally, you indulge in original thinking, and the suddenly freed will suggests that it would be a good idea to erase the program of control. The moment passes, the program reasserts itself, and you decide that you will do it – tomorrow. And we all know that tomorrow never quite arrives!

Is it your free will in action when you decide to follow your “own” spiritual path? Or is this your long ago soul choice coming into its time? It is your conditioned subconscious program that causes you to procrastinate along the path of life. We really do sabotage most attempts we make to think freely, without any bias. Thinking freely does not mean thinking in the way we were taught at school, nor does it mean getting stuck in left-brain dominant thoughts. It means to allow your brain to   become attuned to a higher energy, while new and creative thought flows through the brain’s receptive centres. Usually, we churn out thoughts from the transmit centre; seldom are we receptive.

I have found, oddly, that it takes great self-discipline to cultivate free will, yet you eventually reach the place where free will is disciplined by no discipline at all. I did say that it’s odd! It would seem that you have to battle the mind to gain the freedom to think positive selective thoughts, but this is not so. By battling the mind, you create the very opposition that you are battling. This is not the way. As I have said, it is required that you live consciously. Be aware of your thoughts, observe them rather than censure them. Once you have established a pattern of being conscious, you will find that by focussing on the elevation of your thinking, rather than allowing thoughts to go their own capricious way, your thoughts and thinking will become more free, more receptive, revealing insights into life and living that cause the heart to sing.

To truly exercise free will, your whole body, your whole Beingness, is, as it were, more fine-tuned than anything you have ever known. You begin to experience a freedom you had never imagined. Mostly – and we can all slip – you are able to respond to life’s situations, rather than react. Fear reacts, Love responds. Fear comes from the conditioned past, while Love comes only from the moment. When you respond to life, you find that this is a more joyous way to live, and the brain actually likes it, releasing the appropriate ‘happy’ enzymes and hormones to share its pleasure with the body. Mind you, this is whole-brain activity, not left-brain dominant.

The actuality of free will is very different from the concept of it. To actually live from free will becomes a bit of a joke. You ask yourself, just who does this free will belong to? Does it belong to me, the identity, as my own choice? Or, does it belong to a higher aspect of me that I call Self, and this so-called free will is actually the will of Self. And you ask, did I learn or find free will, or has it always been here… just out of reach. Have I gained free will because I have submitted to Self, and if I did this, just how free is my will?

Did I choose my spiritual path from free will? Did I unwittingly and unrelentingly put myself through so much pain and suffering to become enlightened from free will? Or, did the will of Self, the Being I am, re-assert itself at the most appropriate time in my present incarnation?

If life has taught me anything, it is that true free will is freely living from the will of Self. And the will of Self is spiritual growth. So free will is more of a surrender than an acquisition. I surrendered to a higher will than the will of my identity-self; the will I surrendered to is the will of the immortal Self I am.

I have played with the subject of free will and I have enjoyed it, but I have not written my words frivolously. I have presented what I consider some serious food for thought. Maybe I have shown you a good reason to surrender your free will to the freedom of will that is already awaiting you. But, you still have to get past that conditioned program!

Never mind  – If I can, you can. Remember, you can only do it consciously!

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Author: Michaels J. Roads – Wake Up World

Taking Responsibility For Our Energy

For some, what I am about to share might seem radical, ridiculous, or even crazy, and for others will appear self-evident. I feel compelled to actively put it out there because I feel in many respects it is a crucial key to shifting our reality; the more people who take it to heart, the better our collective outlook will be.

At an early stage in my journey I became aware of the fact that each human is in fact a fractal of the whole. Deep within the vastness of our being we each contain every essence, every type of energy from the most sublimely divine to the most wickedly depraved. Initially when this realisation came to me it was quite abstract and there was a distance between me and the idea. However, as I explored the deeper regions of my being I found myself coming face to face with aspects that showed me that this was not just some faraway concept, it was a hardcore reality.

The more I explored my inner world the clearer it became that we implicitly contain every energetic expression. I realized that there was nothing that I could see in my outer world that was not in essence a part of me. Initially I was frightened by the understanding that I contained such dark and horrible pieces. Did this mean that I was evil? I didn’t want to be evil. Those guys out there are sociopaths, I am not a sociopath; I would never do those things, perpetrate those acts. On some level I feared that if I allowed myself to accept the dark aspects, I would become them. The only sane, good option it seemed was to leave them unclaimed; to reject them. However, as I explored these uncomfortable parts of myself it eventually occurred to me that it was actually possible to ‘own’ these parts without choosing to enact them. After all I am a sovereign being with the ability to decide what actions I deem worthy of expression. I could claim all my dark, ugly bits, bring them into conscious awareness, and still choose to operate from a space of love.

Casting Out The Dark

As young developing humans most of us learn to reject ‘undesirable’ aspects, to repress them in order to feel comfortable with our selves, and to ensure acceptance in our social group. We select what we are, and what we are not. In order to elucidate I will use the most basic example: I am light, I am not dark. However, if we are truly a reflection of the whole, then we should contain everything, even darkness. In rejecting and ‘disowning’ our dark parts we cast them out. But where do they go? I suspect this energy, cast out of our inner world, manifests in our external reality.

Rejected as part of the whole, thrown away from love, these elements seek to be re-integrated. They show up everywhere in our environment waiting for recognition. We perceive them as threats, and try to fight or ignore them. This doesn’t work; it only exacerbates the problem and reinforces the dualistic state caused by the self-imposed separation. If we recognize that external reality is a reflection of our inner state, it becomes clear that it is important that we take responsibility for our energy. In order stop adding to the problem we need to cease focusing so much on the outside and do some inner housekeeping. By healing our inner world, through acknowledgement of all that we truly are, we take responsibility for our energy and cease contributing to the darkness of our outer collective reality.

In order to illustrate my point I will use an analogy of a gardener. Imagine each of us is a gardener who has been gifted with the responsibility of managing every seed in existence. As this gardener we become aware that there are some seeds that develop into beautiful food and flowers. We value these seeds and carefully plant and nurture them. However, we also believe that some seeds grow into nasty weeds. Fearing the potential of these seeds we don’t want to be associated with them so, like most other gardeners in our world, we toss them away into the wind. ‘This is not me I want nothing to do with these seeds.’ These unclaimed, unmanaged seeds end up everywhere and thrive and threaten to dominate our environment. No one is willing to take responsibility for these plants. ‘No, I would never plant such a seed; this plant has nothing to do with me. It must just be the nature of reality.’

If instead we accepted responsibility for ‘owning’ the whole gamut of seeds, we could cease contributing to the communal problem. As a wise gardener we would not toss the potentially dangerous seeds away, we would do the opposite, aware of their power, we would keep them close by, where they could be kept in check and managed responsibly.

Continuing on with the gardening analogy, when we stop fearing the seeds that we allowed to get out of control through neglect and mismanagement, we might discover that judging them as weeds may have been rash decision triggered by fear and misunderstanding. If instead of pushing away the dark seeds, we chose to look at them more closely, we might discover that they have valuable qualities and attributes that we were previously unaware of. When tended and cultivated consciously, with understanding and awareness, we might find that their growth can actually have benefits for the whole.

“Like colors to an artist, there is no good or bad, the whole spectrum is available for expression. The darker colors are necessary to add depth, and when used appropriately, with awareness of the whole, are vital components of the emerging beauty.” ~ Jump Into the Blue.

Acknowledging The Wholeness

The more of us who assume responsibility of our own darkness, the less truant energy will be available to continue to animate the dark story that has been unfolding on this planet. Are we ready to stop being irresponsible gardeners dominated by unconsciously driven manifestations? Are we ready to stop placing the blame ‘out there’? Are we ready to own all that we truly are and stop denying our accountability? Are we ready to become custodians of our reality, acknowledging the wholeness of our being, so that we can consciously determine which elements we want to cultivate in our external reality? Rather than working to repress, fight, and deny some of what we are, let’s become mindful co-creators, nurturing and guiding a peaceful world based on love and beauty in full awareness of all that we are.

There are many approaches to begin exploring our inner world and integrating our shadow aspects. Carl Jung, a pioneer of shadow work, wrote much on the subject, and there are many great books and healers that teach strategies to facilitate the process. However, the most important attributes of initiating inner healing include being open, and willing to look at oneself as honestly as possible. A lot of my personal work takes place in meditation or in the bath. However, with certain challenging aspects I worked with a soul retrieval practitioner. She held space, and assisted me to connect with, and create an opening in my heart for some of my more stubborn, hidden, or sneaky parts.

The beauty of this work is that, not only does it contribute to healing our collective reality, it also creates powerful shifts on a personal level. When we face and integrate our fears and all our bits that we previously avoided, we find a new level of inner peace, solidity and wholeness.

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Author: Christina Lavers – Wake Up World

Awakening: The Next Step

Step 1. Wake up… Step 2. Open my eyes… Step 3… Get out of bed. Step 4…Do what needs to be done.

If we’re going to keep our eyes closed, there’s no reason to wake up. We have to take off our chosen blinders and open our eyes. Otherwise, what’s the point? We might as well keep dreaming.

As Gran put it, it’s hard to wake up someone who’s pretending to be asleep.

Waking up – awakening, moments of enlightenment, whatever you want to call it – is not about feeling good all the time, floating so high off the surface of this planet that we no longer relate to the people on it, flaunting our privilege to avoid or ignore problems. Waking up is about opening our eyes to the realities of the needs of the planet and its people. It’s about seeing the disparities around us, in all the forms they take, and it’s about taking action, right here, right now, taking our fair share of responsibility, and setting to work to right the wrongs we’re more than capable of addressing.

You know that moment, early in the morning, when you wake up, but you didn’t want to just yet – and you can hear the birds calling? You know if you open your eyes the light will penetrate and there will be no going back to sleep. I think that’s where a lot of us are right now. We’re really awake. We can hear the sounds and feel the movement around us. We know perfectly well what’s going on. But for whatever reason, we don’t want to wake up just yet. That bed feels so safe, so warm, so comforting. And out there – well, who knows what’s waiting out there. But we’re pretty sure it won’t be warm, much less comforting.

So we’re still lying there, covers pulled over our heads. Faking it. But the dog knows we’re awake. And the cat knows. And the kids peeking over the edge of the bed know. They can sense the difference in our breathing.

It serves no one to rationalize about those who are still genuinely sleeping, or to hope that the eagerly awaiting toddler will head off to the other room, where Momma or Daddy has already begun the tasks of the day. That’s not my business, nor is it yours. We know that each person is in a different place, prepared for and dealing with his or her own unique responsibility. There are those who are ready to spring into action, those already awake and fully functioning. There are those still dozing, in that state of lucid dreaming, not yet sure what is real and what isn’t. There are those who are awake, but for whatever reason, just can’t bring themselves to face reality. There’s a reason for that, one that needs some digging, and most likely needs some loving. And then there are the heavy sleepers among us, still sawing logs, still breaking themselves against the laws of sustainability and right living.

If we stay there long enough, delaying that moment, drawing out the night, clinging to an idea that no longer makes sense, no matter how comfortable the bed we’ve collectively built for ourselves may seem at the moment, alarms will start to go off. In fact, they already are. They’re shrilling in the distance, growing louder and more numerous by the moment. Alarms may feel like a must for early mornings, but they’re not a very effective way to live. They usually mean something is dreadfully wrong. Are you sure you want to take that risk? Can you afford it? What are the consequences, and are you willing to pay them? Not just down the road, but today?

As we awaken, those who have waited for sirens in their personal lives, sometimes even waited past them, oblivious to the warning call, may enter and engage with their souls’ dark night. During this vital passage, one’s energy may be compelled temporarily to focus primarily or even exclusively on what appears to be personal situations. We who are not in that position, who perhaps have already gone through our own dark nights, will know to gently allow and love each person through this time. In that moment, it will be his or her most important focus, this death-rebirth creation cycle. It is not ours to judge or to compel them to take action elsewhere, which may serve only as a distraction for them, and as a good way to not notice our own alarm bells ringing in the distance.

What about me? What choice will I make, right here, right now? My outer child may ask that age-old question: Why do I always have to be the grown-up? The answer is simple: Because I can. The burden of responsibility lies with the one who is capable. That’s the only answer I need. That’s the only answer we need. That next right step will appear directly in front of me if I’ll pay attention for it. I don’t need to think about a million miles down the road, or try to imagine how the entire scene will play out. That can lead to overwhelm and despair, and the fear of that emotion can prompt hitting the snooze button just one more time.

No. Today, all I need to do, all you need to do, is that next right step. You already know what it is. Like the poem says, start close in. Get calm, get quiet, ask yourself – and you’ll know.

So it’s up to the grown-ups now. Will we open our eyes? Will we get out of bed and do what needs to be done?

What we see may hurt, but only then can we begin to make things better. Love yourself, be gentle with yourself, but please – please – please – open your eyes. Get out of bed. It’s time to get busy.

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Author: Mary Batson – Wake up World

You Are The Infinite Explorer

How does anything ever change on this planet? Through people empowering themselves with the conviction that one person can make an impressionable difference in something. This internal belief has the power to do everything from disempowering corrupt systems to nurturing consciously evolved social ideas.

Yet, with the awareness of this power should come the awareness that we cannot force sleepers to become awakened. A sleeper is someone who has not yet realized that every single aspect within this vast and infinite matrix of consciousness that observably can be called the Universe/Multiverse is interconnected. Let the sleepers enjoy their rest… their slumber will end soon enough, when the time is right.

This realization can be explosive, and in the negative sense if forced onto someone who is not ready to become awakened. Those minds which are unprepared for this expanded level of awareness should be left alone for the time being. They feel that all their needs, wants, and desires are satisfied by the hallucination of culture and therefore should be left alone for now. Hope however that one day, following their own pace and on their own time, they will feel the pull to take an inner path to self-realization.

With the power that you hold within yourself, do not try to convert; do not try to take off the rose-colored glasses people may have on. As Terrence McKenna said many times, find the others. Find those that have the will, courage, and determination to travel down the path towards self-realization and consciousness expansion. These are the people you should focus on, as they have taken the most difficult step…they have awakened.

Nobody has expressed this undertaking more beautifully than perhaps Pierre Teilhard de Chardin when he said that “there is an almost sensual longing for communion with others who have a larger vision. The immense fulfillment of the friendships between those engaged in furthering the evolution of consciousness has a quality almost impossible to describe.” Remember that everything is energy and if we try to work with individuals who are radiating an energy that is diametrically opposite of ours, serenity and rapport cannot be reached.

Theoretically it may be possible to grab someone by the hand and get them on the inner path (this most often occurs through the use of entheogens). However, the end result is unpredictable and may cost of us more time, energy, and effort than it is worth. Share, support, and learn from other awakened souls who share the same passion, vision, and quest as you do. You will notice very quickly that the more you converge with such people, the faster you will feel that you yourself will rise into the highest echelons of consciousness. Feeding off each others’ energy, you will climb, you will fly, you will transcend.
By realizing that the power you need in order to become consciously evolved and eventually enlightened is within you, no more will you be fooled by others into believing that there is any single belief system or school of thought that has all the answers.

It’s like the Buddha said, “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

By empowering the infinite explorer that is your Self, you cease living a shadow of what you are and start living as a liberated soul on a quest to experiencing happiness and bliss as a perpetual state of consciousness that helps shift the collective consciousness of humanity to that very same level.

You are the catalyst for change. You are the awakened that will help transform humanity into something greater. You will be an example of what a consciously evolved human race looks like. Be mindful that everyone is growing at their own pace in their own time. There is no need to prove anything to anyone that is not ready for blunt and perception-shifting realizations. All good things come in due time. Seek out the others who have already embarked on the inner path and who no longer wish to be a part of a hallucinatory reality.

They are out there, and their numbers grow every day. Seek them out in any way you are able to. With today’s technology, this is easier than it has ever been in history, period. So go on and find the others who also realize that the power is within them. Together, we can live a future that is based on unity rather than separateness…a future where love is more expansive than hate. Say it can’t happen and it won’t. Turn this dream into a reality.

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Author: Paul Lenda / Wake Up World

Emotional Energetic Healing: The Future of Medicine is Here

“Everything is energy.” ~ Albert Einstein

Energy medicine is at once time-honored and new. Whether using traditional forms like acupuncture, t’ai chi and reiki or modern applications such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), magnetic, vibrational or music therapy, working with the human energetic system to create wellness is an esteemed practice that produces tangible results.

According to Dr. Erin Olivio in the article Energy Medicine: “The field of energy medicine involving putative energy fields is based on the fundamental premise that all physical objects (bodies) and psychological processes (thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes) are expressions of energy. Therefore, all bodies are believed to be infused with a “subtle” energy or life force. This life force is known by a variety of terms corresponding to different traditions. Intraditional Chinese medicine it is called qi (pronounced CHEE), in the Judeo-Christian tradition it is called spirit, and in Ayurvedic medicine it is represented in the doshas.”

What the ancients recognized, science is now validating. Candace Pert, PhD, is one researcher who has significantly contributed to the legitimate study of Mind-Body Medicine.

How emotions affect physiology

“Most psychologists treat the mind as disembodied, a phenomenon with little or no connection to the physical body. Conversely, physicians treat the body with no regard to the mind or emotions. But the body and mind are not separate, and we cannot treat one without the other.” ~ Dr. Candice Pert

In Dr. Pert’s book, Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine, she explains how a class of proteins called peptides (including endorphins) act as a nervous system, delivering information throughout the body. Her theory is that the surface of each cell is covered with receptors for specific peptides. These free-floating molecules function as messengers. When we have a specific emotion, a cascade of peptides are released that ultimately influence our body.

Paul Trachtman explains how this sequence works in Smithsonian Magazine:

“… it’s through the emotion-modulating peptides that an embarrassing thought can cause blood vessels to dilate and turn a face beet red. In the same way, the molecules of emotion can mobilize immune cells to destroy an incipient tumor. Techniques like meditation or visualization may also act as forces to set those molecules in action.”

The question is: If emotions alter the functioning of the body, how do we experience healing by addressing subconscious negative emotional patterns?

This is the topic of a cutting-edge documentary on Mind-Body Medicine: E-Motion.

The energy of emotions

Leaders in the field of energetic medicine — including Sonia Choquette, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Dr. Bradley Nelson, Don Tolman, and others — explore the connection between emotions, the body and health in the documentary.

Taking into account the subconscious mind is 1000 times more powerful than the conscious mind, we are likely to ask: What actually controls it? The answer lies with unresolved emotions.

When we have traumatic perceptions buried in our subconscious mind, these emotional memories — when triggered — will cause a reaction in the body that sets-off a cascade of stress hormones, thereby altering our physiology.

How are these negative perceptions created? By our thoughts, because thoughts create emotions. And when we feel an emotion strongly enough, it will become trapped and disrupt the energy field of the body. Anger, aggression, anxiety, depression, sadness — these negative emotions will lodge themselves in the body and are the leading cause of physical pain. Eventually, if the blockage isn’t cleared, disease will develop.

Dr. Joseph Mercola provides an example:

“… those suffering from depression will often experience chest pains, even when there’s nothing physically wrong with their heart. Extreme grief can also have a devastating impact — not for nothing is the saying that someone “died from a broken heart.” In the days after losing a loved one, your risk of suffering a heart attack shoots up by 21 times!”

He also points out:

“Your body cannot tell the difference between an actual experience that triggers an emotional response, and an emotion fabricated through thought process alone — such as when worrying about something negative that might occur but has not actually happened, or conversely, thinking about something positive and pleasant.

“The fact that you can activate your body’s stress response (which produces chemicals that can make you sick) simply by thinking means that you wield tremendous power over your physical state in every moment. Moreover, it means that you can literally manifest disease, or healing, by thinking.”

Needless to say, in order to enjoy vibrant health, it’s vitally important to release emotional baggage.

Tips on how to ditch toxic emotional imprints

The team of experts in E-Motion believe there are active steps we can take to heal the body, the subconscious mind and our overall health. Here are a few:

  • Always remember that our mind is the key to healing.
  • Expect good things in life.
  • Slowdown when you feel a negative emotion arise and acknowledge it, then honor and release.
  • Be clear about your purpose in life. To discover your calling, answer the question: “If I weren’t afraid, I would …”
  • Focus on the color of food to heal the chakra centers. For example, exposure to sunlight + eating pineapple and oranges will help fortify the 2nd and 3rd chakras, which helps alleviate depression.
  • Participate regularly in a water fast to clear problematic emotions from the body.
  • Learn The Emotion Code technique by Dr. Bradley Nelson to rapidly release stuck emotions.

And finally, never underestimate the healing power of gratitude and liberal self-love.

 

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Author Carolanne Wright / Wake Up World 

Tigers and Snow Leopards Thriving in Bhutan

Biologically, Bhutan straddles an area with high biodiversity richness—the Eastern Himalayas. Precipitation from the monsoons, great altitudinal variation, and its location connecting the Indian plains to the high Himalayan peaks on the edge of the Tibetan plateau allow for an amazing assemblage of biodiversity that is still being discovered today. Bhutan is the only place on Earth where snow leopards and tigers share the same habitat. Recent survey results show that both these endangered large cats are not only surviving, but thriving, in Bhutan.

Bhutan is providing new insights on tiger biology. Tigers were once considered a creature of the tropical forests of Asia and the temperate forests of the Russian Far East, but Bhutan has proven to science that one can find tigers even in places above 4000 m. Contrary to earlier assumptions, the middle hills of Bhutan are an equally important haven for tigers. According to tiger biologist Tshering Tempa, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (JSWNP), in central Bhutan, could have as many as 26 tigers, with a density of 2 tigers per 100 sq km.

This park further connects with the rich Royal Manas National Park to the south and Jigme Dorji National Park to the north, that extends to the Tibetan border. Tigers have been recorded from all three parks.

Tempa is head of the Department of Conservation Biology at the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE) and part of a team of government researchers currently conducting the national tiger survey for Bhutan. Tempa’s tiger surveys have been supported by the Bhutan Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Karuna Foundation, and the University of Montana. World Wildlife Fund-Bhutan and the Wildlife Conservation Division of the Department of Forest and Park Services are other partners in the national tiger survey.

“Results from our study have changed the way we view our forest. We documented seven species of wild cats in JSWNP and for the first time, recorded tigers with cubs at 2500 m,” states Tempa with excitement. “This is huge for tiger conservation—with adequate prey and contiguous habitat, tigers can adapt to varying landscapes, even high mountains.”

The tiger survey also recorded gaur, a large wild bovid, at 4100 m—a new record for this tropical and subtropical ungulate. “The forests of Bhutan continue to fascinate us through such findings. Our data indicate that the future of tigers and many endangered species in the region will benefit from the pristine and contiguous forests of Bhutan. Imagine, in Bhutan, a tiger can travel all the way from the foothills on the Indian border to the high Himalayas. It is the tremendous prey biomass and habitat contiguity that allow this,” Tempa concludes.

Nawang Norbu, Director of UWICE, posits that Bhutan is a vital link for the survival of true wilderness in Asia today:

“When we think of the Himalayas, the image which is most familiar is that of the high snow-clad mountains. But the Himalayas are more than that. Given that habitats rise from sea level up to alpine meadows within a vertical climb of less than 100 km, biodiversity in all its glory, encompassing sub-tropical to alpine species, can be experienced within a narrow stretch. This diversity and richness of birds, plants and other biodiversity are imperiled across much of the Himalayas due to land-use change and a burgeoning human population. Having maintained a forest cover of over 70% and with more than half of all its land under protected area status, Bhutan remains an exception and continues to provide safe habitats required for most of Himalayan biodiversity. Endangered bird species such as the charismatic Rufous-necked hornbills are common sightings in Bhutan. In Nepal and surrounding areas, such birds are believed to have gone locally extinct. Bhutan still maintains a human population of less than a million thereby exerting minimal pressure on natural habitats. In my mind, there is no doubt that Bhutan is the last refugia for Himalayan biodiversity.”

PA-map-600x465

Bhutan’s protected areas and biological corridor network cover more than half of the country. (Map: DoFPS)

“Bhutan has benefited from far-sighted leadership of our kings and subsequent governments. Our responsibility is to pass on this intact environment to our future generations,” states Chencho Norbu, Director General of Bhutan’s Department of Forest and Park Services.

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Author Tshewang Wangchuk

From article “Bhutan: a Frontier for Culture, Biodiversity, and Adventure” / National Geographic 

Waking Up From The Biggest Illusion In The World

We live here on Earth, together with billions of fellow human beings. That we live is an irrefutable empirical fact. Similarly, the fact that other people live on Earth, too, is also an empirical fact.

We do not merely live, however, but we are also personalities. We are personalities who are similar to each other in various respects, and largely different from each other in other respects. That we are personalities, different from each other is also an empirical fact for us.

Out of these two experiences, however, only one is true, the other is deception. Only one is a fact, the other is an illusion, and the biggest illusion in the world at that.

The Beginnings of the Illusion

Let us take a closer look and examine which of the two experiences is true and which is a mere illusion.

Our life in this world begins when we are born. It is obvious that we are alive, but we are not yet a personality. At that time only the simplicity and greatness of the present moment, of existence, is known to us.

The society, and its culture, is what shapes us into personalities while we grow up. We become a personality when our Ego is born. This is an inevitable step in the evolution of the Consciousness, so there is nothing wrong with that. The Ego is born, the separate little Self, as a focus of the Consciousness. That little Self obtains experience about itself and the world. In the natural course of evolution and as a result of the experience gathered, the Ego withdraws to give way to the process as a result of which Consciousness awakens to its own existence through a human form.

The progress of this evolutionary process can, however, be impeded by an illusion: the illusion that the individual is becoming somebody, a personality. We begin to become somebody, a personality, when we start to identify with the Ego, with that separate little Self. Under that illusion we believe that the Ego is a reality, and we are identical with the Ego, and the development of the separate little Self is in fact the foundation of our personal development. Nowadays it is virtually impossible to avoid that kind of illusion, since mankind has lived in it for thousands of years. The deception has become independent, and the illusion of the Ego is now a reality for the entire mankind, including, naturally, us.

The Nature of the Illusion

Our identification with the Ego makes us therefore somebody, a personality. On the other hand, our identification with the Ego will be the root of all our problems and misery. Since around us everybody considers the Ego as the most important centre of their life, we are also brought up by our parents to have a powerful Ego, a centre point in our life, by the time we reach adulthood. It is necessary because our society–and its culture–favors and worships the individuals with a powerful Ego.

Our parents and teachers bring us up in the spirit of the permanent endeavors to become somebody, to become a strong personality, to become somebody different from what are now (to become bigger, more important and better than other people). That is why we always watch the other people, we compare and measure ourselves to them. All that time, we also try to adjust our actions and deeds to the expectations and opinions of others. We keep dealing with the past and the future, and we never have sufficient time to stop and notice the immense illusion behind our life.

The End of the Illusion

An illusion may only survive if it is continually fanned and nourished. If we take a look around through innocent eyes (that is, through eyes free of any kind of opinions) we will soon realize how every society nourishes and fans, through its various institutions, the illusion of the separate little Self, the Ego. How they nourish the illusion of ”somebodyness” in us and in everybody else. All that may take place because every society, every culture is based upon individuals, and if those individuals disappear, they wake up from their ”somebodyness,” the former modus operandi of that society collapses.

That is why Eckhart Tolle is perfectly right when he asserts that the world can only change from inside. The internal change means that we wake up from our ”somebodyness” and we begin to understand what our mission is in the evolutionary progress of the Consciousness.

We must therefore wake up from the illusion of our ”somebodyness” in order to concentrate our attention on reality. That reality is nothing but the innermost empirical fact in our life, that is, the fact that we live, and we constitute a vibrating Consciousness, full of life. That is the reality that has been shrouded from us by the illusion, the mistake that we concentrated all our efforts on sustaining our ”somebodyness.”

If we stop nourishing that illusion, it will vanish after a while. In order to sever the power line of the illusion, we must learn how to notice the vividness and beauty of the present moment. Once we are able to accept the present moment, we are able to accept ourselves and we are able to enjoy the simplicity, tranquility and peace of existence. The Ego and the experience of ”somebodyness” then disappear, and we remain nothing but pure, vibrating energy, Life itself.

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Author: Frank M. Wanderer, Ph.D – Wake Up World

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