Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Distractions and the spiritual journey

It can be hard to find a balance between everyday life and spiritual life when you are around people that are not aware/awakened. You may be at risk to find yourself distracted as you move along in your spiritual journey. This is the ego’s attempt to steer you away from connecting to the source. After all, the ego likes the way life used to be before you woke up and doesn’t like to lose its grip on you. These distractions can “numb” you and make you “forget” what it is that you set out to do. But, why does this happen?

When you go through a spiritual awakening the ideals, objectives, and constructs you hold on to are falling away from you. Those are the elements that are not part of who you are. This change will happen by itself because it is all part of the process to become your authentic self. Inner work is needed to align the authentic self with your soul’s purpose and mission in life. Self-analysis, healing and energy work are all part of this process. However, some of you are stubborn and not willing to let go of the illusions around you and align with the distractions that are found everywhere. When you choose this path you will have to learn the lessons “the hard way”. You’ll move from one illusion to the next until you realize that you are not going anywhere. This can also cause a lot of pain and suffering. You have free choice and depending on what you choose you can either follow the path of essence (the soul), or the path of many distractions (the ego). There comes a time in your spiritual journey when you become aware of the meaningless nature of distractions. You will learn to discard them and focus on your essence.

Distractions are karmic, they are the very foundation of the ego. It is the way we protect ourselves against both the pain of life and the open space of an awakened mind. Distractions stem from things that were left unfinished, ended poorly, caused pain and trauma (from this life or from past lives) and this is also known as the “karmic wheel”.  Being distracted keeps your soul from what it wants to do now. It is so easy to blame the external world of distractions, social network, television, the people in our lives and so on. Yet, objects are objects, sounds are sounds, thoughts are thoughts, it is nothing more unless we make it so. Buddhist teachings talk more in terms of the wandering mind than distractions. We take responsibility when we look inward for the source of our problem.

The word distraction means to be pulled away. You can change the way that you react to distractions by doing a mindfulness meditation practice. It will help you develop a more calm and stable mind and it will give you a greater focus and concentration and is an effective way to overcome ordinary distractions. It is very useful to be more focused on what you are doing, but in order to resolve it you need to look deeper. What is the distraction telling you? What are you not willing to see and why?
Aspects of distractions are: to be scatterbrained, mentally jumpy. Buddhism calls this the “monkey mind.”

Let’s break it down according to Buddhist psychology:
Distraction is classified as one of the twenty destabilizing factors of the mind. It is not just a mental problem, it is also highly emotional. It is fueled by grasping, rejecting and denial. The wandering mind is drawn to objects that cause it to lose focus; this is a specific kind of distraction. It steers the attention away from what is authentic. When the mind wanders action is needed to pull the attention back and this requires to track down the internal cause of distraction. You create the distraction because you have a need for it, this is also called the entertainment mind. When you figure out what this need is, you can bring it into awareness and let it go. The entertainment mind is our subconscious “gossip” and it has the need to be fed constantly this results in creating distractions. When we are distracted we won’ have to look at who we are, feel what we feel, see what we see, and so on.

The destabilizing factors:

Afflictions derived from anger: Wrath, vengeance (holding a grudge), spite, jealousy (envy), and harmfulness (cruelty).
Afflictions derived from attachment: Miserliness (holding on to possessions), complacency (haughtiness), and excitement (agitation).
Afflictions derived from ignorance: Concealment, dullness (foggy mind), laziness, lack of faith, forgetfulness, and non-introspective awareness (careless indifference).
Afflictions derived from both attachment and ignorance: Pretension, dishonesty.
Afflictions derived from all three poisonous attitudes: Lack of integrity, inconsideration for others, unconsciousness, distraction (a mental factor that arises from any of the three poisonous attitudes and being unable to direct the mind towards a constructive object disperses it to a variety of other objects).

Working with distractions is a long-term project and the spiritual journey is the path to unmasking. We have to start over by letting everything go. When we realize that everything around us is an illusion we can begin to relax and start to see a new way. Distraction can be annoying and frustrating, but they can also create awareness. The moment it arises the chance to break through to see what lies behind the distraction also arises which only adds to our spiritual growth. When you commit to what your soul wants, the karmic elements will start to lose its grip and fade away. Follow your soul, because this is where the light is and seek only what is meaningful to your spiritual journey.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Using your own emotions for healing


When you experience a spiritual awakening your entire perspective of what once was will change for the most part. You woke up to the world around you and are now able to see through the lies that society placed upon you. You were raised according to the beliefs and values of your parents and caretakers, their opinions became part of yours. However, are they true?

The search for a deeper meaning to life started after I felt lost and alone. I had no idea who I was and only believed what life showed me, the good, the bad and the ugly. I've said it many times, "This world is not my home." This may be true, yet, I am a part of it for as long as I live. Somewhere down the line I forgot how to listen to my own voice by adopting "truths" that didn't resonate with who I truly was as an individual. I learned that there was no such thing as right or wrong, there just is. My significant moments in life had to do with the level of awareness I had at that time and the level of awareness of the people around me. For example: It's hard to convince someone of your truth when they are not able to see it your way. You can fight it by trying to convince someone or you can choose to let it go and move on. It's natural to feel this way when we experience the dualistic nature of the world around us. Which in spiritual terms is also known as the physical realm.

Whatever it is that happened to you in the past was needed to prepare you for a life after awakening. When you awaken the process of letting go of everything that does not serve you any more purpose starts. Relax, it is a normal part of the awakening process and will become easier to practice the longer you travel the spiritual path. But, where do you start?

Let's break it down!

The three marks of existence:
Buddha taught that all beings conditioned by causes are impermanent and suffering, and that not-self characterizes all Dharma (cosmic law and order). Meaning there is no "I" "me" or "mine" in either the conditioned or the unconditioned.

Everything that exists in the universe is subject to three characteristics:
Anicca = Everything is limited to a certain duration and, consequently, liable to disappear.
Dukkha = Everything is unsatisfactory. There is nothing that can be relied upon, there is nothing that can bring true happiness.
Anatta = Everything is deprived of a self. There is no self-inherent entity, nothing that can be controlled.

Every cloud has a silver lining
Anicca is a pali word composed with two combined words: "nicca" and the privative particle "a". "Nicca" implies the idea of permanence, of continuity. Anicca means the absence of continuity, the absence of permanence. It is a universal law that can be applied to all phenomena of the universe including our sensual experiences. Anything perceived by us is inherently subject to decay from the moment it appears and will inevitably disappear. Yet, the phenomena itself (significant moment in our life) may not last forever, it will stay with us as a part of our memory and turn into an emotional blockage when it stays unresolved.

Dukkha means sorrow, pain, suffering. It is a dominant characteristic in the world we live in. Suffering manifests in different forms: Sorrow when experiencing sadness, misery, even sorrow that can be felt when one indulges in pleasure (The object / situation creating pleasure will become repulsive). Dukkha is the pain to be separated from those we love, but also that of having to endure the presence of those whom we do not love. As we go through life we find ourselves in painful situations. When we accept any situations as it is we are able to embrace the present moment, which can be very challenging to do.

Anatta is a Pali word and not a Sanskrit word, and has nothing in common with Anatman.
It can only be taught, explored, revealed and expounded by an omniscient Buddha. That is to say a perfect being. The monk Gotama, the awakened one, whom we call Buddha, has discovered this principle. He discovered something entirely new in the course of evolution of all the spiritual traditions of humanity. Anatta is complete awakening. It is essential to our own spiritual awakening, according to our own skills, to at least succeed in achieving a basic and accessible understanding of what awakening is all about.

What does this spiritual knowledge teach us about our emotions?
This spiritual knowledge gives us a deeper understanding that our life consist of experiences of all kinds and adds on to our overall being. It is needed to eventual become awakened. Our spiritual journey truly begins when we have a spiritual awakening. Our emotions no longer lead us instead they become an opportunity, a sign, to deal with unresolved trauma. Resolving emotional blockages requires more than just awareness and the willingness to let go. It also calls for wisdom, for understanding. For example: When you grow up feeling unloved and you want to release the memory for healing, it is very helpful to fully understand all the people involved. Ask yourself the following questions: Why did my mother do and act the way she did? What was going on in her life? Do the same for your father and/or anyone else involved. Knowing their reasons will increase your understanding and enable you to let go with more ease.
There are many reason why something happened to you, find out as much as you can. This is the first step to solving the problem. The next one is to disassociate yourself from the situation and become an observer. This practice will give you clarity. Objectivity will create an even deeper understanding. Doing the inner work can be confrontational but will be well worth it in the end.

There is no fast cure to self-healing and there are many ways to heal. Do whatever works best and feels right to you. It is a process that will take time. Don't expect miracles by releasing one blockage for healing. Letting go of pain and suffering are like peeling the layers of an onion. When you think you've solved one issue another one arises. Be patient and kind to yourself when you start the process and most of all don't be in a hurry.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What are chakras - Chakra anatomy

The chakra system originated in India and was written down between 1500 and 500 BC in the text called the Vedas. Before this knowledge was recorded, It was passed down through an oral tradition by the Indo-European people, also called the Arayan people. The language they spoke was Sanskrit. Translated from Sanskrit, the word chakra means spinning disk or wheel of energy (Vortex).  This wheel spins around its own axis. It can spin fast or slowly depending on the energy level in your system. Our chakras are part of the large network of subtle energies within our subtle body. Chakras are the major centers of spiritual power within the human body and store and distribute the energies of life throughout the body. This life force is also known as Prana (also called, Ki, Chi, Mana depending on your belief system), and runs along the spine.

The chakra’s are both connected to the physical organs in the body and the different layers within the aura. The living cells that make our body give off invisible energies. When grouped together and shaped as a body or any other life form, it will give out an aura. Our body’s primary senses correspond to the major chakras. These senses are: Breathing, circulation, digestion, reproduction and secretion. The brain and our whole being (the body) also have a corresponding chakra, making it a total of seven major chakras. These seven chakras respond to many smaller energy points within the body. People that practice acupuncture, foot and hand reflexology work specifically with these pressure points.    

The seven main chakras:
Muladhara = The root chakra
Swadhisthana = The sacral chakra
Manipura = Solar plexus chakra
Anahata = Heart chakra
Vishuddhi = Throat chakra
Aagya = Third eye (Pineal gland) chakra
Sahasrara = Crown chakra

The condition of the chakras is directly connected to the health of the physical body, the mind and the emotional wellbeing of a person. When the life force (Prana) doesn’t flow freely and with ease, it becomes weak and/or congested. Opening the chakras lead to your overall wellbeing. 

In addition to the seven chakras of the subtle body there is a network of subtle channels, known as Nadis (stream), through which the life force circulates. According to the tantric treatise Shiva Samhita, there are fourteen principle nadis. Of these the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are considered the most important.

Ida means "comfort" and is associated with lunar energy. It is the left channel. It is the feminine energy. It corresponds to the coolness of the moon and is metaphorically referred to as the Ganges river. It originates in the root chakra and ends up in the left nostril. The Ida nadi controls all the mental processes and refers to the right hemisphere of the brain. It is introverted. The lunar channel Ida is pale in color and is also known as the Yin element in Chinese philosophy.
Pingala means "tawny" and is associated with solar energy. It is the right channel and the masculine energy. It corresponds to the warmth of the sun and is metaphorically referred to as the Yamuna river. It originates in the root chakra and ends up in the right nostril. The Pingala nadi controls all the vital processes and refers to the left hemisphere of the brain. It is extroverted. The solar channel Pingala is red in color and is also known as the Yang element in Chinese philosophy.
Sushumna means "very gracious" or "kind". It is the central channel and runs down the central axis of the body, through the spinal cord, and is associated with both nostrils being open and free to the passage of air. This Nadi connects the base Chakra to the crown Chakra and is very important, it makes way for the ascent of Kundalini. It is metaphorically referred to as the Saraswati river. Within the Sushumna nadi are three more subtle channels: Vajra, Chitrini and the Brahma Nadi through which the Kundalini moves. The Kundalini moves upwards, running up the body from just below the root Chakra to the crown Chakra. Kundalini is the divine cosmic energy (Divyashakti) in a latent form. It is a "power of pure intelligence".