When Manifesting

Joseph Christian Leyendecker, 'This Is My Busy Day' (Valentine's Day Cherub), 1918

Joseph Christian Leyendecker, ‘This Is My Busy Day’ (Valentine’s Day Cherub), 1918

Affirmations refer primarily to the practice of positive thinking and self-empowerment, fostering a belief that a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will help achieving success in important endeavors.

Affirmations can also be a tool for one’s everyday self-help practice. Usually it is a carefully formulated statement that should be repeated or written down. For an affirmation to be effective, it needs to be present tense, positive, personal, short and specific. When the affirmation is done after your meditation practice, it can be much more powerful.

In ancient times, the method has been developed according to the spiritual and cultural specifics of the place. One of the first examples of applying affirmations within the modern paradigms is the Autotraining. Autogenic training, the relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz was first published in 1932. In the original book (“Das Autogene Training (konzentrative Selbstentspannung”), the parallels to techniques in yoga and meditation are clearly emphasized.

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The Golden Rule: Zoroaster

Sanzio_01_Zoroaster_Ptolmey

Rafhael, The School of Athens (Detail), 1509

There are many views on the timeline for Zoroaster’s life. Greek sources placed him as early as 6000 BC. The traditional Zoroastrian date for Zarathushtra’s birth and ministry is around 600 B.C. This is derived from a Greek source that places him “300 years before Alexander” which would give that date; other rationales for the 600 BC date identify the King Vishtaspa of Zarathushtra’s Gathas with the father of the Persian King Darius, who lived around that time. According to the Zend Avesta, the sacred book of Zoroastrianism, Zoroaster was born in Azerbaijan, in northern Persia.

Recent work by Martin Schwartz and Almut Hintze tends to discount this theory, as the linguists show that the Gathas are not the work of an academic writing in a dead language; they show all the signs of poetry composed and recited in an oral tradition, similar to the heroic poetry of Homer or the Rig-Vedas. These studies would confirm the earlier date for Zarathushtra.

In the Gathas, Zoroaster sees the human condition as the mental struggle between asa (truth) and druj (lie). The cardinal concept of asa – which is highly nuanced and only vaguely translatable – is at the foundation of all Zoroastrian doctrine, including that of Ahura Mazda (who is asa), creation (that is asa), existence (that is asa) and as the condition for Free Will, which is arguably Zoroaster’s greatest contribution to religious philosophy.

The purpose of humankind, like that of all other creation, is to sustain “asa”. For humankind, this occurs through active participation in life and the exercise of constructive thoughts, words and deeds. Elements of Zoroastrian philosophy entered the West through their influence on Judaism and Middle Platonism and have been identified as one of the key early events in the development of philosophy. Among the classic Greek philosophers, Heraclitus is often referred to as inspired by Zoroaster’s thinking. Contemporary Zoroastrians often point to the similarities between Zoroaster’s philosophy and the ideas of Baruch Spinoza.

Zoroaster teaches the Golden Rule: “That character is best that doesn’t do to another what isn’t good for itself” and “Don’t do to others what isn’t good for you.”

Image: School of Athens (Detail of Zoroaster, Ptolemy, Raphael and Perugino). Among the most famous of the European depictions of Zoroaster is that of the figure in Raphael’s 1509 “The School of Athens”. In it, Zoroaster and Ptolemy are having a discussion. Zoroaster is holding a star-studded globe.

On Equanimity

Manuel Nunez, 1956, "California"

Manuel Nunez, 1956, “California”

Equanimity is often described as a state of psychological stability. In this world of pairs of opposites, man is tossed about hither and thither by various waves of emotion. Now he gets gain, success, honour, praise. The next moment, he gets failure, loss, dishonour, censure and disappointment. In November, the wisdom of Swami Sivananda is recognised again: “In rooting ourselves in our own unchanging and all blissful Atman within, we can discipline the mind and the senses. Then no worldly wave can upset you…”

In Hinduism, equanimity is just another term that attempts to describe the nature of Brahman (not to be confused with Brahmin). In Vedanta the term Brahman points to Absolute Reality. In a true sense, Brahman cannot be described as any description or attribute introduces the idea of boundedness, hence it must be recognized that these terms are only meant to serve as pointers to the intellectual concept of Brahman. In Vedanta the term Brahman points to the Absolute, also referred to as the only Reality.

Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.”

Abdu’l-Baha (Baha’i Faith) also writes on cultivating equanimity: “Freedom is not a matter of place. It is a condition. When one is released from the prison of the self, that is indeed release… The afflictions which come to humanity sometimes tend to centre the consciousness upon the limitations, and this is a veritable prison. Release comes by making of the will a Door through which the confirmations of the Spirit come.”

Blessed November!

Mirror, mirror…

“I didn’t know my life was a reflection of me.”

AbbeyAltson,1866-1949

AbbeyAltson,1866-1949

Developing the Seer
Few people understand the power of the mind. You can create anything by the mind, good or bad. It is a force, an energy. All our sufferings are due to the mind.

In physics, the scientists have clearly stated that both matter and energy are creations of the mind. Time and space are both spanned by the mind. The time/space/object continuum is created by the mind, just as we make a candle out of wax. The wax is the candle and when it melts, there is no candle. In the same way, the mind is extending itself.

You must realise that the mind is a creative force. A thought is an expression of creation and you don’t know it. You think a thought and something happens somewhere. Therefore, man’s unhappiness, physical illness, intellectual limitations, emotional breakdowns and lack of many other faculties in his life, can all be attributed to incorrect handling of the mind. In order to handle the mind, we must first develop the faculty of seer. Unless we do this, we can never manage the mind.

Man has been following a mirage, a world of delusion. He should realise the world within, the happiness which is non-material, does not depend on the object. There is a greater happiness which is homogeneous and absolute, and that is the Self, beyond the mind. …

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati

 

Say A Little Prayer

LadywithPeagons

“I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.”
Virginia Satir (1916-1988), Transformational Systemic Therapist

Satir believed that all people are equipped with the capacity for growth, transformation, and continuing education; and she focused her technique on finding the inner self. Not only does this method combine both interactive and intrapsychic elements of modern therapy, but it strives to create change at the core of one’s being. The Satir method strives to assist people in achieving maximum human development by encouraging their spiritual center to express itself more positively. With more energy and vitality, people are encouraged to facilitate transformation in their sense of being that liberates them from any inhibitions and brings them to a place of full understanding. The Satir method works with the client to allow them to live in the present with a newly found sense of courage and awareness. This process begins when a person can find their true self. In the Satir method, people are taught how to connect to that higher wisdom.

Cry Out

“Sometimes it’s your fragrance that comes to me, out of the blue, on a crowded road in a Sunday afternoon. But more often, it’s memories of us that cross my mind almost every lone evening. All I want is to lessen the pain I feel every night. But every morning I wake up is another day, hopeless and miserable, with nothing but a deafening silence, a wave of tears, memories and your absence.”

Sanhita Baruah

Fountain (detail), Vienna, Austria. Photo by Sigfrid Lopez

Fountain (detail), Vienna, Austria. Photo by Sigfrid Lopez


According to Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, women are biologically wired to shed tears more than men. Under a microscope, cells of female tear glands look different than men’s. Also, the male tear duct is larger than the female’s, so if a man and a woman both tear up, the woman’s tears will spill onto her cheeks quicker.

Dr. Lauren Bylsma explains that one theory of crying is that it helps the body to return to a state of homeostasis after being overly aroused — whether positively or negatively. We know that women are more likely to cry than men, as are people who have experienced a trauma, anxious people, and people who are extroverted and empathetic. And some of the issue is simply related to individual personality differences. Other factors that can lower the threshold for crying, according to Bylsma, include mood or stress level, hormone fluctuations, mental health and fatigue conditions.

InnerSource

“It is in troubled times that it becomes most important to remember that the wonder of life places the medicine of the Self near where the poison dwells. The gifts always lie near the wounds, the remedies are often made from poisonous substances and love often appears when deep losses become acknowledged.”
Michael Meade

 

Sir Frederic Leighton, Flaming June, 1895

Sir Frederic Leighton, Flaming June, 1895

Ancient and modern masters alike have shown us that mindfulness is the direct path to emotional healing and spiritual awakening. Dreams teach how to recognize the spiritual lessons of each phase of the Journey and urge us to learn. Relaxing our grip on control, our dreams open us to guidance from the InnerSource. Seeing through the illusion of permanence, they teach us to release attachments and grieve the limitations and losses that life imposes. Mindful of our destructive rush to judgment, our dreams move us to embrace compassion for our own suffering—not just that of others. Finally, dreams teach us mindfulness of our impatience so that we may live more consciously and awake in the present moment.