Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

How Meditation and Contemplative Prayer Can Deepen your Spiritual Life- FINDING GOD IN THE BODY #BookReview and #Author Interview


book-cover-fullMany of my friends and I consider ourselves “spiritual, not religious,” having been turned off by the organized religions we grew up with. But how does one follow a spiritual path with no guidance? Yes, we meditate and do yoga and try to be good people, but what else?

Finding God in the Body by Benjamin Riggs offers “A Spiritual Path for the Modern West.” For those of us with Western sensibilities but an affinity toward the practices of Buddhism or other Eastern religions, Riggs offers a path that looks with fresh eyes at the Judeo-Christian texts and combines their spiritual teachings with practices, such as meditation, of the East.

“The spiritual path is the mind’s return to the naked awareness of the body…. It is about dropping the narrative, relaxing the tension, and taking refuge in our True Life.”

Author Benjamin Riggs spent years studying the contemplative core of Christianity where he found a mythos of God within, more concerned with daily life than the hereafter. He explains the Bible and Judeo-Christian writings in a very enlightening way, following the Jewish tradition of storytelling to understand the Bible’s message in today’s world.

The author references the most important teachings of Jewish, Christian and Buddhist teachers such as Dr. Reginald Ray, Thomas Merton, Joseph Campbell, Fr. Thomas Keating, Thomas Aquinas, Rabbi David Cooper and M. Scott Peck, who wrote:

“If you desire wisdom greater than your own, you can find it inside of you…. To put it plainly, our unconscious is God. God within us…”

Finding God in the Body offers instruction in a spiritual practice that helps embody the mystery of God that lives within our body… both through contemplative prayer to bring us into the body, the God of the body, and through meditation to discover the underlying emptiness of the mind.

In the end, Riggs offers a way to develop a personal relationship with God, living in the Will of God:

“Undoubtedly this will have a great effect on our quality of life, how we treat others, and the world in which we live. It will transform the world.”

What more could the spiritual seeker ask?

Here is my interview with Benjamin Riggs, author, columnist and the founder and director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, Louisiana…

Can you give us a synopsis of your own spiritual studies/journey?

There is an awful lot of overlap between Buddhism and Christianity in my personal spirituality. Buddhism brought me onto the spiritual path. When I first became interested in spirituality at the age of 17, I was too resentful toward Christianity to even consider a Christian approach. Years later I happened across a Thomas Merton book that changed all of that. Most of my training has been within the Buddhist tradition, but about 5 years ago, I quit thinking of myself as a Buddhist. Most all of the practices I regularly do are from the Buddhist tradition, but the symbolism and language of contemplative Judaism and Christianity resonates more with me than the Buddhist language does now. I can see myself as a Christian atheist and a Buddhist theist. So conceptually I have a hard time labeling this Buddhist-Christian hybrid spirituality, but it is all very seamless for me in practice.

How would you explain the title of the book?

God is not an old, white man in the sky that created the universe and is now charged with the task of overseeing its day to day functions. A growing number of Westerners are disillusioned with this conception of God and are looking for something that does not offend their modern, scientific sensibilities. That is the “modern spiritual” part of the title. As for “god and the body,” God is the Ground of Being. It is in the body that we connect with the experience of Being. Finally, “path.” Resurrecting the God of the body requires a path of practice.

What was your purpose in writing this book?

I initially planned to compile a catalog of my past articles on Elephant Journal and publish them as a book. But once I sat down and started writing, the project evolved. As I said before, there is a lot of overlap in my personal spirituality with Buddhism and Christianity. So I started to outline a spiritual path that had proven effective for me and figured it would resonate with a lot of other people. A lot of Westerners are looking for a more practical spirituality. They want something that works in this life, something that helps them work with stress, fear, anger, and meaninglessness. Buddhism offers practices that meet this need, so a lot of people are drifting toward the Eastern philosophy section at their local bookstores. But then they bump into another problem: The practices are great, but the language, symbolism, and the mythos of Eastern religion are foreign and far removed from the Western psyche. It just doesn’t resonate. So I wanted to write a book that wedded the two. I wanted to outline a spiritual path that included a system of practice and a mythos that resonated with the Western mind without offending our modern, scientific sensibilities. That is what Finding God in the Body does.

What is your definition of spirituality or the spiritual path?

Spirituality is a view (often expressed in mythological terms) that transcends the superficial levels of self-centered consciousness wedded to a system of practice that enables us to embody those deeper levels of selfless awareness.

What message would you like readers to take away from this book?

I would like readers to take away two things: Spirituality is and has to be immediately concerned with the reality of day-to-day life. And it is has to be supported by practice, lest it become just another system of wishful thinking.

How would you define God?

God is the Ground of Being, the Isness of all that is. God is NOT the prime mover or the reason for existence, but existence itself, which through our life we participate in.

I found your explanations of texts in the Bible very elucidating. For example, can you share how you interpret Jesus as the Christ?

Most people see the name Jesus Christ as if Christ was Jesus’ last name. Christ is a symbol synonymous with the firstborn of all creation, the image of God (imago dei) which lives within man as our True Nature. In the Gospels, Christ is made manifest through the life and actions of Jesus. But we are all called to be a light unto the world – to allow the light of True Self to shine so bright that it blots out the characteristics of the false-self. That light is the indwelling image of God, the experience of Being, I Am-ness, or Christ. Jesus was a Jewish man that consented to the experience of being and enabled God to be born into the world through his life.

How would you describe the “false self” vs. the “true self?”

The True Self is the unmediated, ever-unfolding experience of life, which for the sake of conversation, has to be localized and called me or this life. This localization is the ego, which is perfectly natural and necessary. The ego is a conceptual overlay generated by the thinking mind and projected out into the world that enables us to communicate, navigate through the world, etc. It is a projection, a proxy self, so to speak. When we confuse that projected self for the real thing, it becomes a false self.

Can you sum up the path/practices you recommend for those seeking to “live fully?”

Living fully means living in wholeness. The view aspect of spirituality must transcend our sense of brokenness or incompleteness. It must move beyond those superficial, codependent levels of conceptual identification and down into the selflessness of undifferentiated awareness where we find fullness.

How can one best tap into the unconscious wisdom of the body?

The unconscious wisdom of the body flows forth from silence. But you cannot make silence happen, because any attempt to do so is noise. You can only make yourself prone to moments of silence. This is the practice of contemplative prayer and meditation. But any practice can be meditative: taking a walk or run, washing the dishes. Silence is the natural state of affairs. We are just doing what we are doing there is silence.

What would you say is the meaning of life?

The meaning of life is to live, which is why you are alive. Any attempt to add meaning beyond that is in my opinion just noise. But that is not to say that life is meaningless. The experience of life is in itself meaningful. When you are present, awake, engaged, you are not looking for meaning. You are content. The search for meaning comes from a place of brokenness or incompleteness.

Finding God in the Body is available on Amazon.com. For more information, see FindingGodInTheBody.com or connect with the author at Facebook.com/FindingGodInTheBody and Twitter.com/Benjamin_Riggs

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance the Chakras, Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

Love Offering – Free Download of The Chakra Diaries and MP3 Chakra Meditation…


Small book coverIt’s February, the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, the month we celebrate love. However, love can be a slippery slope, especially if we haven’t had good role models, haven’t had a perfect childhood (and who has?). The problems we have faced and negative emotions in our life may have led to blocked chakras (energy centers) that keep us from experiencing the healing power of love.

In The Chakra Diaries, my first book, I share how to balance your own chakras as you learn how these “energy centers” affect love and loss, health and happiness, life and death for the participants in a chakra workshop. It is FREE ON KINDLE through Wednesday, February 8.

Rather than a non-fiction encyclopedia of chakra attributes and signs of imbalance, the stories in The Chakra Diaries show the miracles that can happen through love, forgiveness and energy healing.

This is not a how-to book. As one reader said, “It’s what happens when you put ancient teachings and modern lives into the same kitchen and raise the heat while cooking up great emotion. The Chakra Diaries is a literary romance, but with emotional, intellectual and spiritual nuances that would appeal to anyone interested in love, especially enlightened love. The villains in The Chakra Diaries are ones we all try to avoid: lost love, false beliefs, cancer, but it is these very perilous obstacles that drive the stories and finally lift the characters into their higher spiritual states through chakra healing and balancing.”

“The best way to learn about the chakras is through fascinating real-world stories, tense with melancholy and wild with humor, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the book.” ~ Honolulu Weekly

MP3 CoverWhether you just love good storytelling, or want to be inspired, download The Chakra Diaries, and then download the FREE MP3 CHAKRA MEDITATIONS from the book, so you can be guided to a place of relaxation and balance. It contains the spiritual music of Aryeh David from his Love’s Whispers album. “Through all of life’s journey, love is actually the only thing there is,” says Aryeh. “May this music awaken the love within and remind you of who you truly are.”

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

What Gives your Life Worth? Book Review and Interview on THE OARSMAN


screen-shot-2017-01-17-at-4-47-30-pmThe Oarsman is simultaneously a fantasy/adventure novel and a literary work of art with gems of spiritual wisdom sprinkled throughout.

The story takes us on a journey in the time of knights and dragons with an 80-year old Man who recently lost his beloved wife and now wants to reach the “promised shores” he has heard sung of all his life. An Oarsman is taking him down river toward his goal until they meet a Judge standing on an island, who won’t let him pass.

He is sent back to review his life: “If you come back more worthy, learned from your mistakes, you will be free to pass.”

 What follows is a beautifully written account of a Man witnessing all the roles he has played in his life, from an Artist to a Merchant to a Dreamer, a Warrior, an Apprentice, a Boy and an Infant. The vile critical voice of the Judge appears in various forms from a dragon to a whirlpool in the river to sabotage the Man, in opposition to the help offered by the Oarsman to this Man so in need of rescue.

The Man must find from where his dissatisfaction with life and critical inner voice came. What he learns along the way, with the help of the ever-wise Oarsman, is to focus on life’s bright spots instead of ruminating over his unworthiness. Can he return to the purity of the newborn and see the love that makes him worthy?

Anyone who has ever experienced self-judgment or doubt about the meaning of one’s life will find this magical fantasy a revelation in how we bring about our own misery, and how we can instead see the value of our life’s experiences.

Using beautiful imagery in which all of nature is alive and involved with the Man’s journey, author Zubin Mathai has transformed an age-old theme, of reviewing our life at its end, into an inspiring adventure teaching that we are all worthy at our core.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ZUBIN MATHAI

What message you would like readers to take away from THE OARSMAN?

The lesson that the main character takes away, which hopefully the reader does too, is that there is a force of silence and truth, coming from love, that has been with us our entire lives. It has been there during the good and bad times, and whether we cover it up or not with mind-stuff, it still has the power to lead us through each destiny arc in each section of our life.

What would you say is the major spiritual theme of THE OARSMAN?

Apart from the main message, the other spiritual theme in The Oarsman, is that unworthiness — even though most of us grapple with it — is not real. Our belief in it prevents us from stepping fully into our personal paradises of peace. Whether that unworthiness manifests as guilt over the past, or as a hesitation to step into the future, it is all the same: only a mind pattern that is too afraid to let love in fully in all its forms.

Are the roles of your main character a reflection of experiences in your own life?

 Yes. All the roles in the book are roles that I have gone through (albeit modern equivalents). For example, the Merchant, obsessed with riches and celebration, was me running an Internet business and getting caught up in material things. The Sage trying to climb the mountain was me in my youth, when I went to the Himalayas to meditate. The lesson I learned from that time was that I was always creating ‘mountains’ in my mind, things I had to climb before I could feel fulfillment. It was only years later that I saw that that fulfillment is our birthright, and we only cover it up with doubt and fear.

The river is an important metaphor in your book, and has been used by many others as metaphors in their novels. What meaning do you give the river in your work? 

In the book, the river represents a few different things. It represents the winding of life as well as truth and love. The reader also soon sees that the river and the Oarsman character are two sides of the same coin. For the main character, the Man, before he learns his lesson, he co-opts the river and twists it a bit, turning it into a river that winds through his past so that he can revisit it.

You give life to all of nature in your story, e.g., “The trees wept leaves at the beauty heard….” Do you see everything as alive, aware and responsive as do shamans?

I see a Oneness infusing everything. When I was younger, I thought the mind had to be quiet to see it, but now I see that energy even behind and in thoughts. When I hike (my favorite activity) I feel that my body and tree trunks are no barriers to the sameness in everything around. When I get still (even if thoughts are whispering for attention) there is no me or trees, just that Oneness. And then the physical form of the trees, the way their bark catches the sun, or how their leaves play with wayward breezes, becomes the best celebration in this moment of that Oneness.

What drew you to write a novel in the fantasy genre?

I started writing The Oarsman to excise all my past roles from my heart. I felt that I had learned my lessons from them and it was okay to treasure their coming and going, but not hold on too tight anymore. So, when I started thinking about the book, and about my close connection to nature, immediately an image of a river passing through a wooded land sprung to mind. Since I wanted the narrative voice to be quite poetic in this novel, a fantasy setting felt very appropriate.

You have a unique voice – what do you think is the source of your poetic style?

I’m not quite sure. I think I always had this style, even as a child. I do notice that the more quiet I get when writing, then the style comes out fully. If I could go off on a related tangent: I once had a dream, wherein I was crying over the beauty of the empty space on my driveway. Something about that space, being so devoid of form and yet full of potential, made me love it as the universe. When I woke up, I realized that if could love sentences as much as the love I felt in that dream, then that is the best I could ever do as a writer. So, when I treat paragraphs and sentences with that tenderness, my style seems to come out stronger.

What writers or books have influenced you in your work?

I’m a bit of an oddity of a writer, in that I haven’t read a novel in over twenty years! I usually read non-fiction, biographies, and sometimes snippets of poetry. People have said my book reminds them of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, but I purposely didn’t read that book when I was writing my novel. I am more influenced by visual medium like film, and seeing beautiful imagery and well-constructed plots does leave impressions on me. My new year’s resolution for 2017 is to read more fiction!

The Oarsman is available in Kindle and paperback. To learn more about the author and his upcoming works, see www.zubinmathai.com.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

Chakra Blog

Chakra Secrets #FreeKindle about the Rugged Road to Health and Happiness


Chakra SecretsThere’s no better way to share the holiday spirit than to share a tale encompassing all my actions and emotions – good and bad – with a happy ending and an instant healing technique everyone can use. So, I invite you to download a FREE copy of CHAKRA SECRETS through Friday, December 23.

Here’s a review of the book by a reader on Amazon.com:

 Chakra Balancing, Past Lives, Yoga and More!

“Began this book at Midnight, read straight through until 4 a.m. and waited until the light of day to review.

All of the cliches fit: cliff hanger, couldn’t put it down, fast-paced, brilliant writing…yes, all that with an important message: life is the same for everyone, we hurt, we grieve, we suffer, we have moments of joy and passion, and we are all subject to the same feelings.

We are born and re-born both physically, as in reincarnation, and spiritually, as in evolution of the soul…and there are very real modalities that we can employ to overcome our private agonies and move along our spiritual path to fuse with the light. That’s the simplistic version.

Author Becca Chopra put herself out on a limb with this autobiographical novel in which she introduces powerful, spiritual healing modalities in a very earthy way. She covers yogis gone wild, drugs, passion, longing, as she takes you on a breathless journey from actress to respected yoga teacher, an amazing roller coaster ride that introduces yoga, rainbow tantra, tantric gurus, macrobiotic diet, past life regression, acro-yoga, Ho’opono’pono and a very effective Huna Dynamind technique which can be practiced at home.

The storyline is complex yet unfolds simply and easily, propelling the reader right to the happy ending. And after all the twists and turns, one is certainly ready for that relaxing out breath and release.”

I look forward to sharing my story with YOU also – I invite you to download CHAKRA SECRETS – the Kindle version can be read on virtually ANY smart device.

PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND MAY YOU ALL ENJOY THIS HEALING JOURNEY.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

Chakra Blog

 

An Enlightening and Entertaining Guide to all Things Spiritual from #author Marla Martenson


Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 12.57.10 PM.pngIn The Buddha Made Me Do It, Marla Martenson takes us on a fascinating, roller-coaster ride as she races toward her long-term goal of trying as many spiritual modalities as possible.

Just as enjoyable as her first two memoirs, Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker and Hearts on the Line, this book takes us deeper – within Marla’s inner quest for spiritual enlightenment.

The drama and the laughs are non-stop as she accomplishes the feat of becoming certified in Crystal Healing, Reiki, Life Force Energy Healing, and Psychic Development all while continuing as a matchmaker to superficial rich men, and the wife of a loving yet doubting partner.

I thought I had personally tried every spiritual healing modality out there, and experienced everything from channeling to astral traveling. But having now read The Buddha Made Me Do It, I feel like I don’t need to go to any more Whole Life Expos… Marla did a thorough investigation into New Age spirituality, energy healing and the occult. She does most of her exploring with her side-kick Julie, but her engaging writing makes you feel like you’re right there with them. You can’t help but root for Marla and hope that one day you’ll have a chakra healing session from her.

While there’s quite a bit of information about chakras, crystals and many forms of spiritual healing, this book is truly light and fun – a great read for anyone wanting to dip their toes into the metaphysical. The Buddha Made Me Do It can be considered a great recipe as to what to add and what to leave out in your own journey of self discovery. And the detox recipes she shares in the Appendix will help you clear the way.

INTERVIEW WITH MARLA MARTENSON

What sparked your interest in the spiritual/occult world? 

Marla: I have always had an interest in the occult since I was a little girl. Halloween was always my favorite holiday, fall my favorite season, and cemeteries a magical place to hang out and read the tombstones, imagining what the lives and personalities were like of the deceased when they were among the living. There is so much to discover in the universe, so much magic. I am never bored in pondering the possibilities, and hidden secrets.

You tried many different spiritual/new age modalities – how did you know when you were on the right path?

Marla: I enjoyed trying all of them. For me the right path is being open to new things. There are so many modalities to try, the only thing slowing me down is money. It can be an expensive hobby. I want to try everything!

What made you want to become an energy healer?

Marla: I had a session with a shaman/energy healer at a wellness faire in the Hollywood Hills. I loved the session so much and mentally made a note how cool it would be to do what he did. Then about a year and a half later, I signed up for a crystal healing class at the Imagine Center in Tarzana. My teacher mentioned that we could also add other modalities to the crystal healing such as Reiki. I immediately sought out a Reiki Master to study with, and the rest is history, I was hooked.

How did you discover your higher purpose, and how would you describe it?

Marla: I feel that my higher purpose is to offer healing to people. I discovered it through experience. I have witnessed first-hand how people love receiving Reiki and getting their energy field cleared and chakras balanced. It feels wonderful to be a part of someone’s shift.

What advice can you give for others on a spiritual journey who are not supported by those around them?

Marla: Stay true to yourself. My husband gave me a pretty hard time about all of the spiritual modalities I was studying and getting into. He felt that I was spending too much money, as well as getting into some things that he considered to be “fantasyland.” It hurt my feelings, but I was not about to let his fears or opinions stop me from pursuing my interests and joy. There will always be people who will try to chase you off your path because of their own fears or beliefs, but that is not your business. Your business is to stay on your path. It’s your life, so live it.

In your work, what other realms do you contact and how do they support you?

Marla: I am in contact with my guardian angels on a regular basis. They are located in the 7th dimension. I use a Talking Board. I tell the story of how I began the communication in The Buddha Made Me Do It. It was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me, when I had my first communication with my angel, Murth.

Any advice on pitfalls others may fall into when they delve into the occult?

Marla: When contacting spirits angels and other entities, one must be aware that there are also low vibrational energies that can be attracted to you and attach. Learning how to protect and clear yourself is very important.

Is it possible for you and therefore, others, to maintain their traditional careers while also doing energy healing?

Marla: I think that energy healing is something wonderful to have on the side of a traditional job. You can use it to heal yourself, your friends, family and pets. Even if you never go full out with it as a career, it’s fantastic to have in your toolbox. I give myself Reiki every night while lying in bed.

The Buddha Made Me Do It is now available on Amazon.com. For more information, see www.marlamartenson.com.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet (free for Kindle download through Friday, August 5)
www.theChakras.org

 

 

Unlock the healing power of love – Download a FREE copy of The Chakra Diaries


Chakra Diaries Book CoverIf your chakras are blocked or closed, your ability to give and receive love will also be blocked. Relationships will be rocky, and your ability to feel love and happiness will be locked away.

The participants in my Chakra Workshops keep journals which clearly show how a blocked chakra can also block love in your life. And my book, based on these journals, The Chakra Diaries, shows how using meditations and the other tools described, can lead to happier endings.

Summer is a great time to catch up on your reading, so I’m giving away one of my books for four weeks, while I finish my fifth. Until this Friday, you can download a Free Kindle of The Chakra Diaries.

The book is full of life’s struggles (yes, even money issues) that can be fixed with love. Every difficult relationship or situation can be remedied with love. Any chakra blockage may be healed and opened through love. The healing power of love can change things in an instant.

HERE’S HOW BALANCED CHAKRAS CAN IMPROVE YOUR LOVE LIFE:
ROOT CHAKRA – When you feel grounded and safe, you feel like you belong and are able to be a more responsible partner.
SACRAL CHAKRA – When balanced, your creativity and sexuality are free-flowing, and you are able to be a more romantic partner.
SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA – With your personal power chakra balanced and your self-love in place, you will feel the confidence necessary to find and win your soul mate.
HEART CHAKRA – Love and compassion, the keynotes of a balanced Heart Chakra, will help you retain your relationships, through better or worse.
THROAT CHAKRA – With the ability to speak your truth about your needs and wants, your relationships will be more harmonious and fulfilling.
THIRD EYE CHAKRA – As you increase your intuition, you will have a closer bond, not only to your higher self, but to your loved ones.
CROWN CHAKRA – As you channel the divine love of the universe, you will be better able to act from a place of love in all areas of your life.

I’m hoping you’ll download a copy of The Chakra Diaries and be inspired by the healing power of love as well.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets, Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

A Valentine’s Day Gift on the Healing Power of Love


Chakra Diaries Book CoverI hope you take some time to love yourself and others this weekend. You can learn more about the healing energy of love in my annual Valentine’s Day giveaway – my first book, The Chakra Diaries, free for download on Kindle today through February 14th.

Please share this giveaway with your friends – everyone can download it to any smart reading device by downloading the free Amazon app… see http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771.

Here’s what a recent reviewer in the U.K. wrote:

“The first thing that grabbed me was the heart: all those swirls turning in one direction in harmony, it’s not something I’ve seen before. Only later did I realize there’s a hidden meaning in this cover, showing that, interwoven in the story are the lives of different characters as they attend a 12 week chakra workshop and experience a major shift in their lives.”

Another reviewer wrote:
“The book is in the end a beautifully told love story, and we see the participants removing obstacles that block love and the expression of love. Interspersed within you will also find chakra visualization meditations, and insightful spiritual quotes. Reading this book brought me joy.”

I hope you also enjoy the inspiring quotes, stories, and interwoven chakra information and balancing meditations when you download your copy of The Chakra Diaries.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.thechakras.org

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