Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

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Yoga for the Brain? #BookReview and #AuthorInterview on THE WORD SEARCH ORACLE


CoverCombine a fun word game with profound insights, and you’re given a remarkable tool for spiritual development and self-realization.  The Word Search Oracle: Yoga for the Brain offers a creative, fun, meditative respite from the busy chatter of the mind… while flexing your brain.

What’s really unique is that each of the 60 word puzzles in the book is introduced by a philosophical Oracle on topics ranging from Fearlessness to Forgiveness.

And once you’ve worked out the puzzle, the words remaining in the grid make up a corresponding Mantra (yoga asana for the mind). These Mantras serve as positive affirmations to reprogram your mind for greater mindfulness, joy, health and love.

The Word Search puzzles provide cognitive training, cleverly disguised as fun. And the inspirational Oracles and Mantras help reprogram our thinking, replacing negative old thought patterns:

“…solving puzzles engages our ability to compare new information hidden in a puzzle with what is already dowloaded in our memory. As a result of our amazing neuroplasticity, neurons make new connections inside our brains, blending imaginative association and memory. We alchemize that data to pioneer new perspectives, conclusions and ideas… It is a kind of puzzle vision super power.”

TRY OUT PUZZLE VISION SUPER POWER, TODAY, FOR FREE.

Download and play with a sample puzzle from the book, titled Blessings, read the Oracle, find the hidden Mantra, and see how it can change your day:

Word Search Oracle Sample

The object of the game is to find and cross out all the words from the list below the puzzle. The words in this easy example can be found horizontally or vertically. Hidden within the puzzle is a secret message created by the letters not used. Place these letters in the blank lines to discover your Mantra… repeating this Mantra throughout the day will reinforce the Oracle Message about Blessing, and increase your awareness and appreciation of the good all around you.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, CRISTINA SMITH:

What inspired you to create the “Yoga for the Brain” books?

Travel, Sudoku and my brother were the inspiration for the series. A frequent flyer, I was bored with all of my reading material so, in true desperation, I turned to the puzzle pages of the inflight magazine. I saw the Sudoku and had an almost visceral reaction to them. My inner voice said something like, “Number puzzles- yargh! I don’t do those.”

Then I noticed how strong my opinion was of that innocent little puzzle and decided to try one. I was terrible at it. When my math genius brother Rick picked me up at the airport, I asked him if he was good at and liked Sudoku. The answer was yes. By the end of the visit, I decided to do an experiment. I wanted to see if I could train my mind to shift to a logic mode and learn to do Sudoku with a book of 300 easy puzzles.

It’s fascinating how sometimes the most unexpected things can trigger the deepest insights.

The most amazing thing happened. I delved into the puzzles and unexpectedly, deeply spiritual intuitive information came into my consciousness. Doing puzzles. I began to approach Sudoku as a path to spiritual awakening. It became a form of yoga. Yoga for the brain. I finished the puzzle book and suddenly, it became clear. I was writing a Sudoku book. I have been a freelance writer my whole career and have started numerous books. It was a totally crazy, surprising idea.

The Tao of Sudoku: Yoga for the Brain and our series was born. I asked my game creator brother Rick, to be the Puzzle Master and away we went! Since its publication, we have earned several literary awards. The book was so well received and we had so much fun creating the book, we decided to keep going. I invited my friends to play with me. Darity Wesley agreed so here we are now.

How did you work with the other contributors to the book?

The group synergy is an essential element of this book. Oracle Darity Wesley is my longtime colleague; Puzzle Master Rick Smith is my brother, and our Editor Extraordinaire is my lifelong friend Melissa Morgan. We collaborate, communicate and cooperate. We are highly supportive of each other’s expertise and perspective and enjoy highlighting our unique gifts. There’s a lot of love flowing in the veins of the entire process. Creating this book was an alchemical process. We all poured our best selves in to offer you our gold.

How would you recommend this book be best used?

The best way to use this book is one that feels right to you. It may vary depending on where your life is at in the moment. It could be used as a divination. Open the closed book and see what message comes to you. It could be used as a mindfulness practice. Notice perceptions and actions while doing a few puzzles and see what you can learn about yourself. It can be used as a personal mastery tool. You can pick a topic, work with the mantra for a period of time and see what happens. It is a wonderful way to entertain, maintain and train your mind. It’s great fun to do while traveling or waiting. Or you can just zip right through and enjoy the pure pleasure of puzzling.

What are the benefits of using Mantras?

Mantras are the yoga postures of the mind. They can quiet the mind so we can go beyond our brains to hear wisdom’s whispers. Like forms of hatha yoga, there are a variety of types and practices that can produce different results. They can help us shift our core beliefs by intentionally reprogramming our thought patterns.

Why did you use the Eye of Horus on your cover?

The cover of each book in our series, created by Rick, features a sacred symbol. The Yin/Yang is on The Tao of Sudoku: Yoga for the Brain. Our third book, The Word Search Sage: Yoga for the Brain, publishing in September 2017, will feature the ankh. The ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus on this book cover is particularly meaningful to Darity. It was part of the logo for her privacy and information security technology firm, Privacy Solutions, Inc., and now her A Modern Day Oracle™ logo. The Eye has a variety of meanings including protection, wisdom and health.

Please share your advice to readers.

Here are 10 tips to increasing your happiness quotient:

10. Nourish your curiosity.

9.  Offer your gifts.

8.  Give yourself credit for your successes.

7.  Fuel your love of learning.

6.  Think about what brings you joy.

5.  Be kind to yourself and others.

4.  Connect with your spiritual world daily.

3.  Remember you have a body.

2.  Have fun! It will sustain you as much as work.

1.  Know yourself better every day.

The Word Search Oracle: Yoga for the Brain and The Tao of Sudoku: Yoga for the Brain are both available on Amazon.com. To learn more or connect with Cristina Smith, see

https://www.facebook.com/CristinaEnergy/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9831520.Cristina_Smith

Namaste!

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra DiariesChakra SecretsBalance Your Chakras-Balance Your Lifeand The Chakra Energy Diet
www.theChakras.org

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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

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