Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Archive for the ‘Spiritual Stories’ Category

Spiritual Wisdom in A Light-Hearted, Entertaining Fable: Thaddeus Squirrel #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


thaddeus_squirrel_frontHow does passion lead to purpose? In Tom Rapsas’ new book, Thaddeus Squirrel: A Spiritual Fable, the main character realizes that working day and night foraging for acorns, more than he would ever need, is meaningless to him. He ends up running away from his tribe of squirrels as he’s not accepted for his difference of opinion. On his journey, he is gravely injured by a dog, then cared for by a group of chipmunks who have wisdom to share.

The chipmunk who saved his life, Sol, is a sage old guy who starts offering Thaddeus new questions to peruse and new ideas to consider… ultimately, that his life has meaning, and it’s up to him to find that meaning within himself.

Sol says, “I’m going to do more than tell you about the meaning of life. I’ll show you how to find it, first-hand… the meaning for you may be different than the meaning for me.” It takes time, but Thaddeus begins to learn to look within himself to find the spark of light, of wisdom, that is within us all.

Some of the wisdom Thaddeus learns:

“The things we love to do, are the things we are meant to do.”

“Your purpose almost never involves you alone, there will be others involved too.”

“Knowledge feeds the mind. Wisdom feeds the mind and every part of your being.”

          “Heaven is here now…Hell is here too. You choose your destination by how you live your life, the path you choose.”

While this book is written for a YA audience, I think readers of any age will be entertained by the story and inspired by the message and wisdom imparted in the book. For instance, how do you know when your inner voice is coming from intuition or from fear? “When it’s your intuition, you’ll know it in both your head and your heart.”

You can buy this book for your older children to read themselves or for you to read to your younger children. It will open up many topics for discussion, in a light-hearted way, that can help them find their true nature and passion in this life.

THANKS TO AUTHOR TOM RAPSAS FOR THE INTERVIEW:

Who do you see as the audience for this book?

I first started writing this book as a fairy-tale for my 5-year old daughter, but ended up working on it, off and on, for over 10 years. As the years went by, the content and ideas within the book got deeper—to the point where the audience became teens and young adults. (My daughter is 17 now.) I think the book is a good introduction to spirituality for the 13-22 age group, though I believe its core messages are something that people of all ages can relate to.

Why did you choose chipmunks as teachers for the squirrel?

I think it relates to my own spiritual upbringing. I was raised as a strict Catholic and it was not until I was in my late-20s that I began to study the teachings and wisdom found in other religions and faiths. I thought that was important for Thaddeus’s quest—that he find answers outside of his own narrow upbringing, from a source (chipmunks) he hadn’t considered as being on the same social or spiritual level.

What message(s) would you like readers to take away from the book?

The key message is that we’re all here for a purpose—and our first and primary goal in life is to uncover that purpose. We need to take small steps each day toward that end and it’s a journey that never ends. Our learning is never complete. As Thaddeus discovers at the end of the book, he’s got to stop observing and take action. When we are stagnant we do not learn, but when we expose ourselves to other ideas and philosophies, growth happens.

Can you explain further how to separate the voice of our ego vs. inner wisdom as Thaddeus Squirrel learns?

In the book, I talk of the ego as the big obstacle we must get around by any means necessary. The ego is often our public self, the face we show to the world. It often over-thinks, is ruled by emotional swings and places too much importance on the trivial. But ultimately, the ego is shallow. Deep within us is “the watcher,” our true self, and it is this inner part of our being where true wisdom resides—if we choose to open ourselves up to it.

What is the “Law of Connections” that Thaddeus Squirrel is taught?

It’s an idea I’ve had for many years and it relates to how I personally view God. I don’t see God as a being in the traditional sense, but as more of a force-of-nature that turns the gears of life, putting us in the places we need to be, helping us meet the people we’re supposed to meet. The Law is the mechanism that helps us make these connections to people and places, that puts us where we need to be. It’s the force behind coincidences and connects us with our destiny in this life.

How does your main character realize his “true self” and reach his “full potential?”

Honestly, by the end of the book, he has not realized his true self or full potential. The first step for Thaddeus is to get moving, to get him on the path to fulfilling his purpose. He has started on that path, but it’s really a first step. As you know having read the book, Becca, it’s a set-up for a sequel. The spiritual education of Thaddeus Squirrel has just begun.

Thaddeus Squirrel: A Spiritual Fable is available now at Amazon.com. Tom Rapsas is a writer at the faith site Patheos where he has written the Wake Up Call column since 2013. He is also the author of the book Life Tweets, Inspirational & Spiritual Insights That Can Change Your Life.

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

www.theChakras.org

 

 

 

A Dream It May Be, But The Dream Goes On! #BookReview and #AuthorInterview


screen-shot-2017-02-11-at-2-31-00-pmA Dream It May Be, But the Dream Goes On! is British author Nick Roach’s spiritual autobiography – ranging from his difficult childhood to current day, overcoming the struggles in his life to be free of negative emotions. This book takes us step-by-step on his path to reach an “Enlightened” state in which he describes himself as self-aware or conscious all the time, “truly awake in the dream….”

Determined to learn why emotional pain and upset have to be part of life, Nick began a spiritual quest in his late teens. He experimented with meditation, LSD, took spiritual awareness classes at the College of Psychic Studies in London, and finally found the answers he was looking for while studying with Barry Long – an Australian who described himself as a Western Spiritual Master. Long’s teachings revolve around how to free oneself of unhappiness, and also about truth and love, and personal and sexual relationships.

This autobiography chronicles Nick Roach’s life and all the realizations that came to him through his spiritual studies, while still working in stressful traditional jobs and having several tumultuous relationships before finding his long-term partner, Sally-Ann Powell.

While I personally have not undergone the same stressors or emotional upsets that Nick lived through, I of course, have faced my own, as do we all. And while this book is akin to reading Nick’s journal and seeing inside his mind and soul, it is also a story everyone can relate to and learn from, as we are all souls making our way in the world and ultimately, back to the same source.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH NICK ROACH

What is your definition of Enlightenment?
I know what Enlightenment is/was for me: I seemed to have a constant connection with a sense of ‘being’, regardless of what else was going on both around as well as within me. It was like having one foot outside of whatever was occurring which provided an inner knowledge and strength that all was well. But I also had the knowledge that ultimately I was responsible for whatever I was experiencing, and I knew how to work with life to face and dissolve any difficult situations, both within and without (as they are actually one and the same).

However, as people are different and their paths are different, Enlightenment also appears differently from person to person. That means one person’s Enlightenment may not be another’s; hence we have all the confusion as to what the word means. This is perhaps particularly evident when comparing my path and experiences with someone who followed no path or practice at all and for whom it ‘just happened’. Such a person is likely to say there is nothing that can be done, so the method I followed of consciously facing and dissolving emotions could be alien to them.

At one point you say, “Enlightenment is indeed a beginning, not the end!” Can you expound on that?
I suppose it’s because the point at which one feels they have reached a sort of plateau, and the term Enlightenment seems to fit, one’s life is by no means over. It’s perhaps not unlike learning to drive a car, passing the test and getting one’s first car. One has a new freedom, almost a new life.

In my own case, the 10 years between the entry into what I deemed to be the Enlightened state, and the later state which I came to call Liberation, was a difficult time (as described in the book). However, it is the latter state which is perhaps most recognised as being associated with Enlightenment, and this does bring with it the sense of a new beginning. Suddenly one’s life, and/or the circumstances of one’s life seems to flow effortlessly. And it is as if one is no longer adding to the karma, but is instead consciously (and quickly) living and dissolving it in the moment, as the circumstances of life continue to unfold.

 You write, “…one’s emotional self is what determines the circumstances of one’s life.” How did you let go of negative emotions?
Aha, that is of course the story of the book, and the entire process is described in some detail….

As to ‘how’ one lets go of negative emotions, it would perhaps be more accurate to say the emotional energy is made conscious. That is the process: when someone is emotionally attached to an outcome or experience, this drives the imagination and thinking mind, and one is then unconscious – from the perspective of being self-aware anyway. This unconscious thinking feeds the emotion, and the emotion further feeds the thinking mind, and it continues to snowball. But if one can suspend the imagination, looking consciously at what action can be taken, but resists the (sometimes terrible) urge to go off into the imaginary world of pain and think ABOUT the problem, one begins to feel the emotion dying. With each painful situation in which one faces the emotion in this manner, one becomes that little bit more conscious, and a little bit less emotional.

What’s wrong with getting emotionally involved in one’s existence, especially if one is enjoying life?
Ha ha, of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. This life is separation (emotion) enjoying and expressing itself. And it will continue to do so. But for some people, an aspect of the experience for them will be in realising they are not as separate as it may first appear. And this process may include them being unhappy (at being unhappy) and would like, a) for it to stop; and b) for there to be more to life than the emotional ups and downs. But I make no judgment. This place is a playground for the emotions. That is its purpose.

If the “whole of existence is a dream from which the spiritual life is a quest to wake up from,” what is the purpose of existence, the meaning of life?
Ooh, yes indeed; if it’s all a dream, then what’s the point? Sadly, ultimately one runs out of answers. Anything one realises ‘here’ (and perhaps particularly if the knowledge is that this place is a dream) is by definition only dreamt. And just as when one is in bed, asleep and dreaming, even if one becomes lucid and is aware that it is a dream, they are still not aware of their body in bed nor of the room they are lying in (of course if they were, then they would be awake and the dream has finished). So the question as to the purpose can only be answered from the perspective ‘What’s happening now?’, and in this moment ‘now’ I am aware that my attachment to being separate is being dissolved, and along with it so is the dream…

After that, it is really just speculation: Some Buddhists believe that eventually the slate is wiped clean and it is as if it never happened, as the ‘Being’ needs nothing. While some mystics believe in the Akashic Records, where everything, every experience is recorded energetically, as if the Being or Mind (or whatever term one wishes to use) is itself growing with each experience.

Whatever the actual ‘purpose’, the state of mind one is in when Enlightened (or whichever term one would like to use) means that actually it doesn’t matter. One can speculate, but it’s only really for one’s own entertainment.

Was is a cathartic or learning experience for you to look back so closely on your spiritual journey?
It was a little strange, as some of the book was written more than 20 years ago and much had long-since been forgotten. There would have been no way I could have done the story any sort of justice had I not kept diary notes of my insights and experiences, as well as the challenges I faced and what they meant to me at the time. It did feel like I was drawing a thick and final line under everything that occurred prior to now.

From what you have learned, what do you think could most help others?
There could be a number of ways I believe my story may help others, depending on their situation:
a) There is a lot of confusion as to what Enlightenment is. While it is still the case that individuals may define or experience it differently, I believe it could help alleviate some of the confusion if Enlightened people described their journey in more detail.

b) For many Enlightened teachers the experience just happened, so while they may be able to describe in eloquent and poetic language what it is, sometimes they cannot or do not teach a method (which is demonstrable and effective). The result is earnest seekers can spend years reading every book they can find and intellectualising about what is meant.

c) And last, but by no means least, consciously facing and dissolving emotion, and particularly understanding how they work (and perhaps amazingly, how this place works in relation to emotions; they are NOT independent of the externals goings on after all). I hope my story describes the process in a clear enough way as to leave little doubt. But when considered in conjunction with every other Enlightened teachings, and even any religion, I hope people will begin to see how it all fits together.

What plans do you have for the future – teaching, writing or ?
While thankfully we do not rely on the books or teaching as a source of income, it is enjoyable to share this nonetheless, and one must still do something to occupy one’s time (even if it is a dream). So I hope people will read my books; particularly the spiritual autobiography which is of course the latest and I am quite fond of it. Then, while I will be writing articles for magazines, as well as regularly replying to emails from readers, it is the face-to-face teaching I especially enjoy; and even more so with an audience rather than the more ‘intense’ or personal one-on-ones. So we hope to find the means to hold more meetings.

What we have found though, following on from the above, is that once someone has been to me, often on only one occasion, they don’t tend to need to come back for a while; not because they’re Enlightened, as that can be quite a lengthy process, but because they have learnt or understood enough to enable them to get on with living their life in a more conscious manner. So any future talks or meetings will most likely involve travelling to a new location (perhaps to talk to an established group) rather than holding regular meetings in one location.

A Dream It May Be, But the Dream Goes On! is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. For more information on the author’s work, including his first two books, Enlightenment, the Simple Path and Essays in Truth, Glimpses into Reality, please see www.nickroach.uk. He can be reached to answer questions at info@nickroach.uk.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra SecretsBalance Your 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

Spiritual Lessons from the World of Horses – WORLD IN A SHOE #BookReview and #Author Interview


screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-4-08-56-pmIn World in a Shoe: My Journey with Horses, Nicole Lawrence takes us inside her childhood obsession with horses and her career working with them. I was entranced by the many spiritual lessons to be learned from working with horses.

As Nicole shares what goes into caring for horses, the reader gets an inside look into a world that many of us will never enter. She beautifully shares what she both taught and learned from her students and the horses she worked with, as well as the gruff lessons from a “horse whisperer,” who helps her through a difficult childhood, and then a difficult transition after a beloved horse is injured and put down.

Now on my bucket list is to try horseback riding again to experience Nicole’s artful description: “It was like sitting on a living wave of powerful effervescence.”

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR, NICOLE LAWRENCE:

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

I’d like people to understand that horses have very different personalities. They are living beings that deserve respect.

2) Can you explain how horses were some of your greatest spiritual teachers?

When you work with a horse it is important to listen to them, and you use more than just your ears. You develop different ways of listening – for instance, watching their emotions and body language. Listening in different ways than with my ears was a good skill to have when it came to meditation and listening to my inner guidance.

Horses pull you out of self-centeredness. It isn’t always about you. You learn the give and take necessary for a good relationship with your animal. If you take care of your horse, he’ll be there for you. It is a good lesson in caring for another living being.

Being around horses helps you to be in the present moment. They are spontaneous creatures of nature and you need to stay aware of what is happening with your horse. Present-mindedness is also another good spiritual skill to have.

I was lucky to have Mr. Heffner as my mentor. He insisted on integrity and attention to detail, qualities that have assisted me on my spiritual journey as well.

3) You write of Mr. Heffner, a “horse whisperer” of sorts. What was the greatest lesson(s) he taught you?

The lesson I wrote about in the book – the one about not being ashamed of my fear of jumping high fences. There was plenty I could do with groundwork with horses. The thing with forcing yourself into your fear to accomplish something is that horses feel our emotions. They will pick up on the fear and may react because of it. Like what happened with the horse refusing the fence and my falling because he felt my fear. He knew I wasn’t confident about jumping the fence, and if I wasn’t going there, he wasn’t either.

4) You mention having a psychic connection with horses – how did this play out?

This showed up in many ways. For example, one night, while working for Lee, I woke and knew one of the horses was sick. I just had a feeling. I walked to the barn in the dead of night and sure enough one of them had developed colic – kind of a stomachache that horses can get.

Another time, I had an experience with The Chestnut Pony. The barn was long with a sliding door that opened out to a grassy area, with the driveway beyond. The Chestnut Pony was in the grassy area, grazing. As I walked past the open door I saw him lift his head, with his ears pointed, listening and focused on something in the distance. I was curious what he was looking at, but didn’t want to go out there to look. It could have been deer in the trees on a distant hill and I might not have seen them anyway. I thought in my mind, What are you looking at? Immediately, I saw a picture in my mind of the farm owner, Mr. Dixon, driving a tractor up the hill. I stayed and watched, while The Chestnut Pony remained focused. I didn’t hear any noise, but within a couple minutes I could hear the distant sounds of a tractor. And then came Mr. Dixon driving up the hill on the tractor.

5) What life lessons did you learn by working with horses?

Horses teach us about our own power. Symbolically, in society horses are associated with horsepower – strength, power, and at times speed. One of the early lessons I learned was that I couldn’t use force of will on horses.

Mr. Heffner showed me this early on when I’d first met him. He asked me to put my hand on the horse’s flank to move his hindquarters over. The horse immediately leaned his body into my arm. Then Mr. Heffner showed me you have to move the horse’s head in one direction to move the hindquarters in the other. You had to move the horse’s head to control his body. Force wasn’t going to work. In my life I’ve translated this lesson into working with other people. You don’t get very far if you try and force your will on someone. You usually meet with resistance. If you bring their thinking around to what you are trying to accomplish with inspiration and motivation, you have a lot more success.

I’ve noticed this even in myself. If I knuckle down and force myself to do something, I usually get tense. But if I can inspire myself, and shift my point of view, things flow more elegantly.

6) You write of “the greater connection – the breathing in your soul that horses are.” Can you explain that further?

At that time in my life I lived for horses. They were a spiritual connection for me. I had a troubled childhood and horses were “safe” for me to connect with emotionally. They didn’t judge, and they didn’t punish. I believe, as Souls we come into this reality and need to connect and anchor ourselves to the world around us. We grow and mature, and find connection to people around us and, for most, a connection to and relationship with some form of Divinity. It was difficult for me to trust my early human relationships and horses were the way I anchored to this reality.

7) For others who want to experience a connection with horses, how would you recommend they begin?

If someone feels drawn to, they could begin by taking some riding lessons. Look for a reputable stable. The horses will look well fed, their coats sleek and bodies free of injuries and sores from ill-fitting tack.

There are also farms that offer guided healing retreats with horses and the opportunity to just be in connection with them. Here are a few:

Equinisity Retreats – http://www.equinisity.com

Unity with Horse – http://www.unitywithhorse.com/Workshops.html

Horse Journeys – http://www.horsejourneys.com/home.html

There is a very special program for Veterans run by the Saratoga War Horse Foundation. The program helps them heal and overcome traumatic experiences and PTSD by working with horses – http://www.saratogawarhorse.com

8) What propelled you on a spiritual journey that took you out of the world of horses?

When Cosnav passed away, the deep connection I experienced with horses broke. I believe that my Soul and the Divine had a different purpose for me than a life with horses. At the time, I could happily have spent the rest of my life working with horses. With the severing of that connection I had no strong attachment to this world. To find some sense of purpose and meaning to my life I began an inner search. In that seeking I began exploring different spiritual paths and started transferring my sense of purpose from the outer world to that of the Divine.

World in a Shoe: My Journey with Horses is available on Kindle and in paperback. Nicole Lawrence is also the author of the memoirDoors To Transformation: My Mother – My SelfFor more information or to contact Nicole, go to http://nicolelawrence.com.

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

www.theChakras.org

Chakra Blog

 

 

 

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

Why is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? #BookReview


screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-3-36-03-pmHow can the Dalai Lama always be smiling and full of love and forgiveness given what has happened during his lifetime to the Tibetan people? In Lama Tsomo’s encyclopedic introduction to Tibetan Buddhism, Why Is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling?: A Westerner’s Introduction and Guide to Tibetan Buddhist Practice, she answers this question in depth, having followed the same ancient traditions to find a new way of living for herself.

I now understand why and how the Dalai Lama, and the monks and people who were lucky enough to flee Tibet when the Chinese took over, did not suffer PTSD despite the horrors experienced, and were able to feel compassion for their persecutors.

Lama Tsomo offers a guide to Tibetan Buddhism with steps to build a meditation practice that will lead you to the same inner peace as the Dalai Lama. She starts with an interesting account of her own spiritual exploration, while going through two failed marriages and having three children. After a 25-year spiritual quest, she found the teacher who would offer a course of study for her spiritual enlightenment whom she trusted when she met Tulku Sangak Rinpoche.

Despite the fact that she feels any serious student of Tibetan Buddhism needs to study with qualified masters (retreats or total immersion worked best for her), she does provide sufficient background in the Buddha’s teachings along with techniques which can be tried on one’s own. These techniques are designed to help remove ego identification to allow our true nature of compassionate awareness to shine forth. It will take a lot of time and effort, but as the author asks, “Do I have something better to do?”

Lama Tsomo recounts scientific evidence that the meditation practices of Tibetan Buddhism can help one replace knee-jerk reactions to people and situations with more balance, constructive responses, and improve one’s focus, memory and mood. Instead of clinging to one’s small, separate self, even in times of misery, the seeker of enlightenment learns to see themselves as one with the vast ocean, the one great mind, and be motivated to help others with love and compassion.

The book includes an envelope of practice cards that you can use to build a daily practice and see if you are called to immerse yourself further in Tibetan Buddhism. If so, she offers numerous resources, including books, other media and websites.

This book is not one I could read straight through, but rather dip into and contemplate what I was learning a little at a time. While a glossy paperback with beautiful color photographs, at its heart, it is a serious textbook for those who want a guide to practicing Tibetan Buddhism.

It can be a bit overwhelming as a first introduction to Buddhism (even with the glossary), but for the serious student, this could be an invaluable guide on their path. If you think you’d like to start 2017 with a serious spiritual effort to achieve your own Buddha nature, reading this book could be a wonderful start.

Why is the Dalai Lama Always Smiling? is available in Kindle, paperback, Audible and in MP3 CD versions.

Namaste!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries, Chakra Secrets (FREE through Dec. 23), Balance Your Chakras-Balance Your Life, and The Chakra Energy Diet

www.theChakras.org

Chakra Blog

 

Teens Fight a Supernatural Battle to Save Humanity – Snowflake River #Review and #Author Interview


screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-3-38-52-pmSnowflake River: A voyage into the Great Spirit by Ben-Ami Eliahu begins with a Minister of Health investigating Body Cooling Phenomenon (BCP), a deadly disease marked by a decline in body temperature plus hallucinations, a compulsion to buy, buy, buy, and eventual death. The affected population? Mostly young people in financially powerful countries.

The heroes? Two teenagers who are assigned a school project that takes them on a supernatural adventure to find the cause of BCP. It’s inspiring that the teens are the ones to take on the corruption and greed in the world and learn how things mysteriously interconnect.

The villain? The evil corporate power who is raping the spiritual realm of “spiritglow,” causing harm to the Great Spirit, using this powerful force in commercials to make those watching TV become dramatically attached to the object shown. But this misuse of “spiritglow” also causes BCP and may lead to the destruction of humanity.

Aided by professors, the two teens, neurotic, fearful Omer (who has contracted BCP) and Noa, a disabled but striking, red-headed girl, unravel the secrets of an ancient tablet engraved with a symbol of spiral lines that leads to the source of all consciousness. Omer bravely risks his life, entering an alternate universe to battle those stealing “spiritglow,” descending into a river of collective awareness and “snowflakes” that are memories of all of existence. Through the loving aid of ancient nature spirits and Noa, he survives and returns to a better world.

The story has many fantastical elements and will be a page-turner for anyone into science fiction or the metaphysical.

Spellbinding fiction with a message – a warning and a glimmer of hope in a time when power, money and technology are at odds with the survival of humanity.

Here, Ben-Ami Eliahu answers my questions about Snowflake River:

What inspired you to write Snowflake River?

When I started working on the first draft of Snowflake River, its main theme was the Great Spirit, and the base for my writing was my years-long thoughts about our existence, life and death, and the hidden connections between all people. I was also inspired by the work of Carlos Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.

In later drafts I added other themes, like consumerism and its unknown connections to the Great Spirit, and here I was inspired by people’s response, mainly children’s, to subliminal advertising.

What message(s) would you like readers to take away from your book?

I hope it would be the understanding that people are not separate individuals as it may seem, but that we all share and have access to the huge pool of consciousness of our entire humanity. And I would like them to pay extra attention to the hidden reasoning behind seemingly innocent commercials.

I just read an article that scientists have proven the possibility of dream telepathy, something that occurs in your book. Are the fantasy elements in your book based in what you feel is true or possible?

Absolutely. Many researchers indicate that our thoughts are not limited to the sphere of our heads – they can be traced by sensors. Recent research has shown our thoughts can activate physical equipment, like prosthetic hands for handicapped people. So, if we know that our thoughts are not locked within us and that they are actually surrounding us, then we are only missing the part of how the thoughts interconnect – between people – and that, I believe, will also be understood in the future.

What is your writing process like? Do you do much research or mostly use your imagination?

It is the combination of imagination and research. Once I have ideas for elements that I think should be implemented in the story, I start researching them (sometimes too deeply, which slows the writing process) and only when I feel that they make sense, I use them. In addition, I always write down, in a notebook, interesting bits of information that I run across in my daily life.

Snowflake River is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback. The author welcomes readers to share their thoughts and views on the themes of the book at eliahubooks@gmail.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

Millions are suffering from this after #CyberMonday and don’t realize it…


shoppingAfter a weekend starting with Black Friday and ending with Cyber Monday, we may all have consumerism addiction. Yes, corporations and their ad campaigns find it easy to lead us like lemmings to the sales. Which leads me to this book recommendation for both adults and their teenagers… Snowflake River, a mystical thriller in which a world blinded by greed and the constant bombardment of advertising is at odds with the Great Spirit and threatens the survival of humanity.

#Book Review and and Interview with the Author of Snowflake River

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-3-38-52-pmSnowflake River: A voyage into the Great Spirit by Ben-Ami Eliahu begins with a Minister of Health investigating Body Cooling Phenomenon (BCP), a deadly disease marked by a decline in body temperature plus hallucinations, a compulsion to buy, buy, buy, and eventual death. The affected population? Mostly young people in financially powerful countries.

The heroes? Two teenagers who are assigned a school project that takes them on an out-of-this-world adventure to find the cause of BCP. It’s inspiring that the teens are the ones to take on the corruption and greed in the world and learn how things mysteriously interconnect.

The villain? The evil corporate power who is raping the spiritual realm of “spiritglow,” causing harm to the Great Spirit, using this powerful force in commercials to make those watching TV become dramatically attached to the object shown. But this misuse of “spiritglow” also causes BCP and may lead to the destruction of humanity.

Aided by professors, the two teens, neurotic, fearful Omer (who has contracted BCP) and Noa, a disabled but striking, red-headed girl, unravel the secrets of an ancient tablet engraved with a symbol of spiral lines that leads to the source of all consciousness. Omer bravely risks his life, entering an alternate universe to battle those stealing “spiritglow,” descending into a river of collective awareness and “snowflakes” that are memories of all of existence. Through the loving aid of ancient nature spirits and Noa, he survives and returns to a better world.

The story has many fantastical elements and will be a page-turner for anyone into science fiction or the metaphysical.

Spellbinding fiction with a message – a warning and a glimmer of hope in a time when power, money and technology are at odds with the survival of humanity, I recommend downloading a Kindle of this book to your own and your children’s electronic devices, maybe the new ones bought on Cyber Monday.

Here, Ben-Ami Eliahu answers my questions about Snowflake River:

What inspired you to write Snowflake River?

When I started working on the first draft of Snowflake River, its main theme was the Great Spirit, and the base for my writing was my years-long thoughts about our existence, life and death, and the hidden connections between all people. I was also inspired by the work of Carlos Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.

In later drafts I added other themes, like consumerism and its unknown connections to the Great Spirit, and here I was inspired by people’s response, mainly children’s, to subliminal advertising.

What message(s) would you like readers to take away from your book?

I hope it would be the understanding that people are not separate individuals as it may seem, but that we all share and have access to the huge pool of consciousness of our entire humanity. And I would like them to pay extra attention to the hidden reasoning behind seemingly innocent commercials.

I just read an article that scientists have proven the possibility of dream telepathy, something that occurs in your book. Are the fantasy elements in your book based in what you feel is true or possible?

Absolutely. Many researchers indicate that our thoughts are not limited to the sphere of our heads – they can be traced by sensors. Recent research has shown our thoughts can activate physical equipment, like prosthetic hands for handicapped people. So, if we know that our thoughts are not locked within us and that they are actually surrounding us, then we are only missing the part of how the thoughts interconnect – between people – and that, I believe, will also be understood in the future.

What is your writing process like? Do you do much research or mostly use your imagination?

It is the combination of imagination and research. Once I have ideas for elements that I think should be implemented in the story, I start researching them (sometimes too deeply, which slows the writing process) and only when I feel that they make sense, I use them. In addition, I always write down, in a notebook, interesting bits of information that I run across in my daily life.

Snowflake River is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback. The author welcomes readers to share their thoughts and views on the themes of the book at eliahubooks@gmail.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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPECT THE EXTRAORDINARY – #Review and #Author Interview on Angelic Messages and the Spirit of Horses


screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-11-52-37-amExpect the EXTRAORDINARY by Sue Pighini is a fascinating look at how her encounters with angels, extraordinary people, and the world of horses changed the way she lived her life, and can change the way you live yours too.

Sue first heard the voice of an angel telling her how to save her life when she was struck by lightning, next when she was being held up at gunpoint, and third, when she needed to stop and seek treatment for what turned out to be a melanoma. She not only followed the advice that led to her surviving in all three cases, but she realized why she was being saved – to share the message that we are not alone.

After surviving cancer, Sue Pighini changed her life’s direction, leaving the corporate world to explore a spiritual path. She became a life coach and helps others find the courage to change and live the life of their dreams.

Especially interesting is how Sue became an Eagala Equine Specialist and offers horses to partner with humans for healing of emotional and physical challenges at her Livin’ the Dream Ranch. Sue’s personal relationship with Skye, her mare mentor, led me to a much deeper understanding and respect for the higher nature, intelligence and spirit of horses.

This book contains all the wisdom Sue has amassed, from her own experiences as well as from other inspiring life stories, master teachings, and animal messengers, to help us all get out of our “comfort zone” and fuel our passion for living an authentic life. Sue offers Ten Sacred Insights to help you listen to your own spiritual guidance and to better understand your life’s purpose and how you can go forward on your own path to personal freedom.

Here, Sue Pighini, answers my questions about Expect the EXTRAORDINARY:

1) What inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired originally to help my client base/my audiences to understand that we are never alone. We just need to tap into our angelic guides by gently asking them to be by our side when we need/want to connect to a higher power.

2) What message would you like readers to take away from the book?

That life is more than just the physical. We are spiritual beings FIRST having a physical experience. That we each have choices for change – we just need to be fearless in our pursuit of whatever we deeply desire.

3) Why do you think fear is such a part of our lives – what are we essentially afraid of?

Fear is all about the unknown. If we tap into our hearts, we will connect with our angelic realm and they will guide us to the exact path we want to be on. We humans are often more afraid of living than dying.

Know that each one of us have the power to live life exactly as we desire if we JUST TAKE SOME CHANCES FOR CHANGE.

4) How does an angel connection help overcome our fears?

When we connect to a power that is greater than ourselves – our soul/higher power, animal angels, divine angelic beings – we know that we will be protected. We therefore just need to listen to our deep intuition (which resides in our hearts) to get a feel of whether something is good for us or not.

5) What do you think is the best way to connect with angels?

I connect today by going inside to my heart and asking whatever question I may have. These wonderful angelic beings reside right next to us, usually over our right shoulder. Their essence lives in our hearts.

6) Did you believe in angels before the first time you had an angelic intervention?

I knew nothing about angels before I was struck by lightning and had a near death experience. The angelic presence that saved my life came to me audibly because “her” voice was so insistent and very ancient in “her” choice of words.

7) Can you explain how you saw angelic presences in the world of horses?

Horses, as with all animals, are pure energy – no ego. Their world is black and white, and they expect you to be as truthful in your path in life as they are. Horses teach us to be all we can be as empowered humans. When you are in the presence of a 1,200-pound animal, you learn to be very present in your focus at that moment. You are learning all about your authentic self.

8) What tool do you think is most important to get on a Path of Passion?

 The most important advice I have given all of my clients/audiences is to take chances in life. True self-knowledge of what you can accomplish comes from living on the edge, at least a little.

Expect the EXTRAORDINARY is available on Amazon.com. For more information, see www.SuePighini.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

 

In the Light of the Full Cold Moon #BookReview, #AuthorInterview and #BookGiveaway


Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 3.47.53 PM.pngIn the Light of the Full Cold Moon by Susan Elizabeth Girard is a story of spiritual exploration and healing.

In this novel, Girard’s protagonist Savannah goes into meditative “vision states” or astral travels into another dimension of the rainforest where she meets and learns from a wise shaman, a Muslim, Chief Dan George, Jesus, a messianic Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Taoist, Archangels and other guides. She learns the importance of preserving nature and Mother Earth and keeping spirituality alive.

The book is full of a wide range of historical religious doctrine, philosophical musings, and an unflagging sense of joy in winding one’s way through both the Sacred Coastal Rainforest and the sacred within us all.

An important realization that is shared is that religions don’t matter; in fact, most have similar truths at their core. “Goodness comes in many forms,” says one of Savannah’s mentors in the forest.

Savannah learns she is an Intuitive Empathic Healer, which is why on her spiritual path she feels the suffering of others. In learning how to use her gifts, she provides us with this spiritual guidebook containing many amazing insights.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR SUE GIRARD on IN THE LIGHT OF THE FULL COLD MOON:

What message do you hope readers take away from your book?

Sue: I want the readers to embrace some or all of the wisdom and teachings in the book. I want them to be able to envision Savannah’s journey into the Alternate Parallel Zone and take from it something concrete that they can utilize in their own Spiritual Growth journey.

How autobiographical is your story?

Sue: Though written in the third party narrative, which gave me the freedom and license to explore the greater Realms of all possibilities, the story is in many senses quite autobiographical. Savannah is in many ways a young me, but her journey takes her far beyond where I have ventured in my Spiritual Walk.

As an Automatic Writer, I have meditated into deep communication and conversation with Spirit beings, including the Christ, and many of these writings were incorporated into the body of the book.

In the prologue, you mention your own health struggles and how writing this book helped you heal. What insight(s) during the writing process facilitated your healing?

Sue: The process of the writing of the book was a healing aspect in and of itself. I did a lot of research and visited the forest every day for my inspiration and guidance. I practiced the modalities and teachings myself faithfully every day and over time it became apparent that they were proving to be healing for me as well.  A year after completing the novel, I am very healthy, content and more spiritually evolved than I was a year ago.

How did writing the book act as a spiritual experience for you

Sue: Along my walk of discovery of my Spiritual path, I reach to expand my knowledge in my Earth Walk… writing the book absolutely brought me to a higher level of consciousness and transformation in that Walk… which will be ongoing on this physical plane as long as I draw breath. It was such a positive process for me to take and I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to create a novel out of it.

Can you explain how your protagonist Savannah enters the “vision state” where she meets masters and guides?

Sue: Through deep and very disciplined meditative practice, Savannah is able to enter the dream state that takes her on her Spiritual journey into the Parallel Zone. She literally takes the Quantum Leap into an Alternate Reality.

What did Savannah learn about the nature of divinity?

Sue: She learned about the diversities of faith practices and that there is more than one way to connect with the Cosmic Consciousness. She learned that as human beings, more often than not, we are saying the same things with different words and language. The ultimate goal through enlightenment is the same. She gained insight, compassion, truth, wisdom and knowledge.

What advice do you have for other first-time authors who have inspiration to share?

Sue: Begin… just begin to write down your thoughts by first praying and meditating on your focus and then documenting your visions. No two stories are alike. Every story is as unique and different from another. If you have a passion to write, then the Ultimate Source will work in and through you to manifest your thoughts on paper.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Enter to win one of 2 signed copies of In the Light of the Full Cold Moon on Goodreads Giveaways now through August 31st at: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/195771-in-the-light-of-the-full-cold-moon

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

www.theChakras.org

www.chakradiaries.wordpress.com

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