Musings and Reviews of Metaphysical, New Age and Meaningful Writings

Posts tagged ‘yoga and meditation’

A Novel Look at Yoga, Meditation, and Vegetarianism

Thanks to guest reviewer, Kristin Tone, an author, Yoga teacher, and educator, for providing this look inside The Swami Deheftner.

Swami book coverRobert Goldstein has written a fascinating novel about spirituality and life.  In The Swami Deheftner, he uses story to impart knowledge in an engaging and thought-provoking investigation of the making of a spiritual Master.

What hooked me was the “human-ness” of the main character’s journey. Solomon, or Sollie, has a deep longing to know himself and to fully experience all aspects of his humanity.  His courage to make choices outside the accepted mainstream encourages the reader to consider what might be available if such courage and humility are called upon.

Other themes in this book include Yoga, vegetarianism, animal intelligence, mystical transcendence, Houdini, magic, and escape from bondage. The reader need not have any previous knowledge or even interest in such subjects, as the story itself is so engaging. I was delighted to find that upon completing the book, I had learned much about subjects previously unknown to me – and a desire to find out more.

The Swami Deheftner is presented in the form of a memoir, recounted by the fictional character Solomon Deheftner.  It is comprised of short episodes that move back and forth through time, each episode a story of its own, yet woven together to create a greater whole.  As a young boy in Brooklyn, Solomon discovers a book about the legendary magician and escapologist Harry Houdini.  Inspired not just by the standard principles of magic, but by the physical and mental disciplines adopted by Houdini, young Solomon secretly studies and emulates Houdini’s process.  Sollie eventually becomes a successful stage magician capable of astounding physical exploits.  Still, something gnaws at Sollie’s soul and finally forces him to abandon a career of performance to pursue the magic of mystical transcendence through Yoga and meditation.  During his growth as a Yogi and ultimately a Yoga instructor, the spirit of Houdini, as a sort of enigmatic and flawed guru, continues to inspire Sollie, and entices him to explore Yoga’s most advanced and obscure secrets.

The Swami Solomon Deheftner masters a host of advanced and highly esoteric Yoga practices, all thoroughly researched by the author and portrayed in fascinating detail in the book.  But the truly inspiring aspect of the story, for me, was how an insular, socially reticent, emotionally challenged introvert like Sollie was ultimately able to find love, family, and happiness through the sort of spiritual illumination available to all of us through practice and compassionate living.

The story also features some interesting supporting characters, including Lilly: a Yoga teacher and vegetarian chef, Tomasuchi: a Japanese martial arts sensei, Phil: an ex-Navy Seal seeking spiritual illumination, and Sultana: a professional dominatrix who wants more in her life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe author, Robert Steven Goldstein, a Yogi living in the San Francisco Bay Area, was kind enough to answer my questions about his evocative novel:

KRISTIN: Yoga, meditation, and vegetarianism are explored extensively in your novel.  They form the foundation upon which your character, Solomon Deheftner, builds a path toward spirituality.  Are these practices a part of your personal life?

Yes, I’ve been practicing Yoga, meditation, and vegetarianism for well over forty years.  It’s still somewhat odd to hear myself talk about Yoga, meditation, and vegetarianism separately, because historically, Yoga has always encompassed meditation and vegetarianism.  But today, especially in America, Yoga is often seen as a set of exercises, detached from any spiritual, moral, or ethical core.  So, in the novel, as well as in my day-to-day conversations, I’m careful to explicitly mention all three of these critical aspects of Yoga and spirituality.

KRISTIN: What inspired you to write the book?

I have always been fascinated by connections I perceive across beliefs and behaviors that appear on the surface to have little in common.  As a boy I was exposed to Orthodox Judaism, and I also dabbled a bit in magic.  I’ve studied Yoga for decades.  I was once acquainted with a professional dominatrix, and over the years I’ve known a number of people who practiced martial arts.  If you dig a bit into each of these practices, the similarities you discover are astonishing.  I think they point to a yearning for mystical or spiritual awakening that all humans share.  It seemed to me, as a writer, that exploring these connections, via a main character who felt compelled to immerse himself in such things in a somewhat extreme fashion, would be a fascinating fodder for a novel.

KRISTIN: A number of animals appear in your novel: a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and an especially memorable parrot named Einstein.  All are fleshed out quite vividly.  Why did you choose to include animals as characters in a novel geared toward adults?

Thank you for referring to these animals as characters.  That was my goal, to paint them as full characters, with the same legitimacy and vibrancy as the human characters.  Aside from the fact that their stories and personalities are, I think, rather entertaining, there is a more important reason for their inclusion.  Yoga, when embraced as a way of life, includes certain moral and ethical precepts.  Foremost among these is “Ahimsa”, a Sanskrit term for harmlessness or behaving in a non-injurious way.  A committed Yogi endeavors not to harm other living creatures.  This idea of harmlessness is a very powerful tool in spiritual awakening.  It leads to a respect and love for animals, and the recognition that they are individuals with awareness and spiritual cores just like humans.  Vegetarianism is an obvious corollary.

KRISTIN: What do you hope readers take from your novel?

The first responsibility of a writer is to entertain, so I hope readers find the book enjoyable.  Beyond that, any sort of inspiration people may derive from the book would be immensely gratifying for me.  One reader, a man in his sixties, contacted me through my website.  He had undergone hip replacement surgery a year ago, but some of his pain and discomfort had returned.  He said that this book inspired him to try Yoga for the first time in his life.  It’s been helping him.  That sort of story is just so wonderful to hear

The Swami Deheftner is available in Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle editions on

Guest reviewer Kristin Tone is a co-author of Breathe, a novel about Yoga, love, self-discovery, and personal growth. She graduated from Bowdoin College with a B.A. in Psychology and received an M.A. in Education from Lesley University.

Becca Chopra, author of Chakra Secrets, The Chakra Diaries and Balance Your Chakras, Balance Your Life


Spiritual awakening happens when you are ready. If you are searching for answers to the meaning and purpose of your life, Kaasila’s new book may be the guide you are looking for. He does not tout any specific religion or dogma, but rather transcendence beyond the “dream world” of our emotions, thoughts and addictions, to an awareness of our spiritual nature… where we can experience the one universal awareness.

Kaasila takes you step by step, explaining how you are not your emotions, you are not your thoughts, you are not your roles, not your pain and suffering, not your body or your ego. Rather, he explains that we are spiritual beings inside a material dream, and how to grow the spiritual dimension in our lives.

I found reading this book a meditative experience in itself.
Namaste Sampo!
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

Finding New Meaning in Life

How do you find meaning and purpose in your life? Especially if you have lost a partner or friend or job and find a “whole” in your existence?

The answer is to focus on what you want to create and experience next to find meaning and satisfaction. Recognize your gifts and use them to make the world a better place for yourself and others.

Love all, be grateful for what you have, help others and have fun while doing it. Either find meaning in your work itself, or if not that, meaning in working for the love and betterment of our families and all people, and the world itself.

“If you are feeling bored or disconnected from life, then you have lost touch with your spirit and awareness of the many blessings and gifts God has given you. To cure boredom stop holding yourself back from life and take a risk. Take a chance and get involved in something bigger than you. Goodness knows the world has ample opportunities to choose from,” said Sonia Choquette in her recent “Heal Your Life” posting.

There are many opportunities to “connect,” which is the way to overcome spiritual malaise. Volunteering at a shelter or community garden, taking a class to learn a new skill, use your creativity in a new way or find balance in your life (perhaps yoga, meditation or chakra work), or joining a group whose purpose resonates with your heart and soul.

For example, The International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers came into being in 2004 to help spread peace and promote healing.

Together, the Grandmothers unite ancient indigenous prayer lineages from around the world to create a sacred circle for blessing and healing. You can enter into a virtual circle with them for 3 nights the first week of October, 2011, in a circle that will call us into a spirit of reverence and personal and planetary healing.

Find out more and register here (including how you can help them with their upcoming Brazil trip):

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries


Just finished reading Rainbow Eyes: Chakramid Reflections.

Rainbow Eyes starts with a unique new way to look at and understand the chakras – with an introduction to the Chakramid, a pyramid of chakra energy with the Root Chakra forming a strong foundation, ascending up to the higher energy self in the Crown Chakra. It’s a wonderful way to quickly understand the properties and functions of our body’s energy centers.

The heart of the book is one woman’s self discovery as she journeys through the chakras, balances them and, in the process, recognizes her true path in life. She is able to remove the blocks that her unbalanced energy centers had previously placed in her way.

The book ends with more info on the 7 chakras and Chakramid Journal pages for you to record your own personal reflections. What a wonderful tool for self-discovery and growth! I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to find their life’s purpose, or simply to manifest their dreams more easily. As Mary Jo Shaffer writes, “How quickly something manifests depends upon the alignment of all of the Chakras.”

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

Avoid the #1 Relationship Killer

Relationship experts and Huna philosophers all think blame and criticism is the #1 reason why relationships fail. Most couples split up, family members stop talking or business partnerships fail because one or both of the parties gets tired of being blamed or criticized.

What is the best and quickest way to stop it?

When you’re blaming someone, what you’re really doing is pointing the finger at them and saying “Hah! It’s your fault. You’re wrong.” Then, that person typically comes back and says, “No, it’s your fault…” and this can go on in an endless loop.

When you catch yourself starting to blame or you’re having critical thoughts about your partner or colleague, make a pleasant “Hmmm….” sound. And what this does is it shifts you out of your “critical” brain into your “wonder” brain.

So, you can say to yourself, “Hmmm… I wonder what I could learn from this.” Or “Hmmm… I wonder how I’m contributing to this situation.”

When you do this, an immediate change takes place in your connection with the person you were previously blaming or criticizing.

Try this the next time you have a critical thought, and watch real miracles open up in your relationships! And of course, work on keeping your heart chakra open to love and compassion – listen to my free Chakra Meditation at
Namaste! Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

Run Toward A Happier Life

I was recently interviewed about my novel, The Chakra Diaries, and how the characters became “emotionally centered.” Balancing the chakras can definitely lead to greater emotional strength and help you live a happier life, as it did for my characters.

In addition to meditation, such as daily Chakra Meditation, there are three steps you can take to master your own emotions, the way to run toward a happier life.

1) First, see things as they are in your life now, and accept them.  Journaling or keeping a diary, as did my characters, is a great way to see the truth in front of your eyes.  Don’t see your situation as worse than it is, just the simple truth.

2) Believe that you have the power to change things.  In fact, see your situation as better than it is.  Have a vision for what you want in your life, a compelling future to strive for, a reason to get up in the morning.  Keep your eye on the prize.  Write your goals down in your journal, visualize having what you want during your meditations.

3) Move toward your goal in baby steps, achievable steps, one small move at a time to make your life the way you want it to be.  That way, you won’t scare yourself with fear of failure.  You’ll increase your self-confidence with every small success you experience as you make your life the way you see it – happy.  Be sure to write down every successful move you make in your diary and share the good news with others.

To listen to my free Chakra Meditation, which focuses on the emotions associated with each chakra, go to

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries


Letting Go of Anger and Other Negative Emotions

Letting go of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs can be life changing, and The Sedona Method® has been recognized worldwide as one of the simplest and fastest ways to do so. My good friend, Nicole Lawrence, recently introduced me to its methods of actually letting the feelings come up, and verbally agreeing to let them go, now. Instructing your body to release the stress and tension associated with a “feeling” works much more quickly than mentally trying to deal with your emotions – you’ll just keep rationalizing your anger or fear.

To watch a great introduction to the method, go to:

Link to see the movie online or purchase the DVD:

I find this method works well with balancing the heart chakra, letting go of negative emotions and beliefs, and opening to love and compassion.
Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries


With all this talk of manifesting your goals, how do you actually accomplish
conscious manifestation? There are many ways – here is advice gleaned from Gay Hendricks.

Manifestation begins to happen after you’ve become skilled at focusing positively
on your goals (stage one) and loving yourself as you proceed toward them (stage two.)

The third stage is to cultivate an ongoing experience of wonder.

As you go through your life, get in the habit of asking lots of
wonder-questions. A wonder-question is one you don’t know the answer to.
A wonder-question is something you’re genuinely curious about.

When a tough situation emerges, go toward wonder rather than
toward a fixed position. If you’ve been struggling with your weight all your
life, shift for a moment to wonder instead of struggle. Ask a wonder question:
“Hmmm, I wonder what my weight-struggle is really about?”
(Compare that to a non-wonder question: “Does Jenny Craig or Weight-
Watchers have the best program?”)

Wondering is more fun and it makes things work faster. If we’d
gotten stuck in feeling victimized by our buyer who backed out, we wouldn’t
have had much fun. We might not have gotten the house back on the
market and sold it quite so quickly, either.

You can turn any life-situation into a wonder-question. If you’re
having a relationship struggle, let go of blaming your partner or yourself.
Instead, wonder “Why would I be creating a relationship struggle right

If you’re having a money-struggle, turn it into a wonder-question:
“Hmmm, what am I needing to learn from this money-struggle?”

Under stress, we humans tend to clutch our bellies in fear and cling to
fixed positions. We look for somebody to blame. We think we know whose
fault it is and what they ought to do to fix the problem.

Let’s try something new: Under stress, go to wonder rather than fear.
Let go of positions and float free in wonder.

Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries

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