One of the most confusing and conflicting truths that I’ve come across on my spiritual journey is the idea that we are all one while at the same time we are all individual souls that have come here to live a human life and experience humanity in this form.
Let me repeat that….
We are all one.
Our souls are individual in the sense that we’ve come here to learn/teach a specific lesson(s).
Carolyn Myss touches on this in her book, Sacred Contracts, and sure it makes sense, but it’s still confusing to the mind. I guess, that’s the problem – trying to use the mind to grasp something that can truly only be understood by stepping outside of the mind-chatter.
I work hard to do this; to step outside of myself and observe without judgment and labeling, but a learning obsession (even when it’s about spirituality!) is a learning obsession, and that uses the mind.
The mind wasn’t always the enemy it can be today, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about evolution. Modern evolution.
I mentioned to a friend this morning that I believe that our modern technology that has brought so much awareness to the global concerns occurring such as poverty and human rights is a part of our evolution. On a global scale many are growing more compassionate and striving for equality for all (in every sense of the word.) We are beginning to understand the true meaning of oneness and dissolve geographical boundaries.
The man-made environmental issues that plague us are another form of our evolution. As a species we’ve made some grave errors, and they need to be corrected if we are to sustain here on earth. The threats to our oceans and our food supplies are very real and I’ve heard the term “evolve or die” used many times before – harsh but many argue true.
Our health is making us evolve too. As humans we like to look outside of ourselves for the answer, and it’s hard to accept that we are alone responsible for our health. Our food choices, what we put on our skin, and how we nurture our spirits.
I’m really beginning to understand that our physical health is directly linked to our personal growth and the two go hand in hand. Sure one can exist independent of the other, but when the two meet magic can happen.
I’ve experienced it myself and am still going through it with my son. My health and spirit directly effect his health and spirit. He’s making me question, and challenge and ultimately, grow.
But right now I’m convinced that physical health is the new path of spiritual Evolution.
Editors Note: When I had the idea to discuss the topic of meditation this month, I immediately thought of the one person I know that has had a solid meditation practice in place for years – by Brother-in-law Eric. Lucky for me, he just happens to be a writer as well. This post provides everything you need to know to get started with meditation. It’s the perfect beginners guide! Thanks Eric!
Technology is continually exploding the amount of information we process. The Internet has become a conduit for so much intelligence it is literally impossible to keep up. Businesses and social lives have been swept up in the momentum; the need to stay current, perform jobs, raise kids, and maintain a social lives means that we have to be thinking, communicating, remembering things all the time.
When we spend most of our time in our heads we run the risk of identifying ourselves with the contents of our knowledge.
We can get so caught up in accomplishing things and remembering dates and processing ideas that we never stop thinking. Even when we’re not purposefully thinking, our minds wander to ideas and objects, memories and daydreams, perpetually.
When the brain is overtaxed our whole self pays the cost with anxiety and illness.
Meditation aims to give our minds a break from thinking, if only for a moment. The beautiful side effect of the practice is that minor successes or even failures can still help to tone down our mental noise. When the noise is reduced we can begin to unwind ourselves from the web of language and thought and realize that we are more than this. We have higher faculties like love and inspiration to attend to.
How do I meditate?
When I first sat down to meditate I was stumped. My brain had always been thinking, so not-thinking seemed very strange. I enjoyed reading books about meditating, which of course filled my mind with concepts and terms and goals and confusion.
I started by putting on very sedate music and stared at a candle. This got my brain used to intentional down time and gave my mind something to focus on. I realized my mind wanders because it has been consistently inundated with words and thoughts since birth. Our minds, being brought up in the culture they have, don’t know anything else.
Getting the mind to relax is tricky. The brain is connected by the central nervous system to our entire bodies. If there is any agitation or tension then our minds aren’t working at full capacity. This is why the physical side of yoga is effective. Hatha yoga is meant to gently open and awaken our nervous system, and to circulate the natural energies (be they blood, electrolytes, oxygen, prana, whatever you like). It can be hard to find the time, but physical relaxation is a crucial preparation for meditation.
Get into a comfortable position, one that lets you sit still for a long time. Stillness is the best situation to be in for meditation. If you can relax enough to essentially ‘forget’ your body, you’ll be able to pay greater attention to your mind. Make sure you aren’t going to fall asleep. Just sit quietly and pay attention to your thoughts as they arise. New thoughts will probably bubble up from your subconscious mind. That’s okay.
Notice though that if you intentionally think about a subject, you can move your mind forward along that train of thought without getting too distracted.
An active attention tends to block out the rising of subconscious thoughts. But an active attention finds correspondences in memory and can digress and ramble on ineffectually.
To avoid this we focus attention on our breathing. Without straining, we want to relax into slow, full breaths while keeping our mind trained on the gentle flux of breathing. Subconscious thoughts will still bubble up. That’s totally natural. When you catch yourself thinking about something, understand that it’s just a subconscious bubble.
Let the bubble burst, let the thought go, and ease your attention back onto the breath. Guess what…more thoughts arise. That’s fine. The more we do it, the better we get (like everything), so there is no need for frustration at these thoughts.
Soon you’ll find that you’re catching the thoughts at finer and finer stages. Eventually you might find your attention is completely absorbed in breathing and very few thoughts arise, or the thoughts that arise are quieter, less defined. When your mind slows its thought-generating process, it gets used to the idea that it doesn’t have to constantly whirl like a top to stay up.
You might find a moment of silence. This generally comes with a feeling of bliss.
If you can get that far, you might just meditate for the rest of your life. It worked for me. I meditate at least twice a day and have not missed a single session in many years. It is not a chore; it is something I look forward to every day.
Meditation practice is very personal, and we each develop our own way in our own time.
If you’re looking for more information on meditation techniques, the following books are a beautiful bridge from an ancient Indian tradition to today:
Eric R. Schiller writes and makes movies and music in Toronto. A self-guided veteran of inner exploration, Eric blogs weekly at EricRSchiller.com about spirituality, philosophy, culture, and art. Follow him on Twitter @EricRSchiller.
I have reviewed a few cookbooks on this blog – most recently Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy, Kitchen – and I didn’t anticipate featuring another anytime soon. Then, I ended up with a copy of Dr. Mark Hyman‘s newest effort, The Blood-Sugar Solution Cookbookand I had a change of heart.
Why? Because this book transcends generations.
I found it informative for myself and my own family, and it allowed me to spark a conversation with my Baby Boomer parents about their health as well.
Until I received a copy of this book I didn’t know much about Dr. Hyman, nor did I know a thing about The Blood Sugar Solution, his New York Times #1 Bestseller. Dr. Hyman gets down to business immediately in the Introduction, sharing eye-opening statistics (“in 1900 only 2% of meals were eaten outside of the home; today that number is over 50%”), and stating his thoughts about our need for a “Cooking Revolution.”
Thus far – the BSSC was unfolding like a compelling documentary. (Note: I found it VERY interesting that Europeans spend 20% of their incomes on food, while Americans spend only 9%! I am sure that Canada’s numbers are similar, and we all complain about high prices.)
As I continued on with the book, I began to wonder if it would be relevant to my personal situation. After all, I’m 29 – no diabetes, no high blood pressure, a pretty good diet – but Dr. Hyman summed it up best when he said, “The Blood Sugar Solution is all about the root cause of chronic disease…” And the reality is, now is the time for prevention.
The book covers a wide range of important subjects – how to stock your fridge and pantry, how to eat mindfully, details about the Glycemic Index, why you should cut out gluten and dairy. A very comprehensive guide to making a major lifestyle change.
When I hit the recipe section I was excited (and relieved) to see that generally, I cook my meals aligned with the principles he discusses in the book – meaning that my family is on a good path of prevention.
I cooked up Dr. Hymans Chinese Fried Quinoa and the Lemony Greek Pan-Roasted Chickpeas the first night I received the book, and as suspected, they were a hit. Super easy, super healthy, and super affordable.
I’m looking forward to diving in to The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook further, and believe this is a truly good option for any age group. As I mentioned, I was able to speak with my parents about their health thanks to this book, and I’m sure it would help you do the same if you have some concerns.
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of the cookbook from Dr. Hyman, and as always, the thoughts and opinions shared on this post are my own.
Call me crazy, but I love the research side of being a writer.
I know some dread it, but opening up a file with graphs or delving into the history of a subject always puts a smile on my face. Maybe it’s the remnants of a childhood obsession with Nancy Drew mysteries kicking around in my head, always looking to solve something. Regardless of where the love stems from, I’m forever doing research. From the year and a half it took me to fully complete my book proposal, to the two-hour search for a new post I’m working on.
Just today I got my hands on a brand-spanking new report that is very relevant to this site, and I am excited to share the findings. Released by Sparks & Honey and the massive media outlet GaiamTV, the new report titled, The Explosion of Conscious Media, takes a look into what truly does appear to be the rising level of consciousness around the globe; it is pretty much a confirmation of this truth.
What is Conscious Media? Here is their definition:
And what topics are covered in the area of Conscious Media??
Thought this diagram was so interesting. Where do you fit in on this journey? If you find yourself on the left, take heart, you CAN make huge strides on your mind/body/spirit journey in a short time!
Some key findings:
+ Over 100 Million Americans consume Conscious Media
+ 55% of Americans are undergoing a major life transition and are open to the idea of personal transformation
+ Some of the top media titles of all time are Conscious Media, including the movie Avatar and the video game Journey
So. What does this mean for all of us?
It means that there is a shift occurring. That people are waking up. That we are slowly but surely moving away from fear-based living and walking into our truths. That perhaps one day, maybe when Gen Z is entering their Mid-Life, it will be commonplace to view yourself as global citizen that cares for the health and well-being of every individual on the planet.
Source for images & study findings can be found here via GaiamTV & Sparks & Honey.
It isn’t very often you will find me writing reviews on Parenting/Mothering books. In the past I have featured Milton’s Secret by Eckhart Tolle, and The 10 Spiritual Laws for Parents by Deepak Chopra; two of my faves.
When approached by my favorite publisher Hay House about a possible review of the new book One Hot Mama, The Guide to Getting Your Mind and Body Back After Baby, I was intrigued. Why? Well – I had a baby 10 weeks ago. Also, I knew there would likely be a Mind/Body/Spirit theme to the book; which is what I’m all about here on The Conscious Perspective.
I received a copy and was excited to dive in. I had some correspondence with author Erin Cox and knew that she was lovely, and I was certain that the tone of her book would be no different. It is like a friend is giving you advice – a friend that you trust.
One Hot Mama is broken down into three sections; Month 1, Month 2, and Month 3. Then Erin breaks the months down to weeks with a special focus for each week. Some of the subjects include, “New Normalcy,” “The Power of Motherhood,” and “Soul Searching”. She really does cover everything a woman may experience postpartum, and I was surprised to find that although I had been through the postpartum process twice before, I really needed this refresher.
Additionally, Erin includes the most wonderful workout schedules at the end of each Month and actually provides images of how to properly do specific exercises, which I find really helpful since I haven’t spent much time in a gym.
Overall, my favorite part of One Hot Mama is the tips and insights into everything from learning about the different types of fats, to ways to communicate most effectively with your spouse. In detail. I learned so much that I didn’t know before, and I find myself referencing it often.
One Hot Mama is the complete package. The perfect gift to yourself when you are expecting.
Check out author Erin Cox on her website here, or connect with her via Twitter here. And say hi, you’ll love her. Erin is also offering a 3-week online course Reclaim Your Hot Mama Mojo: Three Weeks to a Happier, Healthier, and Hotter Life! starting January 15th. You can learn more about the course and sign up here.
Disclosure: Hay House provided me a copy of this book for review. As usual, thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.
One of my favorite things about this time of year is reading all of my favorite bloggers share their ‘favorites’ from the past year. Whether it be written work or material goods – a nice round-up always causes me to reflect and think of what I truly enjoyed from the past year.
Today I wanted to share my favorite resources of 2012 that will help you to feel nourished in mind, body, and spirit.
Enjoy – and feel free to share yours below!
You can read up on it here.
She has a very unique style of writing – almost like prose – that motivates me. She is actually helping me write my book too. You will love it.
This will probably be on my list every year. Or perhaps I will teeter back & forth between this and The Power of Now.
Most relevant, eye-opening books I have ever read.
(Not to be confused with Fierce Grace, the Ram Dass documentary)
I watched Fierce Light on Netflix a long while back. It is about something I often ponder – that intersection between Spirituality and Activism.
Do you receive Gabrielle Bernstein‘s weekly newsletter? She is well-known for her Vlogging, which is always very relevant and features some timely lessons. I recommend signing up. (photo source via Gabby’s newsletter)
She is still continuing on doling out the inspiration, helping women to face their fears and Play Big. She is amazing.