Last week I stumbled on an interview with Marianne Williamson and Marie Forleo and was once again, struck by how well-spoken and thoughtful Williamson is. Of the many spiritual authors out there Williamson is one of the very few who mash up Spirituality and Humanitarianism. Personally I believe the two go hand in hand, so I am always eager to hear her perspective and learn from her.
If this were three years ago, I may not have been as open to her work – she uses the Christian terminology that is rooted in the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles; namely, Miracles, Prayer and God, (not to mention the word Divine is in the title). This would have scared me off at one point, but I urge readers out there who are not used to using/hearing Christian terminology not to dismiss it because it has truly valuable lessons.
If there is one word I could use to describe this book, it would be this one: succinct.
Williamson utilizes every sentence to its maximum potential, and I love her for it. It’s right to the point, but at the same time it makes an impact.
This book is an important one that I wish was mandatory for all. I don’t know one person who doesn’t have some sort of money-related issue. Whether it is judgments of those who have money, fear of not having enough money, or uncertainty about how to make money, this book covers it all in perfectly built layers intertwined by prayer.
Williamson uses lesson from ACIM and real life situations as examples of how we hold ourselves back from abundance and how fear ultimately derails us from this path. As I listened to the audiobook (a short 3.5 hours), I found myself pausing frequently to take in her words. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this experience and it was exactly what I needed. In fact, I purchased a hard copy so I can highlight away and study further.
The Law of Divine Compensation is a gem, and we’d all be doing ourselves a favor if we picked up a copy, regardless of what our money situation or belief system is. And I love it so much I’ve decided to give away a copy.
Giveaway is now closed! Congrats to the winner Chris!
(Disclosure: All my thoughts & opinions, and giveaway provided by TCP)
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.
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.
This is a book I have been meaning to share for quite some time – Milton’s Secret by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman.
Milton’s Secret is a story of a young boy who is bullied at school, and learns about living in the present moment through the experience.
We scored a copy of this book about a year ago at a local thrift shop, and since this time my boys have grown to love it. We read it often, because the story is captivating, and it has really helped them to grasp the concept of past and future (as much as they can and need to at their young ages). As a note, I do believe that most children naturally live in the present moment in their early years.
For those who are seeking an effective means to help foster present moment awareness with their children, Milton’s Secret is a great read.
You can learn more about Milton’s Secret on Eckhart Tolle‘s website here.
So I am back from BlogHer ’12 and something very lovely came out of the experience – I met Wioleta Gramek from Louise Hay’s brainchild, Hay House – and we bonded over Louise Hay, Carolyn Myss, Wayne Dyer, and Doreen Virtue (and Italian food!).
What I didn’t know before this trip is that Hay House is doing something very special for Bloggers out there – Book Nook, a Hay House Blogger Community.
Here you can sign up and have access to a ton of new Hay House releases to review on your blog. I can never read enough, so I am more than thrilled to join in and have this opportunity.
I just signed up, and you can too – here is the link to apply: http://www.hayhousebooknook.com/
Note: This is not a sponsored post, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.