Can I be honest here?
I’m an avid APP deleter.
I find that I’ve been scarred by so many imperfect Apps that I tend to shy away from adding too many to my phone – and much like the ability I have to determine whether or not I like a website within the first 10 seconds of landing on it – the same can be said with Apps.
Now that you know I’m a tough sell when it comes to Apps and my standards are (too) high, today I’ll be sharing my favorite personal growth, spiritual, and meditation Apps. They are good, I promise.
#1. Simply Being- FREE!
This is actually my favorite app! I use it every single day to put my son to sleep and leave it on during meditation or just while relaxing.
#2. The Power of Now Meditation Deck – $7.99
I love this deck as well. The cards are organized in an simple manner, there is a meditation timer, a place to make notes and I LOVE the random card feature. It always seems to know what I need.
If you’re a fan of Tolle, this is worth the $7.99.
I love Hay House Radio shows – and it’s nice to be able to tune in anytime, anywhere. Definitely recommend this one!
#4. Gratitude Journal – The Life Changing App – $3.99
My friend Alex opened my eyes to gratitude apps back in January – and since this time I’ve come to love one in particular; Gratitude Journal. I like this App because its visually pleasing (so many are not!), and it allows you to add pictures. It also has the option to password protect your app which I like. Two thumbs up here.
#5. Daily Deepak - FREE
There is always plenty happening at Deepak central. It’s a goodie at no charge to get the wheels churning in your head.
I don’t write about my children often – but as a stay-at-home parent a large portion of my daily conversations are with my two older boys – nearly 6 & 4. We talk about everything. Sometimes we talk about life, and death.
These conversations are sparked by prayers before bed, overhearing a conversation between adults, and sometimes the boys wonder why I am sad as I look at a photo of a close friend that passed away.
My spouse and I are very open about life and death, and our beliefs (which includes the occasional, “We don’t really know for sure”, much to my four-year-old’s dismay). The motivation behind our openness, is that we want to help our children as much as possible to understand that death is actually a part of life. It happens to each and every one of us.
Beliefs vary, but this fact is undeniable.
One of my favorite parts of Deepak Chopra‘s book, Life After Death, is when he describes growing up in India, and the fact that death was not thought of or treated as the end, as it is here in the Western world. It was thought of as a new beginning. (I wrote about this book here).
This passage definitely inspired me to approach conversations about death differently than I had been. To be even more open to the curious minds of my children. To face the questions head on.
Because children look to us – their caregivers – for reassurance and security. If they can see the fear in my eyes when I change the topic of conversation or stumble on my words, what could I possibly teach them about the afterlife that they would believe?
Below I wanted to share some guidelines that I use when discussing this heavy subject with my kids:
1.) What can they developmentally comprehend at their age? Here is a list to give you an idea – and by no means do I believe every child fits in to these categories by age. (This takes us directly to #2).
2.) The uniqueness of your child. My children are quite opposite in many ways. While both are equally sensitive, one of them has more fears, and the other is more lighthearted. I listen to their questions and reactions carefully to gauge where the conversation is headed and perhaps when the conversation should end.
3.) What are the circumstances of the conversation? There are two factors here for me; Time of day, and life circumstances.
My youngest is a little bit more sensitive before bed than during the day. I would have two very different conversations with him depending on this factor. If we discuss life and death before bed for too long or with many questions – I can see his brain working in overdrive instead of focusing on relaxing.
When I say life circumstances I am referring to a birth or death (or illness) that has occurred. Obviously a child may be more confused or sensitive during these times.
Regardless of ones beliefs, I am confident that incorporating these conversations into our everyday lives will help to minimize fear and anxiety as our children grow. Our hope is that they will mature with a solid understanding that there is more to death than it being “the end” of a life.
Note: If you are struggling with your own fear of death, here is a link to my article, Facing the Fear of Death and Really Living in the Now written for Tiny Buddha.
What are your thoughts about discussing death with children? Do you avoid it or keep the conversation going?
I left off Part 1 explaining how torn I was about my religion of choice due to the Jesus discrepancy (read here to catch up!). Why did I care so much, I would ask myself. There were so many aspects about Reform Judaism that I did like. So many views that I could see myself teaching my children.
But – I knew that the reason was that I didn’t want to have any doubts. My children, I feared, would see right through me. Not to mention, it’s not exactly easy to become an official member of a religion. There is a process involved. And could I stand there and lie through my teeth that I was sure of everything, when I wasn’t?
I envied those who were brought up in a home with faith – or at the very least, religion. Because the two, I knew, were not necessarily synonymous.
And so the years past, and nothing progressed. I would sometimes become angry that my children (there were now two of them), were not gaining the trust and faith during their formative years. As I mentioned in the first post, it was because of my own personal struggles, that I sought out religion in the first place, and I was simply watching the same situation unfold with my own children – or so I thought.
To top things off, I wasn’t better. I was still struggling, but all of a sudden, things changed in my life. I started noticing coincidences, and I was led to people, books, teachers that had a different way of thinking. It was no coincidence, I knew.
(A quick search of this site will lead you to some of my favorites).
Over time, I must have subconsciously let go of the idea that I needed a religion because I began to see the beauty in all religions. I began to “believe in” Buddha, Jesus, Moses, and Mohammed. And I truly believe that their messages, each one of them, are all the same at their core.
Most recently, while reading Deepak Chopra‘s Life After Death, I was presented with an interesting idea. Chopra talks a bit about near-death-experiences, which have been well documented over time, and through this research, shares that an individual providing details of their NDE will describe imagery that pertains to their culture or religion.
An individual in North America will describe pearly gates, shining white lights, and a Father figure waiting for them, while an individual from India will describe something completely different. Fascinating, and to me, just adds to my own idea that there are many paths to spirit, whatever that may look like for you.
I recently heard a quote that beautifully described how I feel – “There are as many paths to God as there are human breaths — Prophet Muhammad”.
I have not yet entered my third decade of life, but I am relieved and happy to say that I have found peace with my own belief system, wide and intangible as it may seem to others. It is based on respect, love, and an understanding that we’re all connected, regardless of which book we learn our morals and values from.
And this is how I ended up here, at The Conscious Perspective.
I got through this past week, and I’m happy to report that I am doing what I do best – submersing myself in discovering more about life, and all that it encompasses.
First – thank you to everyone for your support. It made a huge impact and reminded me that it doesn’t matter where you are, we are all connected in a very real way. I feel like I know so many of you well.
Today I am just checking in – and I wanted to share the latest book I picked up yesterday. I went to Chapters with my boys when I had an hour of free time – and was drawn to it immediately. The book, Life After Death: Burden of Proof is by one of my favorite Spiritual Teachers, Deepak Chopra.
I’m only half through the Preface and already I’m completely absorbed in his words. One of the reasons I like his work is the fact that he has such a wide range of knowledge, from Ancient Indian wisdom, to the most cutting edge Western thoughts. It is a mix, and it takes into accounts many perspectives.
I’ll likely be writing about it as I go along since it is so long and in depth. And today I wanted to note something he wrote in the Preface. He talks about how in India he grew up not fearing death, because “death itself was seen as a brief stopping point on an endless journey that could turn a peasant into a king and vice versa.” (p. 2) All because of reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a controversial subject, many religions don’t believe, but I do. I’ve read a lot about the subject, Carol Bowman for example or the life-long work of Dr. Ian Stevenson, and I find the evidence too concrete to ignore.
The way Chopra describes his childhood beliefs about death are a lot less fear-based than any other ones I’ve heard. Maybe that’s why I find myself able to accept them more. Those fear-based ideas that I was taught about as a child are what had kept me from experiencing any form of God for over two decades.
Much more to come…
I just cracked open a new (old) book called The Wisdom of Forgiveness, a conversation between Victor Chan and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While reading, I was struck by the thought of how lucky we are today to have easy access to many different Spiritual/Personal Growth teachers.
I often have many books in progress at one time – 3 or 4 hardcopy and a couple of audio as well. My reading style is quite comparable to my television habits; sometimes I want a light read, like a thirty minute sitcom, and sometimes I want something more meaningful, like a thought-provoking documentary. There is something for every mood and time constraint.
I realize that I have a list of my favorite books over on the far right of the screen, but today I thought I would share some of the more recent books in the Spiritual/Personal Growth genre I have read and loved (some are old, some are new), they cover a wide scope of subject matter.
Caroline Myss - Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential
His Holiness the Dalai Lama – Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World
James Redfield – The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision (Celestine Series)
Deepak Chopra & Leonard Mlodinow – War of the Worldviews: Science Vs. Spirituality
Kevin J. Todeschi - Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records: The Book of Life
Again, these are books that I enjoyed – so if you are seeking something new, I’d suggest reading the descriptions (click on book image) and giving one of them a try.
What are some of your favorite books that you’ve read recently? I’d love to hear!
When it comes to meditation – the resources today are endless. I have many different books and audiobooks which have accumulated over the years. Most recently I wrote about His Holiness the Dalai Lama‘s new book, Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World. This book features one of the most simple lessons in beginner’s meditation I have come across.
Regularly, Deepak Chopra has 21-Challenges through the Chopra Center which send you daily guided meditations in order to get you in the habit. And there is undoubtedly a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Meditation (so crude) as well, ensuring that the practice is accessible to anyone who may have a slight interest and veer toward that particular series.
It has become clear to me over time that meditation is not optional if ones goal is to find inner peace. Each time I read a new personal growth or spiritual book, or watch a film based on the subject, the topic of meditation and its importance surfaces. Many claim that the answers we are seeking in life will come to us much easier if we are in this meditative state. (Not to mention the overall health benefits!). A claim I have no trouble believing.
The obvious issue with meditation is that it is not something most of us have practiced our whole lives, and so we must create a new habit. Always tricky. Another obstacle is that of questioning results – Am I truly benefiting? I believe that one meditation session provides benefits immediately. Perhaps only surface benefits, but the rest will come.
Today I wanted to share a favorite Gandhi quote, which is completely relevant to this particular subject:
The spiritual weapon of self-purification, intangible as it seems, is the most potent means of revolutionalizing one’s environment and loosening external shackles. It works subtly and invisibly; it is an intense process though it might often seem a weary and long-drawn process, it is the straightest way to liberation, the surest and quickest and no effort can be too great for it. What it requires is faith an unshakable mountain-like faith that flinches from nothing. ~ Gandhi
We would love to hear your meditation stories.
Do you meditate regularly? Do you struggle with finding time? Do you believe you can find inner peace using other practices?
Please share below!