Archive for spiritual growth

Spiritual Awakening and Then What?

195826,1300648308,2It is a fact that an increasing number of people are now experiencing various forms of spiritual awakening today. This is not the stories of the Bible or other religious accounts from long ago. This is happening right now. If any one wants proof of this, try typing in the words, “spiritual awakening” into Google and see how many accounts come up. While the experiences differ with each person who goes through this process (some people report multiple experiences, many of them different each time), there are some common threads. In fact, there is even a Wikipedia account for “spiritual awakening”. Here are some of the common features of this  and the related terms, near death experiences, mystical experiences, enlightenment, liberation or being born again. These experiences seem to be independent of religious or cultural backgrounds. Numinous – something that invokes both fear and attraction due to the power and immensity of the experience. Ecstacy – the experience brings great pleasure and feeling of strong love. Sometimes this experience is described with an accompanying stron sexual urge. Enthusiasm and excitement – everything seems positive, happy and uplifting. Mystical – there seems to be no boundaries between one soul and another. Some experience flying, lightness, unusual abilities like walking on water or hot coals without bodily harm, trance states or out of body experiences.

Spiritual awakening — A spiritual awakening usually involves a realization or opening to a sacred dimension of reality and may or may not be a religious experience. Often a spiritual awakening has lasting effects upon one’s life. The term “spiritual awakening” may be used to refer to any of a wide range of experiences including being born again,near-death experiences, and mystical experiences such as liberation and enlightenment. Click here to read more.

OK. Now someone (maybe you or me) has experienced spiritual awakening. There are many reports about the difficulties of integrating this state or realization back into the realities of everyday life. It might be nice to feel at one with the universe, but it doesn’t pay the bills or clean the house. Here are some possible issues people have report that have to be integrated. Rick NurrieStearns in his article, “Kundalini and Spiritual Awakening” reports the difficulty of focusing on the task of driving or doing his computer writing. He would find himself focused on the cracks in the road, not the oncoming cars, for example. He also soon learned not to share his experiences with many people who wanted to label him as insane. Bruce Davis in his article, “Life After Spiritual Awakening”

Where most everyone agrees is that those who have been touched by a spiritual awakening (no matter how real or imagined) find little support and guidance to sort things out. The popular media to be “fair and balanced” takes an agnostic approach to nearly everything spiritual. Education, medicine, and even most churches are firmly grounded in the rational world meaning one’s personal experience of some other realm is suspect.

He went on to describe how different the concept of time is in this space. With time vastly expanding, meeting Earthly deadlines seemed irrelevant, unimportant. Some people experience seeing loved ones who have passed over or feeling at one with friends who are like family. You can see how attached people can get to these pleasant, emotional experiences. Unfortunately there is the realization that no one can stay in this realm permanently which sometimes leads the person to become depressed or even want to end life. It seems that there’s going to be a calling for a new breed of counsellors to help  these people cope, particularly due to the fact that some of these “openings” to a new awareness can come on accidentally or are at least unplanned. Is there an increase of these experiences or is the atmosphere just more open to hearing about them now? It’s unclear which it is, but my own belief is that we are actually evolving as a human race to a higher species, more capable of universal love, more caring and certainly less likely to be violent or cruel. It is my hope time will prove me correct. To live in a world with peace for all, environmental improvement and governments truly for the people is everyone’s dream.

Excellent Spiritual Education: Arthur Findlay College

02Want to progress in your spiritual knowledge? Of course you can join a local class or development group, read books on the topic or meditate on the subject. However, if you want to take a big leap in spiritual development, I recommend Arthur Findlay College in Essex, England. Some of my friends have gone there and all highly recommend it. Located in Stansted Hall built in 1871, Mr. Findlay bought it in 1923 and lived there nearly 40 years. After retiring from a business career, he started a college there “for the advancement of psychic science”. He bequeathed the hall to the college upon his death. Fortunately for us, it continues on strongly still today. Here is a quote from the website.

The college is the centre of Spiritual and Psychic Investigation and Instruction in the UK. We are here to teach and help you increase your knowledge in an atmosphere of love and spiritual activity. Spend 7 nights as a student on an all-inclusive Residential Course with full board and excellent tuition (shorter courses are available). Choice of vegetarian or ordinary diet.

What kind of courses can you take?  Here is a sample from the upcoming year: trance mediumship, trance healing, energy management and mediumship, journey of the soul, in service to spirit and a traditional Victorian Christmas at the Arthur Findlay College.  Keep in mind that there are 9 – 15 courses every month, so please survey the website: http://www.arthurfindlaycollege.org   to find out more. There are 44+ instructors (called tutors on the website). Don’t miss the section on  “Choosing the Right Course”. This includes choosing the right level for your abailty as well.

Mystical Spiritual Registry and Active Imagination

Have you ever had a mystical experience, something out of the ordinary, something you can’t explain and different from “normal” reality? An increasing number of people have had these experiences. With more acceptance there are now an increasing number of reports.  Today I’d like to introduce you to a website that specializes in recording people’s mystical experiences. It might be something you want to read or even add your own experience. The website, http://bodysoulandspirit.net  also contains an active blog and other explanations of what people might experience. The tagline is: “A place to learn about and share essential experiences of the body, soul and spirit”. What I’d like to explain now is called Active Imagination by Carl Jung. It is a space between our conscious world and the dream world. This is different from other experiences we might have, perhaps more similar to the Aboriginal “dream time”. It’s a marriage of the inner and outer worlds.

Active Imagination is not hypnosis, contemplation, or meditation. Hypnosis asks us to turn off our alert mind to enter into the world of unconsciousness. Contemplation seeks to sharpen the mind’s reasoning ability. Meditation asks us to move away from the dream world and our everyday mind through focusing on a single word, our breathing, or our movement.

Elements of all of these practices are touched upon when practicing Active Imagination. But, Active Imagination relies upon an alert mind, the non-rational, and a high level of inner creative fludity. This is the only sort of environment that the inner marriage of everyday consciousness and the dream world can exist.

To read the rest click here.

How can we enter this state and what are the advantages of doing so? First, it relaxes your mind, gives you a break. Another bonus is that you might figure out a difficult problem or put together something you need. Please don’t try it when you are driving! There are enough distracted drivers out there already! There are 7 other resources listed if you wish to read further about Active Imagination, including Jung’s own experiences written in his famous book, Memories, Dreams and Reflections. So check out this website, read some of the accounts and add one of your own if you feel so moved.

New Years Greetings from Awakening Spirit Retreat

Here is a New Years greeting message from Bodhi Heart, the owner of Awakening Spirit Retreat in Arizona. Notice the honesty and openness of this letter – a refreshing change from most messages I receive these days.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015
It’s snowing hard this evening as I prepare my Happy New Year greeting.  It seems like a fitting end to a year of transformation and awakening.
In 2014, “Awakening Spirit personal retreat center” became the new name for Spirit Skies.  The 2nd and 3rd guest cabins were added and we had a wonderful grand opening.  2014 was also the year when Spirit Falls began its search for a loving new owner, and I look forward to meeting that soul sister or brother in 2015.
The music video I want to share this New Year’s eve is a haunting invitation to remember to love ourselves.  I am learning how to give myself this gift, and it inspires me to remember who I really am, and let go of who I think I am.  Just click this link to play it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm5ET1tOVzQ
Omkara’s “Remember” video is also my way of inviting you to visit the Arizona mountains and share this beautiful retreat space with me.  I hope this music video also inspires you.  Perhaps it will even lead you to a create a special time in 2015 to enjoy nature’s magnificent beauty and quiet stillness.
May the new year bless you with surprising waves of joy and precious moments of deepening peace.  And may one of those surprising waves carry you here some day soon.
In love and light,
bodhi heart
“Everything… you want to be, you already are.  More than that,
you are the Silence …the Silence of the Heart.”   Robert Adams
To find other articles on MysticFare about these retreat centers, please click here and you will find another article here. For a reasonably priced retreat for one – five people this is the place. You can contact this good man at one of the above listed websites. The photo below was taken at Spirit Falls, the retreat center that is for sale.
Spirit Falls Retreat Hermitage

Spirit Falls Retreat Hermitage

Masaru Emoto Passes Away

thank-youThis week we lost a great man who showed physical proof of the power of thoughts, words and music through his crystallization of water to form the most amazing patterns. His last word he spoke was, “arigato”, Japanese for “thank you”. Without further introduction, here is the video of his unique work.

If you wish to know more about his work, here is his book, The Hidden Messages of Water which was a New York best seller for a long time. However, the book I enjoy the most is entitled, Messages from Water and the Universe in which he shows what water from different places is telling us about the condition of the world and how that relates to our Universe. Click on the link below to order a copy available in Kindle form as well. Rest in Peace, Masaru.

Spiritual Awakening Revisited

downloadSpiritual awakening has become something of a catch-phrase these days. Everyone is looking for that experience – the new age high, the ascension to a higher realm.  It was with a bit of amusement that when doing a Google search for current articles on the topic that I found one on the first page of Google that I had written two years ago (http://www.mysticfare.com/experiences-of-spiritual-awakening/). Why this one had stayed so prominent is the mystery of Google. Today I found an entire website devoted to spiritual awakening, a Wikipedia page under “religious experience” and also 5 ads for groups that will for a fee help you towards that goal including a spiritual awakening test to see how advanced you are, supposedly. I suppose I no longer have to begin my article by explaining what spiritual awakening is, but still everyone seems to have a bit of a different idea. Suffice it to say that not only is there more interest in the subject than even 2 years ago when I wrote that first article, but there are more people having all kinds of experiences of a different kind. I know this because they come to me for readings and I tell them they are normal and not to worry. It’s long been predicted that we are going through some kind of quickening if not actual evolution as a species. Maybe it’s simpler than that. We are just starting to use our right brains, something we could have done at anytime. It’s just that we were so in love with our industrial wonder that we overlooked that aspect of our being. OK. Enough philosophy. Let’s see what people are experiencing. Jim Tolles on the website, spiritualawakeningprocess.com states that he deals mainly with three types of people. I often work with three main types of people:

  • People who want to develop a spiritual practice
  • People who are dedicated to spiritual growth
  • People who need to heal
  • People who are in awakening

So here we are back to the awakening. I suspect that the high some people experience with awakening, the blissful state, is a natural carry-over from the psychedelic drug days, a kind of natural high. What is curious is that so many people are now experiencing this altered state. Back to Mr. Tolles again who is helping people going through awakening.

Orient and Ground You in a Spiritual Awakening
Anyone in awakening can feel completely out of sorts. It’s a bewildering and scary place initially because spiritual awakening falls so far out of the realm of what is considered “normal” in Western society. It’s also a blissful, ecstatic, and extremely connected space. I’ll work with you to find appropriate grounding and help you to fully embody this energy as you shift from an old way of being into your true self. I’ll also remind you regularly that you are not “crazy,” but are in fact waking up to real “rationality” from the insanity that we live in.

From my own experience with this state and from what people have told me, there is often a feeling of dizziness, feeling light-headed and a need to take a break from “deadlines”, pressure and the rat race. Some people feel more connected to others, even people they just met. Others may know things before they happen, or at least what others are thinking. The Eco Institute has an whole list of characteristics. Se if you can relate to any of these:

• Letting go of once tightly held beliefs and views. 
• Zoning out for extended periods of time. A spacey feeling.
• Sensitivity to negative people, events.
• Feelings of “tingling” electrical-like energy running through parts of the body.
• Having more meaningful dreams.
• Becoming aware of “synchronicity”, the seemingly unrelated events & signs we see & experience.
• Wishing to break away from blind conformity, outdated institutions, unnecessary customs, & the overall status quo.
• Unexplained changes in appetite & eating habits, weight. May sometimes look younger.
• Wishing to spend more time in nature.
• Changes in what you read, do with your spare time, & watch on TV (or turning off the TV altogether).
• Greater “awareness” of yourself and the outside world. 
• A greater sense of inner peace and interconnectedness, with intermittent periods of emotional upheaval.  Read more from this source here.

Please leave any comments about your own experiences with spiritual awakening. It’s only beginning and I see it as a hopeful process towards possible world peace and more harmony in this sad world.

Near Death Experiences: What Do We Know?

195826,1300648308,2

Near death experiences are actually a new phenomena brought on by the advent of modern medicine. Before people just died; they were not brought back from death’s doorstep by modern machines. Now we have several decades of reports of what people have experienced when they were between life and death, and the accounts are amazingly similar, even from small children.

For example, many people experience going through a long tunnel towards a bright light. They see religious figures that they recognize, relatives that have passed on or spirit guides who help them decide what to do. Others don’t leave the room they are in but they float over their body that the medical personnel are working on. They can remember conversations that the doctors or relatives had about them. This is more than imagination; it’s reported too often and in detail to be faked.

Therefore, our knowledge of “the other side” is building up. It seems that it’s a nice place, mostly. People report feeling blissful and completely relaxed. Is there a hell or purgatory? There are reports that some people when they “pass on” have to stay in one room for some time to “reprogram”. This might be like purgatory. It seems that everyone must also review their lives, the events and the reactions of people around them. There is some evidence that if something is not resolved in one lifetime that soul must repeat the situation in another lifetime, perhaps the next one.

I find it quite fascinating that souls do not just float on clouds after death. It seems they continue to work and progress in spiritual evolution towards a more pure and giving being. Want to know more? I recommend these books: Life After Death by Deepak Chopra and Life is Forever: Evidence for Survival After Death by David Howe and Susy Smith. While there are a number of sensational approaches to this subject, these two books are very grounded and clearly describe the experiences and conclusions.

The mystery to me is that if we do live multiple times and need to resolve some past issues, why don’t we remember all of this? Last words: here’s a video so you can see this visually

Practical Advice for Soulful Journeys

Whirling Dervish image, from a tile in an Istanbul market (Lori Erickson photo)

Whirling Dervish image, from a tile in an Istanbul market (Lori Erickson photo)

If you are thinking of taking a spiritual journey but don’t know where to go, there’s a good online guide to start out your research. Lori Erickson and Bob Sessions are itinerant travelers who have explored more of our world than most people even dream about doing. Being a freelance writer has allowed Lori to support her passion and we get to benefit from her books and online advice. Thus she has created something of a spiritual Lonely Planet Guide for the spiritually-minded.

Spiritual Travels is a companion to my blog,  The Holy Rover, which covers “travel tips for inner and outer journeys.”  This site focuses on the practical details of how to take those outer journeys.  Here you’ll learn how to plan a pilgrimage to Lourdes, where to eat in Wittenberg when you’re following in the footsteps of Martin Luther, and why you don’t want to challenge a Korean monk to a martial arts match.

The number of locations she has on her site is amazing, divided up by part of the world (North America, Asia, Europe, etc) and also by religion. As always, I am most interested in the unusual places, and there are some good ones listed. I’ll share a few with you here.

Amish Tour in Northern Indiana 

From Shipshewana you can explore the surrounding rural countryside and the charming small towns of this region. A free Heritage Trail audio tour CD with directional cues will take you on a circular loop through the area. Just pop it into your car stereo and listen to interesting stories and historical tidbits as you drive (contact the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau for a copy).

This area also has many Amish-owned shops where you can visit with the clerks to learn more about life in this old-fashioned corner of the world. Shop for fresh baked goods and farm-raised produce at local markets, sample the prize-winning cheeses at the Guggisberg Deutsch Kase Hause, and visit one of the many home-based workshops that make heirloom quality furniture. Das Dutchman Essenhaus in Middlebury includes an inn, shops, bakery and a restaurant that serves family-style meals.  And Amish Acres, while not Amish-owned, offers tours of a former Old Order Amish farm, craft demonstrations, wagon rides, a restaurant, and musical theater.

Maori Culture in the Bay of Islands

My last two days in New Zealand were spent in the Bay of Islands region, located a short drive from the Waipoua Forest. While the area is renowned for its gorgeous islands, it’s also the site of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which preserve the site of the 1840 pact that ended hostilities between the Maori and Europeans and gave birth to the modern nation of New Zealand. Its elaborately carved meeting house, the most magnificent in the nation, sits on a hill overlooking the bay.

Two tour companies near the treaty grounds gave us new insights Maori culture. The first, Living Maori Today, took us to a small native community on an isolated peninsula, where our crew split into smaller groups and joined local residents in their homes for a meal and discussion of contemporary Maori life.

She goes on to describe the chief and his grandson who he is raising so that this generation will carry on the traditional culture. All of this in a remote corner of New Zealand and described so vibrantly.

Whirling Dervishes of Turkey

My friend Marian and I witnessed the whirling dervishes at a Mevlevi Sema Ceremony held at the Hocapasa Culture Center in Istanbul. Notice that it is described as a “ceremony” rather than a “performance.” The distinction is crucial, for the dancers are engaged in a religious rite rather than simply presenting an entertainment.

So who are these people and why do they practice this hypnotic dance? The answer relates to one of the world’s most beloved poets, Jalaleddin Rumi. Born in 1207 in what is now Afghanistan, Rumi eventually settled in the city of Konya in Anatolia (in central Turkey). Rumi was a follower of Sufism, which emphasizes the mysical dimensions of Islam. As a scholar, mystic, and poet he was both a devout Muslim and a passionate advocate for peace and tolerance.

While dervishes—wandering Sufi ascetics—were common in Rumi’s day, the poet is credited with introducing the practice of whirling to Sufism. It is one of a number of Sufi practices designed to promote religious ecstasy.

To read more about these fascinating trips go to this website: http://www.spiritualtravels.info/

Lori Erickson has published a number of books, including The Joy of Pilgrimage.  However, her articles and columns, many of which she lists on this site would keep you reading all year. Just the titles make you want to read on such as: “The Badlands at Last”, “A busy Street Corner with Thomas Merton”, “Hildegard of Bingen’s Lessons for Aging Well”, “Deeper Travel: Getting to Know a Place From the Inside Out”. I look forward to reading more of her travel stories. I’m sure she and husband, Bob, are not finished traveling.

Spirit Skies Retreat Center Reopens

In a past post I have featured this retreat center composed of several close-by locations, Spirit Skies and Spirit Falls. The owner and manager, Bodhi Heart, has now added and renovated Spirit Skies and is offering a opening discount of 30% on all week retreats in July and August and 20% off for retreats in September and October. These are silent retreats in small, personal cabins, not guided or group retreats. It seems that Bodhi has finished his third cabin and plans to sell the Spirit Falls retreat.

Spirit Skies Retreat Center Reopens

SPIRIT FALLS – “How to Find & Buy a Retreat”
Would you like to change your life?  This 4-day, 3-night weekend seminar will show you how easy it can be to create a personal retreat lifestyle in nature.  Through case studies of two retreats that are now for sale– spiritfallsretreat.com and namasteretreat.com –you will see how to find, value, buy, and create your own small retreat center.
Mention this offer when you inquire for the 50% OFF EMAIL SPECIAL – For more info, click: http://www.spiritfallsretreat.com/#!find-retreats-for-sale
SPIRIT SKIES – Grand re-opening with 2 new cabins
Earth Mother and Elk Spirit have been added to Spirit Skies personal retreat, and we are currently having a 30% OFF GRAND RE-OPENING SPECIAL for retreats of one or more weeks.
There is also a new video of our newborn elk (9 calves in 2014) on the website front page.  For more, click: spiritskiesretreat.com.
 Contact Bodhi for more information and to receive your bonus.

Hawaiian Bliss for a Spiritual Journey

I usually don’t feature places in common tourist locations, but please check out this retreat center called Sky Island Ranch Guest Retreat on the Big Island of Hawaii near the town of Captain Cook (yes, there is a place called that). They promise you swimming with the dolphins and their place is absolutely amazing. Looks comfortable no matter what the weather. We know it is not always sunny in Hawaii, right? Anyway, without further explanation I will let the owners’ words from the website explain it all.

We live on a 16-acre ranch overlooking the ocean near Kealakekua Bay. A fifteen minute drive takes you to this unique swimming bay where dolphins and humans interact. The tri-level, cedar ranch house includes covered porches and lanais, spacious meeting rooms on two floors, well-equipped kitchen, country dining room, sunlit relaxation on lawn chairs outside, surrounded by rolling hills with precious donkeys and miniature horses.

Meditation sites are located at special places on the land in the shade of legendary, Hawaiian Ohia trees, luxuriant ginger flowers, fragrant guava, macadamia nut and lush fern trees. Hawaiian Hawks bless us with their presence as they circle above. Wherever you are on the land, you hear the songs of birds and see views of the shining ocean.

To contact the resort and find out more click here.

When you go to the website, which is mostly photos don’t miss clicking on the small menu at the bottom, “About Joan”. It’s a fascinating story about Joan Ocean’s research and experiences with dolphins and whales. Anyone interested in this type of communication between people and these two mammal relatives of ours should make the time to visit this place. It may change your lives, just as it changed Joan’s and Jean-Luc’s lives. As she says, “The dolphins are calling”

Community meeting and meditation room.

Community meeting and meditation room.