Archive for Spiritual Journey

Top 7 Vipassana Retreat Centers in India

The Vipassana Meditation

Vipassana, “to see things as they really are”, is an age-old way of meditation that deeply involves purification from physical and mental ills by learning through self-observation and thus, engage concentrated restraint on the form and working of one’s physical aspect and how it links with one’s mental health. Over a course of 10 days, one learns to embrace and live in a transformation of self, which brings about a healthy balance in the mind and body.

Vipassana was actually re-discovered by Gautama Buddha nearly 2500 years ago. It is derived from Theravada Buddhism, which is one of the three primary schools in Buddhism, the other two being Mahayana and Vijayana. Taught as a universal remedy for all aches and tribulations, Vipassanna meditation has been passed down an unbroken link of teachers who do not engage in commercial profit but, rather, teach this way of living for free. The present teacher is Mr. S.N. Goenka. This art of meditation is supported by the many people who take part in it and later, leave donations with the good will of passing on the benefits of this ancient code of life.

 

Various Locations

In India alone, there are 73 locations that offer Vipassana mediation as taught by S.N. Goenka. Scattered liberally all over the nation and world, a handful of these various Dhamma meditation centers are revealed below.

  1. Dhamma Bodhi, Bodh Gaya, Bihar

The Bodh Gaya International Vipassana Meditation Center is located in Bodh Gaya, in the state of Bihar towards eastern India. This “Enlightenment of Dhamma” center couldn’t hold a better name signifying its importance. Bodh Gaya holds immense significance for Buddhists as this is the place believed to be the actual site where Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, attained enlightenment, or Bodhimandala, under the widely renowned Bodhi tree which was Gautama Buddha’s site for intense meditation. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being the site of Buddhism’s birth, Bodh Gaya holds a colossal meaning for Buddhists. Holding up to 80 students in every 10-day course, the months from November to February receive the biggest influx of learners.

  1. Dhamma Giri, Igatpuri, Maharashtra

    dhamma-giri

    Photo by Piyushshelare, CC BY-SA 3.0

The largest western state of India, Maharashtra has 25 centers for Vipassana meditation, the largest and most famous of which is the Dhamma Giri in Igatpuri. The meditation courses are held twice a month as this site attracts huge influx of learners. Dhamma Giri, “Hill of Dhamma”, gave out its first course to the public in 1976.

 

 

  1. Dhamma Pattana, Gorai Village, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Dhamma Pattana Vipassana meditation center is one of India’s newest centers, located in Mumbai. What makes it different from other Dhamma retreat centers is that it focuses on people involved in business and other high end vocations. Infusing the classic 10-day retreat along with teachings for applying the same principles to the strains and stresses of the business world, Dhamma Pattana (“Port of Dhamma”) has a relatively modern set up too, which includes Western amenities.

  1. Dhamma Sikhara, Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh

This “Peak of Dhamma” is cozily situated in the Dhauladar range in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Serene, quiet and nestled in a beautiful forest of deodar and cedar trees, the Dhamma Sikhara holds its 10-day Dhamma meditation course from the months of April to November. The course is conducted at intervals of fourteen days.

  1. Dhamma Paphulla, Bangalore, Karnataka

    Photo by Miran Rijavec, CC BY 2.0

    Photo by Miran Rijavec, CC BY 2.0

Set in a humble location, the Dhamma Paphulla, “Cheerfulness of Truth” is located 30 kms away from Bangalore, the capital of the southern state Karnataka in India. Placed on a sprawling expanse of rustic beauty, the Dhamma Paphulla conducts courses once or twice in a month. The accommodations meet basic needs and provide for a comfortable stay with attached bathrooms and hot water facilities. In addition, the location enjoys a comfortable climate all year round and is easily accessible by city buses.

  1. Dhamma Puri, Machmara, Tripura

The first Dhamma center to be established in north-eastern India, the Dhamma Puri or, “Town of Dhamma” is a quaint location in the state of Tripura. Easily accessible by most means of transport, this Vipassana meditation center is 150 kms away from Agartala, the state capital and is very peaceful and idyllic.

  1. Dhamma Garh, Chhattisgarh

This “Fort of Dhamma” is found 120 kms away from Raipur, the state capital of Chhattisgarh. It was started in 2011 and can accommodate 18 male and 10 female students.

Vipassanna meditation reconstructs one’s outlook on life and how one interacts within internal and external surroundings. With dedicated practice, one can find the positive alternations to turn life around. Tranquility and confidence flow through one’s being and the wave of goodness passes on and on.

 

Author Bio

Himanshu is an enthusiast of living life to the fullest. He enjoys good food, positive experiences and goes for things that fuel his lively outlook on the world. He is an aficionado of Vipassana meditation and has taken multiple 10-day retreats. He writes on his website PearlsIndiaTour.com and keeps the various facets of his life in gentle balance with its teachings.

Hey. How About High Tea Online with Aussies Amanda and Julie?

Feel like pampering yourself for an hour or so?
Join Amanda and Julie for High Tea !
Saturday 25th June
at 11am
Join Amanda & Julie for a delicious High Tea & experience some of the gifts of Kerala.
We will be sharing yummy morsels that are unique to Amanda’s upcoming Kerala retreat at the end of September.
Contact them now, as this free event is going to book out very fast!
Phone or SMS Julie 0427 716 766  Amanda 0405 344 149
or email spirit@iinet.net.au

Journeys of the Spirit227bfc37-e86e-44e7-8eae-9fc49e2e4c04

Phone / SMS / Viber / WhatsApp:
In Australia: 0427 766 716   International +61 427 766 716
Email: spirit@iinet.net.au  Skype: julie.baker.journeys
You don’t have to be in Australia to join them. Pass it on and see you there.
Vicki Starfire
MysticFare.com

A Truly Mystical Place: Bhutan

Most of us have heard about the small kingdom of Bhutan located near Nepal and India. A few people know that it is expensive to go there and a bit difficult to obtain a visa. But did you know that there is a great Australian tour company, Journeys of the Spirit, that takes care of all that for you? Here is the best part: you can go there this fall because there are a few spaces left. Check this out soon before they are gone. The dates are October 24 – November 6, 2015.

More about Bhutan – here’s what one past participant had to say.

From the most warm and generous people, to the endless mountain tops peaked in the clear and crisp air, to the sound of the bells chiming with every round of a spinning prayer wheel, to the gorgeous echoes of nuns singing peacefully in the monasteries and to the young children’s playful smiles and innocent giggles… my desires were to take in every blissful moment ~ and I did so gently and effortlessly.

 

Bhutan is a bit like the proverbial Shangri-la, that fictional place in the novel, Lost Horizon, that captured everything we want to see in paradise – happy, friendly people, little poverty, beautiful scenery and an isolated place that somehow keeps it from being destroyed by commercialism, invasions and exploitation. Is Bhutan truly like this? Why not explore it yourself and then let us know.

Here’s what this trip will involve. Guide, Peter Bliss (yes, his real name!) will weave  “Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Mindfulness to your daily happenings”. Then there are the hikes, the talks and the markets. Want to know more? http://www.journeysofthespirit.com.au

Spiritual Networks – Community Online

Magic Lotus flower

Magic Lotus flower

Do you know about the, website, Spiritual Networks? It’s been operating for 5 years and has collected a large following. If you are interested in spiritual matters please check out this website and community. They say it is the largest spiritual social network. Certainly that would be true online. Here is what the website posts on the “about us” page.

7 Things You Should Know About Spiritual Networks

1. Founded in June 2010, Spiritual Networks connects more than 1,000,000 people from around the world on Facebook and Twitter.

2. Spiritual Networks is a free site that generates at least 2,500,000 page views and 250,000 daily unique visitors every single month.

3. Join 1000s of authors, chakra healers, light workers, psychic mediums, tarot readers and yoga enthusiasts on Spiritual Networks.

4. Spiritual Networks allows you to create profiles, share photos, submit blogs and watch videos from a laptop, tablet or smart phone.

5. Spiritual Networks is an inclusive community organization that welcomes every color, culture, religious and spiritual persuasion.

6. Spiritual Networks privacy policy specifically states that we will never sell, share or trade your personal information for profit.

7. For more information on Spiritual Networks, we encourage you to visit Contact Us or better yet, Sign Up now for free!

As well as the blog with photos and events described, there is of course also a Facebook and Twitter page. It’s sort of a Linkedin for spiritually-minded people. Want to know more? I suggest the directory site, All Things Spiritual  http://www.allspiritual.com/

Top 5 Spiritual Places in India

Here is a guest post from someone living and traveling in India. This is not a tour group, but the information he describes can be useful if you are adventurous and want to see these paces on your own. I like the fact that he has chosen holy places from all religions.

Sacred and religious places are doorways for spiritual attainment. While spirituality is awakening of the soul, religions and religious dwellings make the process easy. If you too were looking for an awakening, India would be the best place to start with. India is a cornucopia of cultural richness. Not only does the nation boast of varied cultures and religions co-existing but also of the magnificent structures that these religions have fashioned.

Spiritual places in India cannot be confined to a number; every monument, every place has a significance of its own. Here are five spiritual places in India that should be a part of your itinerary.

1. Haridwar

 

Photo by Paul, shared thru Creative Commons

Photo by Paul, shared thru Creative Commons

Photo by -.-Paul-.-, CC BY-ND 2.0

While the name literally means “Gateway of God”, Haridwar translates as the mecca of Hindus. With holy river Ganga adorning the city, it is considered to be one of the holiest and oldest city in India. The temple is nestled amidst the foothills of enormous Himalayas in Uttarkhand. The pious Ganga enters North India from this very place. Go here to join the evening ritual of lighting lamps and floating them in Ganges. Kumbha Mela is the most happening festival in Haridwar that attracts over millions to the city. It happens only once in twelve years and is a rare sight of divinity and worship.

2. Bodh Gaya

Bodha Gaya

Photo by Andrew Moore, CC BY-SA 2.0

Bodh Gaya is the place where the revered Buddha attained enlightenment could also be the one where you achieved yours. Buddhists across the world flock this place to witness Mahabodhi temple and the Bodhi tree. It is also celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The two flight of stairs, considered as stairs to heaven will take you to the platform and from there to the inner sanctum of the temple. The best sight is to rest by the Bodhi tree and to gaze at the wondrous vajrasana – diamond throne or navel of the earth.

3. Amritsar

Amritsar

Photo by Arian Zwegers, CC BY 2.0

Amritsar or ‘pool of nectar‘ is the spiritual capital of Sikhs. The city itself was founded by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of Sikhs. The city’s name was given by the waterbody that surrounds the exquisite Golden Temple. The golden dome sparkling in dim light at night is a sight to witness. Harmandir Sahib (the true name of golden temple) has four doors that invites people from all walks of life and over one lakh people visit the temple daily.

4. Goa

Goa

Photo by Basheer Olakara, CC BY 2.0

Goa being the capital of churches in India is definitely a hot spot for spiritual awakening. The most famous church here is Basilica of Bom Jesus i.e. Infant Jesus. It carries the mortal remains of blessed St. Francis Xavier. The body of the saint who died in 1552 is still preserved here in a well decorated casket and is open to public only once in ten years. While the preserved body itself is a miracle, the architecture completes the beauty and spirituality of this place.

5. Ajmer

Ajmer

Photo by Shahnoor Habib Munmun, CC BY 3.0

The city of Ajmer is a very important place to both Muslims and the Hindus. It is a prominent pilgrimage centre after Mecca for Muslims all over the world. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s Dargah receives people from all over the world answering to their wishes and prayers. The shrine is visited by Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs as a sign of communal peace. It holds some magic that people across all faiths come here seeking Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s blessings. The entire place lights up during the festival of Urs. During this festival there are qawwali programmes, where singers sing praises of the saint. The music is so mesmerizing and enthralling that it leaves its audience spell bound.

These cities hold magic, they carry peace and enlightenment that washes over you while you visit them and will leave you coming back for more. These places are also examples of how religion is not the only factor for spiritual awakening. They call out to people from all walks of life, from all around the world to come and experience energy, peace and love. They are like a reflection of “God is present everywhere and in everyone”

Author Bio:

Rohit is an avid traveler and blogger at http://transindiatravels.com. His passion for exploring has taken him to places all around the world. Accounts of his travel experiences often act as a guide to other travel enthusiasts.

Ajmer

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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

Mystical Adventures in Belize

5615079_origTired already of the cold and wet of northern winters? Perhaps a jaunt to a much warmer place is what you are looking for. Here’s a resort with adventure, good climate and also a spiritual bent called Mystical Adventures. They offer snorkeling, deep sea diving with tanks, inland tours to Mayan ruins and other great day trips. The sea is warm and safe for swimming and fishing. They are located near the San Pedro Airport  on Barrier Reef Drive. However, this is not a resort, so you would have to find accommodation nearby . How about a full day snorkel and  a barbecue at night?  Or maybe an eco-tour to go cave-tubing or zip-lining? They also offer diving courses that would qualify you to deal with underwater problems or to be certified as a diving instructor. It’s worthwhile going to their Facebook page just to see the creatures, both land and sea that they have posted. Are they all from Belize? Pardon my ignorance, but I don’t know if elephants or lions are in Belize. Perhaps in the Nature Preserve that they mention. mystic_river-201-1024x680As for accommodation, I choose Mystic River in the Cayo District. It is publicized as an eco-friendly luxury resort with all meals available for a reasonable price. A spa and yoga are available. The jungle scenery is spectacular and the staff  eager to help. It is located near the Guatemalan border and near the road from Belize City. Here is what Lonely Planet has to say about it.

This beautiful ecolodge on the bank of the Macal River (opened in 2009 by Nadege and Tom Thomas) features six beautifully furnished cabañas with Mexican tiled floors and high wooden ceilings, and three newly built one bedroom suites. All feature spacious living areas and bathrooms, and river-facing verandas. Guests at Mystic River can hang out on the river with tubes, boogie boards and canoes, or take a hike (with or without horses) on the jungle trails that wind through Mystic River’s 180 acres. The on-site restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals vary from BZ$20 to BZ$45. Prices are per double occupancy; additional visitors are BZ$50. Low season discounts and packages are available. Check website for details. Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/belize/cayo-district/hotels/mystic-river#ixzz3MbfqoCvj

What’s the advantage of going to Belize? The country is known to be stable politically. It is the only Central and South American country whose language is English. Belize has a wealth of wild animal and marine species and a lower population than other Central American countries. Formerly known as British Honduras, they still maintain Queen Elizabeth as Head of State, just as most of  the other Commonwealth countries do. Crime in Belize is low compared to other neighboring countries. I would like to see courses given there and perhaps a more meditative atmosphere. I suspect I could take that with me when I visit. I would love to have feedback about visiting Belize. Feel free to leave comments below.