Archive for Spiritual Journey

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.

Some Great Places Spending Christmas

 Ice Skating at Christmas Fair in Museumplein

Ice Skating at Christmas Fair in Museumplein

Whether you are a world traveler looking for something new or an armchair traveler who likes to hear about what other people are doing, it’s always a treat to hear about special Christmas places where celebrations are “in the air” so to speak. The first group of resorts are in the northern hemisphere where you can experience the traditional cold weather with a good place to warm up and perhaps a hot drink. Thanks to Bree Sposato for suggesting Amsterdam. As you can see form this photo, the canals become wonderful ice skating rinks, and the 16th and 17th century houses are strung with lights. Why not stay till New Year’s Eve and celebrate with champagne and fireworks?

Here’s a more remote suggestion by Jennifer Coogan: Reykjavik, Iceland. Enjoy the northern lights from the comfort of a thermally heated hotel. There are only 4 hours of daylight, so bring your friends and prepare for an indoor party. Don’t miss the unusual Icelandic food such as smoked puffin and Brennivin (like schnapps). “Statues of the 12 Yule Lads (the Icelandic version of Santa Claus) peer out from every corner shop and window.”  Click here to read the original version

city street in San Miguel de Allende at night. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.There are a lot of “snow birds” from Canada and the northern states who like to frequent San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for the hot, dry days and cool nights, the traditional crafts made and sold there as well as the old cobblestone streets and the Spanish architecture. However, Christmas is very special with the procession of Mary and Joseph and everyone else who wants to sing traditional carols. The procession goes from one decorated shop to the next, stopping to sing at each one. The children will enjoy the ritual of breaking pinatas filled with candy and small toys. It’s a special treat to have blooming flowers such as poinsettias and bougainvilleas.

 

 

200911-w-christmas-kaikouraThinking about a warmer place? Try Kaikoura, New Zealand. It will be summer when you visit, so you can enjoy the beach, kyaking or boating to see the whales, dolphins and fur seals. The vegetation and forests are so totally different. It’s like you are visiting another planet. Lee Magill recommends staying at the Kapuku Lodge and Tree Houses with gourmet, natural meals. Make reservations long ahead of time any place in New Zealand over the Christmas holidays. It is after all their summer holiday time.

 Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses is the ne plus ultra of New Zealand’s eco-tourism accommodations: a complex of cedar-covered buildings and six tree houses with views of both the bay and the imperial Kaikoura mountain range. Luxe high design reigns inside and out.

 

Perhaps you are seeking something more spiritual. May I then recommend Shambhala Mountain Center on 600 acres in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado? Here is a deeply established center which accommodates a great variety of practitioners from week-long “learn to meditate” stays to longer, intensives for advanced meditators. The staff also leads spiritual journeys during the year to Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. The rooms are elegant but very simple and comfortable. People who have participated in longer retreats say it is like an immersion vacation, and the effects often stay with the person for many months, even years after. It’s a bit like unpacking your brain or fragmenting your computer. The effect are nearly always calming, relaxing. It’s especially a good choice if you are alone or with a partner rather than a family vacation or a good party celebration.

Let us know what you decide to do this year and how you liked it once you return. I’m always open to new ideas.

 

 

 

An Elegant West Coast Retreat: Gowlland Harbour Resort

homepage-imageLooking for a good retreat for your family, your company conference, your honeymoon or just a few days away for yourself? This resort located on Quadra Island in the Canadian West Coast accommodates all of these groups. Here’s what they advertise: “where wild west coast beauty meets natural elegance”. You can certainly see that in the website pictures, some of which I have posted here. You can see why people say, “Why didn’t we come here sooner?”

The accommodations are hotel rooms with an downstairs lounge and dining room, several guest houses which hold 8 people and their new honeymoon suite. There is a boat moorage, a spa and complimentary WiFi.

What can you do besides relax and read a book, take a walk? Lots of water activities are available such as kayaking, whale watching, canoeing and even golf on the island. There are special events as well. 59 Unfortunately, the website doesn’t let you know much about the owners and staff, but I did meet one of the staff personally – a very nice and enthusiastic young woman. Certainly a phone call could tell you more about the staff, the prices and how to get there. I personally recommend going there by float plane. There are regular flights to Quadra Island and also nearby Campbell River. It’s an experience you won’t forget, and there are endless runways for float planes! More expensive, you say? If you add up the gas and two ferry fees it might be about the same. Flying is certainly faster.     GHR-BH-Honeymoon-2014-sh

 

In closing, I’m going to quote from the website: http://gowllandharbour.com

Ideally situated on the waterfront and perched at the water’s edge of the harbour, this one-bedroom luxury suite is perfect for honeymooners, second honeymooners or for anyone wanting a magnificent escape. Highlights of this romantic hideaway include a thoughtfully equipped gourmet kitchen, living room, dining room, lovely ensuite bathroom with glass walk-in shower and Jacuzzi soaker tub. There’s also an uncompromising water view.

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.

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.