Archive for spiritual practice

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/

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

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.

Deepak Chopra on Life After Death

Deepak Chopra with his combination of Western and Eastern thinking is a wonderful person to explore this topic of death and the meaning of life. Here in a conversation with Allan Gregg in 2010 he describes his ideas of what happens after death as he has written in his book, Life After Death: The Burden of Proof. Please enjoy this half hour discussion of what will happen once you die.

For those who are not familiar with Deepak Chopra he “is an Indian-American physician and an alternative medicine and New Age guru known for his view that healing is primarily a mental rather than physical process”, according to Wikipedia. He has published over 15 best seller books and founded the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. He recently spoke at the headquarters of LinkedIn and Google to instil the ideas that we can heal the world. You can purchase his book or just look inside by clicking on the link below:

Spirit Skies Silent Retreat Center Reopens

Red rocks of Sedona, Arizona

Red rocks of Sedona, Arizona

Some readers may remember a past article about the man Bodhi Heart and his retreat center in the high pine forests between Phoenix and Sedona, Arizona. After finishing a third cabin, the retreat center has reopened and is available for a silence, yoga, meditation, writing, planning – anything you want to do away from the bustle of the modern world.

The website suggests that you can also take a side trip to the Grand canyon or to hike near Sedona in the red cliffs. If you are looking for a good place to experience self discovery or relaxation, this is the place for you. You can contact Bodhi Heart by phone or e-mail, both of which are listed on the website.

Here’s what one of the past guests has to say.

“Of all the wonderful retreat places that I have visited, the private hermitage at Spirit Skies is my favorite. The elk are almost a daily treat to see. And the stillness and sounds of nature are sublime.” ~ George M

“I traveled from Ireland to spend 6 weeks. The retreat experience is an open canvas that one can shape in whatever way spirit seeks.” ~ Oonagh C

“I found myself settling easily in to stillness, taking time to meditate, to walk in the nearby National Forest, to do meditative dance and do yoga in the gazebo, and to talk to Bodhi about spirituality.” ~ Emily M

If you tire of silence, Bodhi Heart will gladly talk to you. Here are some comments about his gentle way of helping others.

A gentle guide, an open heart, a place to find spirit and self. Bodhi Heart offers his land, his haven, his being to those who come to find peace in a fractured world. It is exactly what you make it …and it is beautiful.”   ~ Maggie D

Bodhi helped me clarify my intentions and laid the spiritual groundwork for my personal retreat. What started out to be a week of pure solitude ended up being a time when I wished for a gentle connectedness. Bodhi’s friendship was a gift.  I didn’t just stay at Spirit Skies; I brought it home with me.” ~ Dawn D

“Bodhi Heart supported my process and fearless intention with integrity. He mirrored my spirit and helped me to release some fears and illusions and have a deeper experience of my true self and following the heart.”     ~ Grace K

“This retreat was life changing. Time did not seem to exist while I was there. Bodhi gave generously of his time to help guide me in my purpose”       ~ Michelle B

Check the website for availability of the cabins. They do fill up so book one soon and enjoy this unique spiritual journey.

What Happens with Spiritual Awakening?

One_with_the_Universe.72110127_stdFor some decades now people have been talking about “raising your awareness” and “higher vibrations”. However, there are now an increasing number of people who are experiencing physical symptoms that are linked to what is called Spiritual Awakening. Actually, this is nothing new. People throughout history have had religious experiences in which they saw visions, heard voices or at least felt different. What is different now is the number of people who are experiencing these states. Perhaps you are one of them. According to Wikipedia, there have been some common threads to these experiences.

  • Transient — the experience is temporary; the individual soon returns to a “normal” frame of mind. It is outside our normal perception of space and time.

  • Ineffable — the experience cannot be adequately put into words.

  • Noetic — the individual feels that he or she has learned something valuable from the experience. Gives us knowledge that is normally hidden from human understanding.

  • Passive — the experience happens to the individual, largely without conscious control. Although there are activities, such as meditation (see below), that can make religious experience more likely, it is not something that can be turned on and off at will.

Read the original here.

Now let’s jump to the present and look at what people are experiencing in often less clear terms. Arlene Rich has described 10 common “symptoms” of spiritual awakening. While some of them may of course come from other sources, together they do form a nucleus for what people are going through. It’s a kind of human evolutionary process.  Here is part of what Arlene has said.

• An increase in occurrences – (there aren’t any coincidences) An increase in psychic, mediumistic, clairvoyant, and intuitive skills.

• Acute sensitivity to negative energy around specific people or environments.

• A desire to “find yourself”, change your social group, behavior, job etc. Sudden extreme sensitivity to people or crowds. You may find that your once sociable nature suddenly disappears and you simply cannot bear to be with certain friends, family members, colleagues, or coworkers.

• Sudden awareness of recurring patterns or relationships- A noticeable inability to tolerate someone with whom you have had a previously close relationship.

• Sudden inexplicable panic or anxiety attacks occurring at any time with no valid reason. A feeling that something has changed within you.

• Acute sensitivity to shopping malls or crowded environments such as restaurants, clubs, festivals, and so on.

• Extreme sensitivity to mobile and digital phones, laptops, computers, wireless routers, and all microwave technology, as well as certain types of lighting.

• Falling asleep and then waking in the middle of the night at or around the same time, feeling wide awake and needing to be up, and oddly not being tired the next day as expected. (This is a sign of your consciousness adapting to new cycles of activity.)

• Strange electrical energy coursing through the body or body parts like legs or arms. (This is caused by the raised frequencies from the Galactic centre flooding the planet. These energies assist in the process of rewiring the physical and Light-Body in order to carry higher vibrating energies.)

• A whole range of physical experiences caused by detoxification as the body continues to release years of physical, karmic, emotional, and mental toxic waste, producing symptoms including: fatigue and exhaustion;excess thirst; stomach upsets, including cramps, headaches, especially at the base of the skull and migraines with pains over the crown and in one or both eyes; muscle, neck, and shoulder pains.

• Dizziness, balance problems, and feeling spacey (triggered by being in higher states of consciousness).

To read the complete list click here.

If you or someone you know can relate to some of these symptoms or phenomena, you are not alone. I suspect there will be counsellors and support groups  in the future specializing in helping people go through versions of spiritual awakening. It makes places such as retreat centers and monasteries even more valuable as centers to experience spiritual changes without the interference of modern life. And it is important  to remember that the end result of whatever mental and physical changes occur should be better – healthier and happier people and hopefully a more peaceful world.

Reasons for Spiritual Travel

Among the other articles, I have featured over the past years some very unusual trips to remote but safe locations. I’m sure I will continue to provide these “finds” to readers in the years to come. Here’s an article by an itinerant traveller, Lori Erikson, who has actually gone on most of the trips she features on her website, “The Holy Rover Blog”. Tune in later to read about some of her trips to far-off and nearby places.  Now let’s take a step back and reflect on why people choose spiritual journeys. Here are Lori’s words.

Spiritual travel has long been a source of fascination for me.  I’ve gotten up at 3:00 a.m. to chant in Buddhist monasteries, lingered over morning coffee with nuns in Iowa, walked part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, splashed myself with holy water in Lourdes, and gathered holy dirt from the floor in Chimayo, New Mexico.  In 20 years of experiencing such sites and writing about spiritually oriented travel, I believe there are several reasons why growing numbers of people are interested in this type of journeying:

To read the original click here.

She goes on to explain some very compelling reasons: 1) spiritual tourism is inexpensive, 2) holy sites are often in beautiful places that are refreshing to visit, 3) holy sites appeal to baby boomers who are now retiring as the sites bring them closer to spiritual direction and reflection on the end of life, 4) spiritual journeys appeal to young people as there is drama and excitement at these locations, 5) spiritual sites are increasing in number with people making them special such as St. Paul’s Chapel across from the World Trade Center site.

Here again are Lori’s words.

It’s not surprising that Americans—who have some of the highest levels of religious belief in the world—want to take their faith on vacation with them.  But spiritual travel is actually the world’s oldest form of tourism.  Most religions recognize the value of pilgrimage, from Muslims traveling to Mecca and Jews to Jerusalem to Buddhists journeying to the sites associated with Gautama Buddha.

Taken from http://spiritualtravels.info

However, it is not only Americans who travel the ancient paths of spiritual journeys. One only needs to journey to one of these special and amazing places to find a great variety of languages being spoken and to see people of all ages and walks of life. It is indeed an adventure and a great blessing that we on Earth have these places for anyone to experience.

IMG_3409-1024x683-300x200

Amish clothing in Northern Indiana

The Grand Beguinage of Leuven, Belgium

The Grand Beguinage of Leuven, Belgium

town of Lourdes, France

town of Lourdes, France

 

Spiritual Retreats for All Reasons

We must be getting increasingly stressed out as a species judging by the number and popularity of retreat locations and venues for them. Here is a website, http://spiritualretreats.com that is actually an association of spiritual retreats and has divided them up into categories – 26 categories actually under the 3 main headings of spiritual holidays, spiritual retreats and wellness. Some of the categories look so inviting that I just couldn’t help but click on them to see what they were about. For example, here’s one for recovery retreats held in Panama.

Many people learn and practice daily life skills as children, getting better as they continue in their adult life. They mature by using their judgment, learning from mistakes, gaining patience, and using time management. For someone people with addiction, these skills are somewhat lost or never learned well from the start. People with addictions are often impulsive, especially when under the influence of a chemical. This becomes the established habit, making it difficult to learn self control. ….You will not “fall through the cracks” here! You will enjoy an intimate resort setting: a maximum of 8 guests at a time. This means we will get to know you as an individual, intimately, and will work hard with you to help you achieve your goals. You will have the very best, comprehensive retreat that works and delivers results!

Read the original here.

Next I looked at the organic retreats held in West Waterford, Ireland, Portugal and Kandy, Sri Lanka. All are small retreats with personal care, small, little-known places in local communities and just the type of places that would be restful and relaxing. Here is some information about the one in Kandy.

Ayurvedha treatments our doctor will consult and recommend personal tailor made therapy course. Eco friendly nature resort.Yoga and Ayurvedha retreat.

Perhaps you would rather seek out a luxury retreat in Blairsville, Florida or Kapaa, Hawaii.

Quantum Hawaiian Retreats on the beautiful garden island of Kauai blends ancient wisdom, quantum physics, meditations, NLP and universal laws to create a life changing retreat experience. Recently featured by USA TODAY as one of the top 10 spiritual retreats in North America.

I wonder if there is any standards for each listing by the staff of Spiritual Retreats? Turning to the “contact” section I see that it is the Association of Spiritual Retreats based in London, and that to have a listing would cost at least $250 per year. Still no word as to the criteria used to accept or reject various retreats. I’m going to write to them and I’ll let you know when I hear back. In the meantime, check out this amazing very international website.   http://www.spiritualretreats.com/

Here’s the reply from this organization RE the registration standards.

Thank you for your kind comments on the association. In answer to your question regarding joining the association the membership process is as follows:
  • Retreat Centre submits listing and pays membership fee
  • The membership the retreat centre will not go live until our research team carry out some basic checks via the internet and phone.
  • Once the retreat has been accepted the listing goes live on the site
  • Featured members normally have editorial in our quarterly magazine attached
  • The retreats then get marketed through the regualr channels which has so far proved to be very successful.
  • Customers are asked to post reviews of their experiences at the retreat centre.
The basic principal of the site is to raise awareness of the tremendous healing that can be found at a retreat centre. You may notice that we do not allow large chains of retreats to join the association as our ethos is to help small individual private retreat holders spread their message and showcase what they have to offer at a small cost.
Shortly we will be launching a learning platform where members can upload and retail courses, podcasts, and products.
I hope this helps.
Kindest Regards,
Caroline

 

 

Spiritual Travel to Tibet: A Meaningful Journey

Here is a travel company (actually a Tibetan Cooperative) called Tibet Travel Coop that uses a Tibetan staff of travel agents, tour guides, cooks, drivers and hosts who know the Tibetan travel industry and have been working in every part of Tibet. The picture of the Coop members is great – all the families too including the children. There are some very moving testimonials from travelers who plan to go back. This is definitely an authentic experience you won’t soon forget. Here is some of the text from the website.

Knowledge

As Tibetans, we can share our communities, customs, history, and spirituality from our hearts and experiences from childhood live rather than from travel guidebooks. After all, we believe you come to Tibet partly to experience Tibet’s culture and having a good Tibetan guide matters.

Responsible Tourism

We support local communities, use local services, volunteer in local villages, and donate a percentage of our profits to sustainable projects. After all, our bottom-line is not just measured by how much we made but how many Tibetans we are able to employee and how well we are able to protect the environment for future visitors to enjoy.

 

The trips are divided into 3 sections: spiritual journeys, cultural odysseys, and trekking adventures. The cultural odysseys are further broken down into homestay, classic Tibet, spirit of Minyak and shangri-la! In this case I won’t elaborate more. I urge you to explore this fascinating website yourself and find out the incredible journeys that you also could take with them. http://tibettravelcoop.com

Near Death Experience Predicts the Future Ahead on Earth

In 2012 a woman named Martha St. Clair nearly drowned while water skiing. As you will hear her describe in this video, she fell and was pulled under the water when the rope became tangled around her leg. She had many of the same experiences as others who have come back from the other side, but this time she was shown what was ahead for this planet and why we are all here this time during these huge changes. This is a must-listen for anyone spiritual who wants to survive the coming days.

Near Death Experience Predicts the Future Ahead on Earth

Now that you know what Martha saw, perhaps you would like to read more about near death experiences. It’s a popular subject these days. If you go to Amazon and type in “near death experiences” you will find 14 books on the topic published in 2013. I’ve chosen one to share with you but please leave a message regarding any other good choices you know here below this article or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mysticfare

Here is one of the best new books. What Happens When We Die: A Psychic’s Exploration of Death, Heaven and the Soul’s Journey After Death by Echo Bodine. Here we have much the same material in much more depth as the video you just watched. I hope you like it.Just click on the image below to see more.