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Paradox of Spiritual Seeking

November 20, 2012 By: Michael Nagel Category: Daily Wisdom, Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit, Teachings, Touching the Sacred

Michael Nagel

In their search for enlightenment, some persons cross deserts or and climb mountains at great peril to themselves. Others seek realization at the feet of their beloved masters listening expectantly to every word. Still some attend weekend seminars or study sacred texts late into the night.

While there are a great many seekers, there appear to be few finders. Perhaps this confirms that, by definition, a seeker can never be a finder.

If I am seeking, I am seeking some thing – an object which is other than me. I am the seeker; the object is the sought. There is the duality of I – and that which I seek.

If I am a seeker of spiritual realization, I first conceive of realization and its presumed attributes (calm, equanimity, bliss ?), and I presume that such fulfillment rests there in the enlightenment I seek, not in the lowly person I take myself to be.

Such a seeker must think that the great sages have been in error. But might such seeking be mistaken instead? The Buddha taught that buddha-nature (the intrinsic potential to become enlightened) exists within every sentient being. The Christ taught that the Kingdom of Heaven is within. Nondual teachers point to our inseparability from the natural perfection of all that exists. Like the Buddha and Christ, they suggest that what we seek is not in the Himalayas, at the feet of a master, or in a book – but “closer than your nose.”
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Winter Health (“vata” time of year)

December 23, 2011 By: Patricia Tedeschi Category: Conscious Livelihood, Mind Body Spirit, Uncategorized

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As well as experiencing dryer skin in this “Vata” time of year, do you find yourself more anxious, flighty and spacey?  It is probably more than “the Holidays.”  Your Vata dosha is more than likely out of balance, which merely means nature is delivering an abundance of vata like qualities in the form of cooler temperatures, and blustery winds.  This can tip us a bit over the edge emotionally and physically.

You don’t need to feel blown away by vata’s high season.  Choose nurturing lifestyle choices which will help keep you grounded. Read more »


Is spirituality a matter of becoming less or more human?

November 28, 2011 By: Michael Nagel Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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Remain true to the earth, my brethren, with the power of your virtue! Let your bestowing love and your knowledge be devoted to be the meaning of the earth! Thus do I pray and conjure you.

Let it not fly away from the earthly and beat against eternal walls with its wings! Ah, there hath always been so much flown-away virtue!

Lead, like me, the flown-away virtue back to the earth- yea, back to body and life: that it may give to the earth its meaning, a human meaning!

~ The character of Zarathustra in Thus Spake Zarathustra

by Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher

For far too many spiritual seekers, their spiritual aspiration is like an iron maiden of virtue whose inner critic spikes ceaselessly stab our all-too-human souls. We envision becoming “spiritual” as transcending our humanity rather than becoming more fully human.

Modeling their behavior according to ideas of spirituality that they have read in books, many seekers I meet are genuinely upset with their humanity. Read more »


Looking for Direction in All the Wrong Places

September 06, 2011 By: Michael Nagel Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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I work with many intelligent people. Despite their intelligence, often they are stymied by dilemmas with which they have struggled in thought – often for a very long time. Occasionally I may remark, “With your obvious intelligence and with all your thinking about this, if you haven’t yet arrived at answer, perhaps it might be because you’ve been searching for your answer in the wrong place.”

Such dilemmas remind me of the crazy wisdom teacher, Nasruddin, an Islamic character whose humorous exploits are spiritual teachings with many depths of meaning. Let me paraphrase one of my favorite Nasruddin stories, for it may suggest an answer to such getting stuck. Read more »


5 Steps to Break Down Negative Thinking

June 28, 2010 By: Janna Chin Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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Stop Beating Yourself Up!

Do you pay attention to everything your mind tells you? Our minds can take us on a wild goose ride with all the “What if’s” and “I should have’s.” The mind is the main cause of the “Worrier” in us and is the culprit for our automatic tendency to “beat ourselves up” at the first sign of problems.

Psychologists believe we have between 60,000-70,000 thoughts a day and approximately 80% of those thoughts are negative or self-damaging. Negative thoughts have been developing in our subconscious for years, often stemming from incidences in our lives when we were “put down” or criticized.

In fact, until you actively try to identify these negative thoughts, you’re probably not even aware they’re there. Negative thinking starts from childhood. It’s hard to realize how negative self-talk can be detrimental to your self-esteem, self-concept, and confidence when it’s so automatic.

For instance, if something happens that doesn’t turn out the way you expected, the automatic negative thoughts could be, “I’m so stupid. I should have known better.”

Habitually thinking negatively or “beating yourself up” results in the real belief that you’re “not good enough,” stupid, or can’t do anything right. With negative thinking, you’ve probably settled for less and compromised your integrity more times than you prefer to remember. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to feel confident and successful when you’re constantly “beating yourself down.” Read more »


Daily Practice: Yoga and Patience

June 06, 2010 By: Michael E. Crowley Category: Mind Body Spirit, Yoga

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Yogi and the Hare

I am not a patient person.  This is an admission that would surprise people who know that I practice yoga, one of the most patient forms of exercise.  I am impatient, though, and I show it in some very strange ways.

This is my morning routine, repeated with some variations depending on the day:

I wake up. This happens, on average, two to three hours before my wife does.  When it happens, my mind wakes up pretty quickly.  It’s keen and ready to work on the list that it’s been prepping all night.  My body, however, is not thrilled to get a to-do list when what it truly wants is breakfast, and takes an hour of coaxing to get out of bed.

I go to the bathroom and flex in front of my mirror. This is partly because I am vain, but also because I am impatient.  I did a total of 10 to 11 repetitions of the Plank-to-Four-Limbed-Staff sequence yesterday, including five of them in a row. Where are my rippling biceps? In case they decide to show up without telling me I flex several more times during the day, just to be sure.  This reassures me and amuses my wife, so it’s a win-win for all concerned.

I weigh myself. I do this about three or four times because our scale is old and imprecise and I have to take a wide sample of possible weights before settling on the most likely total.  Also, I am nearsighted and the markings are small. When combined with my height, this makes accurate first readings unlikely, even when wearing glasses.  Am I much lighter yet?

I eat breakfast. While breakfast digests, I search the internet for likely jobs, write in my journal and wait one hour before:

I practice yoga.

Living mindfully requires me to practice patience in a number of areas.  My rippling biceps will appear, but it will take time to allow the muscle tissue to rest and rebuild itself between workouts.  I will get lighter, but I will have to keep eating properly and riding my bike up hills to make that happen.  For now, there are the needs of the moment.  Breathe, be grateful, and be mindful.

Or, to quote Lama Surya Das, from his book Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be, “Hasten slowly, and you will soon arrive.”


The Five Pillars of Awakening

April 12, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: Living with Intention, Teachers, Teachings

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I see them as the pillars of a temple. A temple of pure, infinite being.

In the same way that a pillar actually holds the structure of the temple up, these are the poles that we need to plant and cultivate within ourself to enable everything to open up.

Spiritual teacher, counselor and author Miranda Macpherson says that your soul knows the way, and when we learn to work with it, instead of interfering or judging our own process we begin to encounter an inherent intelligence deep within – our inner teacher. When we awaken these Five Pillars we can inquire and be taught directly by life, by our own experience.

Click here to view the 11 minute video (#9 in the list) titled The Five Pillars of Awakening, where Miranda tells us what these five pillars are and ways we can approach their cultivation.


Welcome!

March 22, 2010 By: Matsya Siosal Category: About Us

It is with great joy and enthusiasm that we invite you to join in the convergence of technology and sacred living community. What do we mean?

• Imagine if, one by one, we chose to connect to the ever-present source of peace, love and gratitude within.

• And imagine then, if each of us chose to embody that pure, sacred essence and were guided by its sure and gentle current in all aspects of daily life.

We all want to deepen and touch into the sacred yet most of us feel pulled in every direction by the hectic pace of modern life and don’t feel we have time to stop and tend to our souls. Touchstones of the Sacred brings together tools, resources and sacred living touchstones that will serve you on your path whether you have five minutes, or five hours.

Our rich multi-media site is a sanctuary of peace, joy, meaning and fulfillment where you will find yourself immersed in the wisdom of diverse spiritual paths and the inspirations of everyday people.

Browsing Touchstones of the Sacred you can simply, easily and directly find the pearls of wisdom from teachers, learners and most importantly each other. We’re asking you to engage the nation with us now!

  • Join in the conversation with spiritual and yoga teachers
  • Teach us with your own sacred moments – we will share them with the world
  • Take us with you on your phone, iPod, or computer

Every aspect of our site has been curated with the highest intention. We are guided by love and compassion for humanity, reverence for the Sacred Feminine, and the understanding that world peace begins with inner peace. Take a moment. Change your life!

We can’t wait to meet you.

With love and gratitude,

Celedra Gildea
, PhD, Founder
Matsya Siosal, CEO


Inclusion: I am that too

March 03, 2010 By: Julie Clayton Category: Living with Intention, Mantra, Malas, Meditation, Mind Body Spirit

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The moment the sky offers even a hint of sunshine, I hasten to my local park to revel in the luminescent bounty and to stretch my winter-weary limbs. Invariably, between the surrounding stillness and the rhythm of my breathing, I become aware that my inner voice is merrily chattering away. Loved ones, creative musings, grand visions and small miracles: a plethora of thoughts continually feature in the theater of my mind.

There was once a time when I chastised myself for this, disdaining the cacophony and likening it to the Tower of Babel. I would rein in and harness my itinerant thoughts, loyally returning to a primary precept of contemporary spiritual practice that encourages notions of stillness, being in the now, or quieting the mind.

But my unruly thoughts returned time and again. So, I stopped trying to influence them and something even more meaningful revealed itself: I discovered I could observe and witness the natural movement of my mind. What pure joy it is to be simultaneously attentive and unrestrained! When my intent is only to notice, my thoughts are nothing like babbling chaos, but more like burbling children romping in a sunlit field of daisies, and I am their proud mama.

This is something we often overlook on our spiritual path: inclusion.

Spiritual practice includes—everything.

Inclusion means:

I don’t have to endeavor to change anything; I include the thoughts or habits that I wish to be something else, as an experience of Self.

I do not have to actually “do” anything; I simply notice what I notice.

I don’t have to be other than who I am; I simply notice my impulses—and this cultivates a relationship of self-honesty.

Thich Nhat Hanh expressed this idea with four uncomplicated words:

I am that too.

I am that too is a powerful inclusion mantra, which you can silently invoke any time, for yourself or toward another. Begin with private discontents and work your way outward to other people and events. If you notice any discomfort, simply reaffirm: I am that too.

Inclusion allows self-honesty to flourish, and self-honesty leads to compassion. When you say these four words, and engage them with heartfelt intent, you can expect, at the very least, to experience a personal sense of peace and benevolence. I know I do.


Grace

January 20, 2010 By: Pamela Wright Category: Living with Intention, Mind Body Spirit

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The winds of grace are always blowing; it is for us to raise our sails.”

Today my neighbor left our building belted in a transport chair with two strong attendants at her sides. I heard her fearful questions outside my apartment door, asking “what are you going to do?” The EMT’s firmly but gently responded with words of assurance for her safety. As the emergency vehicle moved away with her fragile body inside, I felt relief both for my elderly neighbors and myself. It took not only the grace of the medical emergency team, but the love of her husband to change her life. Grace is compassion toward another, regard for one who struggles. In “Invisible Acts of Power,” Carolyn Myss believes there is no more powerful an act than making a choice. The grace of healing is often uncovered in these moments of action.

A young woman I know has recently returned from several months in Ghana. She worked in a refugee camp, assisting in simple but profound ways of making the lives of children in particular, a little better. Grace flowed through her as she sat with those children, being fully present to their needs and immersing herself in their meager lives. She worked side-by-side with mothers cooking meals from foods shipped to them from aid programs. This young woman was moved to study African culture with the intention of giving herself to something greater, the need of another. Many lives, including her own, are shaped by this abundance of good which she expresses through serving.

When we pay attention, we find the experience of grace often. It exists in small and larger ways: a smile from a stranger, an acquaintance making a job contact for us, someone holding open a door at the library, feeling part of community through volunteer involvement, receiving a letter in the mail from a grandchild, reading wise words from a favored author. Grace is infinite if we open our mind and heart to its wonder. A moment of time, willingness, surrender and the example of another’s courage will reveal this marvel called grace. Raising our sails to the many acts of spirits’ generosity is a gift to and from us. Being receptive to all manner of grace in our every day is to live from soul, where we and another are healed.




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