“I love you” heals hurts. Liszt’s Lieberstraum lilting lullaby is a stress soother, too. So is a child’s laughter. What remembers you to goodness?
Presents are always welcome. When outside circumstances or people are not reflecting preferences, though, direct access to the inner Royal Road is rather handy. Good news: There are simple techniques to get there. You’re probably using some of those tools already. Are you open to expanding your repertoire?
Acclaimed author, Paul Kaye teaches meditation techniques which tune participants in his classes to the beautiful true self. He’s thrilled people from all over the world with his methods. Lucky for those in LA, Paul Kaye’s Introduction to Meditation & Sound: A Deeper Experience is held on a monthly – sometimes bi-monthly – basis.
Here are just a few endorsements from past participants:
“Best meditative experience I’ve had this decade and one of the best of my life!” ~WF
“People should know that this is one of the best healing events in town.” ~EG
“It seemed that I went high in many different spiritual realms.” ~KP
The next Introduction to Meditation & Sound: A Deeper Experience is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 7:30 pm at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Click here for details and tickets.
Wishing you the sounds of healing and happiness.
1. Here’s a small sample of books Paul Kaye has co-authored:
Once upon a time, in the sixties, there was a very popular band called the Beatles. Titles like All You Need is Love spun on vinyl records. Centuries before them, a bearded man with the initials, JC said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Great advice, right? What happens though when texts, e-mails and phone calls are vying for your attention? When paper and projects are piling up digitally and on your desk? And your family demands you play gracious host to a third cousin once removed? The brain scrambles, Edvard Munch’s The Scream surfaces. “Stop the world I want to get off!”
Well, now you can. Popular meditation teacher, soundscape artist and acclaimed author, Paul Kaye is leading One Day Silent Retreat participants back to the sacred self that breathes and sustains you. Your precious self will thank you. Your husband/wife, colleagues, cat and dog will also appreciate your attending this Saturday, September 8 event.
This autumn day is an opportunity to meet your true self again. Already meditate? Fantastic! You’ll be cradled in a deeper way by the Divine. The serene Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens will reflect your inner beauty.
Sound too good to be true? Think again. See below for a sampling of the gifts you’ll receive during the retreat. And take home with you long after the silence is gone.
· Tools for clearing unconscious blocks and tension
· Moving meditations, the labyrinth
· Freeing yourself with forgiveness and gratitude
· Accessing harmony and peace, Japanese tea ceremony style
· Finding center through a Sound Journey
“What’s the blessing here? Keep looking until you find it’s there.”
When in Eeyore days of the deep blues, a reminder to look for blessings makes me want to roll over and go to sleep. Or at the very least, roll my eyes.
Even in the barren “what’s the use?” desert, a stream of hope murmurs underground. Maybe it has something to do with my attendance at events featuring John Morton. He’s nicknamed The Blessings Man. And the acclaimed author of You Are the Blessings and The Blessings Already Are. (He’s also the Spiritual Director of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness.)
I’m not doing cartwheels. Still, whilst lying supine on the couch, a willingness to consider that maybe Life has my back bubbles in my brain. Case in point, last Sunday; as salty tears dripped onto my husband’s shirt, I had an OMG moment.
Decades ago I was in despair because I was 31, divorced and kissing only frigging frogs. My heart felt like a dartboard. I was praying to God for a proposal from an abusive boyfriend. (#Crazy!) I thought it was the best I could do. Fantasies of being a step-mom made me linger too long, too. Breaking up with the person was brave. But it was a smart move.
I met Prince Charming in dance class after years of showing up at studios with no romantic outcomes. Today I am married to the man of my dreams and mommy to two furry cat babies. As my husband will confirm, I continue to dip into droopiness. Maybe though with a couple of more John Morton seminars I’ll see more Blessings Here and Now. To quote Eeyore, “Sure is a cheerful color. Guess I’ll have to get used to it.”
If you’d like to multiply your blessings and see a few more bright hues, register for Blessings Here and Now with John Morton. Here’s the link: http://www.peacelabyrinth.org/events/jmseminar082518
Wishing you blessings of Love, Light and laughter.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
Perhaps the quote explains Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile. Maybe she adopted her creator’s philosophy and practiced yoga!
Fast forward in time from the Italian Renaissance to a smiling lady at an Italian Beaux Art villa in LA. Her name is Jennifer Herrera. Besides her degrees in law and spiritual psychology, she’s applied her smarts to brand building. (Think Gap, American Eagle Outfitters and Sony Electronics.) “When I was in the prime of my first career and stressed out, I found yoga again,” says Jennifer. “It saved my life.”
A decade later she’s a yoga teacher. In fact, she’s teaching on Tuesday, August 21st at 7:30 pm in the backyard of the aforementioned Beaux Art Villa. (The historic mansion is headquarters to - PAL&G - Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens.)
To clarify, the PAL&G backyard boasts a 3-tiered meditation garden and a Chartres Cathedral inspired labyrinth. (Sometimes called a Moving Meditation.) By day, the labyrinth is carpeted with those contemplating life. On the evening of August 21st, yoga mats will crisscross the labyrinth.
Jennifer says, “Yoga at the labyrinth is a beautiful opportunity to say "YES" to the body, mind and spirit. We will be touching all of those dimensions during our experience. I would also add that all levels are welcome. If you were ever to begin yoga, there's no better place than the sacred ground of Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens.”
My interview with Jennifer about yoga and life follows.
Q: What forms of yoga do you practice?
JH: I practice and teach a combination of hatha and vinyasa that is also heavily influenced by Iynengar. What this means is that I slowly build my practice from the ground up consciously awakening the body, holding in postures and linking breath to movement. I am not a power yoga teacher. I can enjoy those classes from time to time and I have found that my peace is in the slow build.
Q: What can you guarantee or almost guarantee students will walk away with after Yoga at the Labyrinth?
JH: All willing and open participants will absolutely walk away with an experiential reference of peace within themselves and their bodies.
Q: How often do you practice?
JH: I practice 3-5 times a week and sometimes that is a 20 minute evening restorative practice. What’s the greatest gift you’ve received from yoga?
Healing the relationship with my body. Through my practice of yoga, learning about and feeling into parts of my body I never had prior, I began to relate to my body as an apprentice. Instead of constantly evaluating it externally, I began to steep in the wonder of its miraculous nature. I am so grateful for this new context, awareness and healing.
Q: Advice for the inflexible or stiff jointed?
JH: Gentleness. With your body and with your mind. The physical practice of yoga is really a distraction to reduce the noise of the mind. Yoga is not about flexibility. That is a misnomer. Actually bodies that are very flexible or hyper-mobile can injure themselves if they don't know how to back off. I begin almost every day feeling a bit stiff and inflexible. Yoga has actually supported me in better listening to my body so I know how to gently wake it up and support blood circulation to the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Whenever possible use props during your practice. A simple blanket or thick towel can make all the difference.
Q: What’s been the greatest challenge in practicing yoga? How do you or did you
JH: Growing my patience and learning to quiet the mind. There are metaphorical opportunities arriving all throughout a yoga practice if we are open to them. For example, how we relate to ourselves and the world while on our mat is a reflection of how we relate to ourselves and the world off the mat. Allowing that to be okay rather than a space to judge ourselves is when the practice takes on a whole new level of growth and expansion. Although the practice of yoga can be and feel rather serious, it's so important not to take ourselves too seriously. When we can loosen up and allow for the space our practice deepens. When I have tried to force a posture that my body is rejecting but my mind is attached to "doing," I struggle and get uptight. When I heed my body's communication and back off, I soften and relax. These two paths of relating impact my entire practice and often what occurs after. Over time, I have learned to leave it all on my mat, to use the entire experience to let it all go. It's literally my physical therapy, spiritual practice and self-care all in one. I am never sorry I did yoga.
Q: Who’s been your biggest influence, inspiration in yoga?
JH: M teachers. The first one was a woman I began practicing with around 2008 in Manhattan. Her classes were like mini-workshops. I didn't know that at the time and she has been the single biggest influence on my practice and my teaching approach. She weaved in depth and breadth into every 75 minute class and I found the teacher in me by being her student. They say, “When the student is ready the teacher arrives.” I am so grateful.
Q: Besides, Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens, where is the most exquisite place you’ve done yoga?
JH: In the lush forest of a small town in the south west part of France. Just me and nature. It was Heaven on earth.
Curious novice or consummate yogi, you are welcome to enjoy Yoga at the Labyrinth at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, August 21st on the heavenly grounds of PAL&G.
Visit http://www.peacelabyrinth.org/events/yatl082118. Wear comfy clothes. And remember your yoga mats! Blankets and large beach towels work, too.
What is Soul Transcendence? How do you become aware of your Soul? Recognizing Soul moments is a valuable key says Dr. Pauli Sanderson, counselor and acclaimed co-author of When Are You Coming Home?
Posture perfect, Dr. Sanderson scans the crowd gathered in the mansion at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G). Despite all her degrees, Dr. Sanderson looks approachable. (The twinkle in her eyes suggests a sense of humor.) “Soul moments,” she says, “are moments that come to us more or less bidden, when we feel something within us respond with recognition or joy or sudden and unexpected loving.”
So that serenading bird who perched outside my office on the Romeo and Juliet-ish balcony is a soul moment? Pretty sure the answer is yes! The songbird filled me with unexpected delight. Lightness filled my being as I watched it sing. Softly I poured praise on the petite one. Flattery, however, only got me so far. When I approached the little one, it flew away. But the joy stayed for hours.
According to Dr. Sanderson, it’s all right, too, to “Make up a wonderful, glorious soul moment you would like to have!”
Soul moments, as I understand it, are glimpses into our true nature. It’s a reminder that we are oh, so much more than our bodies, thoughts or emotions. “Every human being is a beloved child of God: A Soul on a human journey,” says Dr. Sanderson.
This planet is a place to learn that we are sparks of the Divine. Dr. Sanderson concedes, “Kinda tricky around here on Earth; So many choices (on) our journey towards positivity.”
A reassuring smile crosses her face. Dr. Sanderson references her lifelong friend and teacher, John-Roger. “J-R said, ‘If you would learn the secret of Soul Transcendence, look only for the good, for the Divine in people and things, and All the rest leave to God.’”
She encourages people to suspend disbelief and entertain the idea that, “All experiences are designed to bring us closer to God.”
Dr. Sanderson then invites us to take an inner journey. The lights are dimmed. Thunder – representative of the Earth realm– roars. Dr. Sanderson’s voice remains serene. She directs us to lift higher. Crystal lakes are evoked in my consciousness. Do I hear flutes? More music plays. During the guided meditation, she encourages us to, “Let that sound settle peacefully into you.”
I do. Enchanted, my eyes refuse to open, my hands rest on my legal pad. Dr. Sanderson tells us to return to the room. Time for cookies and tea…Life is back in session. Yet a stillness inside assures me a reply was given to the question, “What is Soul Transcendence?”
More answers may also arise on Tuesday, August 14th when popular teacher and soundscape artist Paul Kaye presents Introduction to Meditation & Sound: A Deeper Experience. Click here or visit PeaceLabyrinth.org/Events for details.
In the meantime, I wish you millions of sparkly Soul moments.
New York Times best-selling author, John-Roger says, “The Soul is that essence of us that is a pure extension of God.”
If God is Love, we’re part of the divine spark. Lovely! All settled. Life is fantabulous. Unless under the burden of sorrow, surprise attacks of judgments from self or others become buried shrapnel.
Digging deep to discover a blessing or a lesson can bring healing. Prayer is a great tool, too. Here’s one of my top ten: Dear God, I’m tired of turning the other cheek; my favorite MAC blush is out of commission. Please help.
Maybe the words don’t matter. What is important is that Step One in 12-Step vernacular is taken. The white flag of surrender is raised. Falling to my knees seems to allow a portal for Soul moments.
What is a Soul moment? Beethoven’s music on the radio? One of his compositions evokes rumbling thunder with the whisper of a rainbow. Perhaps it’s the streak of a divine paintbrush of white clouds against a sky of blue. Or your darling pet licking wet kisses onto your hand.
On Tuesday, August 7th, Dr. Pauli Sanderson will address the question of What is Soul Awareness? (And awareness of Soul moments.) The 7:30 pm evening event will take place at the Guasti Villa, currently the headquarters for Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. (Scroll down for details.)
Dr. Sanderson is the co-author of When Are You Coming Home? She also holds an M.S. in clinical psychology and a Doctorate in Spiritual Science. She is well versed on the subjects of human shenanigans and spiritual Rx. Dr. Sanderson also has a B.A. in dance from UCLA. She is one Bruin who can bust a move!
Visit peacelabyrinth.org/events for $10 tickets to What is Soul Awareness? With Pauli Sanderson. Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is located at 3500 West Adams Boulevard in
Los Angeles. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.
Looking forward to more Soul moments…hopefully with you!
Did you read the exquisite write-up about Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens in The New York Times? The PAL&G piece is by best-selling author, Reif Larsen! (His books are also popular movies.)
Mr. Larsen’s depiction of PAL&G tours’ Guardian Angel is perceptive and accurate. “I was greeted at the villa’s entrance by a kind man named Juan Roberto.”
Through heat waves and cold spells, PAL&G’s bespectacled greeter, Juan Roberto Schulz gazes upon each visitor as if welcoming a long lost cousin. He also answers FAQs with great patience. Mr. Larsen remarks that at the end of his exchange with the PAL&G greeter, “Memories of Interstate 10 bedlam began to evaporate.”
Good thing I was sitting when reading Mr. Larsen’s Finding Yourself in Los Angeles. His masterful portrait of PAL&G is swoon worthy. He describes his labyrinth experience: “As you walk, the city becomes a distant dream, a movie half-remembered.”
Mr. Larsen also mentions shinrin-yoku ( 森林浴 ) – Japanese for forest bathing. He delights in being “serenaded by the gentle babble of small fountains.” (Be still my heart!!)
Insights about other LA gardens and photos are offered, too. (PAL&G takes top billing.) Scroll down, and you’ll see two people familiar to PAL&G regulars: Anna Sugai and Jeffrey Morgan. An aura of confidence trails the duo walking the labyrinth. Maybe my admiration colors the lens. Anna Sugai is a Brazilian beauty who speaks three languages. Her good looks and smarts are surpassed, however, by her depth. Ask anyone who has seen her co-facilitate a PAL&G evening event. Jeffrey Morgan is an attorney who knows a thing or two about international and integrative law. He’s also quick with a reassuring smile. He serves on the Transcendent Leadership faculty at Peace Theological Seminary.
Mr. Larsen’s Finding Yourself in Los Angeles in The New York Times illuminates the spirit of PAL&G. It is impressive. The masterful wordsmith’s work strikes my heart with awe for another reason, too. I came to this country from Japan a few decades back. The Guasti Villa stood proudly like a Grande Dame on West Adams as it does today. The mansion, however, was sans labyrinth and gorgeous gardens. It was an isolated island of beauty enjoyed by a few.
Two important men in my life – my beloved teacher and boss – inspired the creation of PAL&G: Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) Founder, John-Roger and MSIA President, Paul Kaye. They are both role models of living from the inside out.
Remember the 1989 film Field of Dreams? An Iowa farmer builds a baseball field at the bidding of his inner guidance. Trouble ensues. Tears are shed. A happy Hollywood ending prevails. “If you build it, he will come.”
Voices are tricky business. Is the whisper well-intentioned or rooted in illness? “Check it out,” is a phrase which John-Roger repeated on many an occasion.
Clearly, John-Roger was listening to a heavenly messenger about a LA labyrinth. A French accented angel, perhaps. Paul remembers the conversation with John-Roger about a labyrinth at 3500 West Adams Boulevard was ignited in Chartres Cathedral.
Maybe Paul’s whispering angel was from the East. MSIA’s President was instrumental in the birth of an Asian accented garden. He had a vision of something “mad, chaotic, and green with lots of water features.”
The French artisan crafted marble labyrinth was consecrated by John-Roger and MSIA Spiritual Director, John Morton in 2001. The following year, Paul’s idea for the garden was realized. A handful of spiritual warriors roamed the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G) upon its creation in the New Millennium.
Today sold-out tours prevail as peace seekers strengthen Soul practices. Including a New York Times best-selling author.
Do you hear a voice whispering? “Be a PAL&G docent…The visitors will come.”
Check it out. Call Program Director, Carol Jones at (323) 737-4055.
Click the link below to read Reif Larsen’s Finding Yourself in Los Angeles in The New York Times.
Your luggage is checked to your destination. But you’re stuck at LAX. There are only so many laps you can take around the food court, right? Give yourself a sweet treat. Grab an Uber, a Lyft or a taxi and make a beeline for a place of peace, such as Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G.)
As a guide of countless tours around the PAL&G labyrinth, meditation gardens, and historical mansion, I’ve yet to figure out the magic of the place. Always a pleasure though to watch shoulders relax and smiles emerge after a dip in the verdant meditation gardens. No matter the mood, songbirds soften my rough edges, too.
Our Australian visitors say I’ve got a “stickybeak.” (Nosy in American English.) I’m fascinated by travelers who are drawn to PAL&G hours before they fly home. Like a mother/son team who love their English labyrinths. They stumbled last minute into our Chartres Cathedral-inspired creation.
Another women from Hawaii was en route to Finland. She was wilting in the shade waiting for the 3 p.m. tour. She may have questioned her choice of spending her layover at PAL&G. Sixty minutes later her body language said something else. Shoulders slightly stooped, deep in contemplation while ambling the eleven concentric labyrinth circles, her posture straightened as she emerged. No elixir did she slip from her purse. Only the willingness to open to Spirit is my guess.
When feeling like Mr. Shakespeare’s Hamlet (in Act 1, Scene 2), “O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!” Run; don’t walk to the PAL&G labyrinth. (All right, walk briskly. Don’t want you slipping into the gorgeous reflecting pools.) Peace can occur when a prayer of surrender is said before twisting and winding through the labyrinth. That’s what someone very close whispered in my ear anyway.
If you’re a flexible type, or a yogi or yogini-in-training, check out Yoga at the Labyrinth. Or if you prefer an er, um less bendy approach, click the Visit tab at PeaceLabyrinth.org. Dare to explore the beautiful environment inside and outside of you.
Los Angeles is ablaze in a fiery heat wave. Tempers can flare as temperatures rise. Escape to air conditioned theatres featuring superheroes is one option. But what if others have the same idea and all seats are taken?
Dive inside and discover the superhero in you. (By all means, take a cold shower; soak in an ice cube bath, whatever it takes to feel relief before taking the inner trek to claim your superpower.) Yes, I’m suggesting the free and powerful tool of meditation.
The only kryptonite you’ll likely encounter are past hurts. But if you chant HU, the ancient Sanskrit name of God, you may experience a soothing balm. And a restoration of super you!
When Ani – pronounced “ah-nigh” – the tone of empathy is combined with HU - pronounced "hugh" - magic truly happens. You may have to resist fidget fairies the first few times. But chanting Ani-HU will eventually steamroller away irritations.
Maybe you already have a favorite mantra. Great! Or perhaps closing your eyes – unless it’s sleep – is just not your thing.
Are you willing to breathe? I’m not joking. By altering how we’re taking in air, we can better control our emotions. Check out this short and charming YouTube.
Simply touching your hand to your heart can also create miracles. Of course, a stroll to the center of a labyrinth can produce tranquility, too. It’s known in some circles as a “moving meditation.” (Note: Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is closed until July 24.)
Here's another cool idea for finding or strengthening your inner superhero:
What Is Soul Awareness?, August 7, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Held at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens
3500 West Adams Blvd. LA CA 90019.
The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, is a country of contradictions. Dichotomies of gracious smiles quiver on a balance with steel grit. Gleaming towers scratch the sky. Shadows may fall; still ancient temples maintain their dignity.
In Nagoya, taxis buzz like bees collecting honey. Business people scurry from trains to buses. Yet, smack dab in the center of the city is Atsuta Shrine. Bow, step through the winged torii gates and Nagoya noise disappears. A serene hush embraces the sacred grounds.
Atsuta Shrine is a spiritual oasis in the city. It’s one in countless shrines across Japan which offers refuge from the world. Or should I say refocus visitors on their spirits? (Meiji Shrine in Tokyo is another example. The shrine resides right next to Harajuku train station – aka the gateway into the mecca for the fashionista.)
Many of the magical entry points into nature and spirit in Japan are surrounded by eateries. Entrance into Nagoya’s Atsuta Shrine is free. However, a meal at the renowned eel restaurant, Atsuta Horaiken will cost you a pretty yen. (But well worth the visit according to satisfied Yelp subscribers.)
A trip to Japan – for most of us – demands saving dollars. Good news: While you are plunking pennies into your piggy bank, you can still enjoy a spiritual oasis in the City of Angels.
111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss states that Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens is the perfect place to “Find Your Self.” Indeed, the tiered garden and the labyrinth offer opportunities to bask in the tranquility which is ever present. If you like Asian accented gardens, you’ll love the bamboo and Japanese koi goldfish pond.
On Wednesday, June 27, 2018, there is an added bonus. A Heaven on Earth Summer Concert & Luncheon will take place at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. Doors open at 12 noon. A summer feast will delight the eyes and stomach at 1 pm. Tours of the gorgeous gardens and historic home are available. Docents can offer tips for walking the Chartres Cathedral inspired labyrinth, too.
Delicious music will also dance through the halls of the mansion. Award-winning composer and keyboardist, Merrill Collins will play the piano. She’s a voting member of the Grammy Foundation whose works have been hailed as “Gifts of Service to the World.” Adding her heavenly talents to the concert is acclaimed violinist, Nicole Bush. Nicole has played with prestigious orchestras such as the LA Philharmonic and is heard on Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand recordings.
Are you in LA on June 27th? Claim your Heaven on Earth with a visit to Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. See the link below or click here.
Wishing you heavenly experiences wherever Life may take you.
This article by PAL&G and MSIA Founder, John-Roger, was originally published in the Movement Newspaper, November 1982.
The quest inside us is an eternal quest. We may speak different languages, go to different churches or worship different forms of God, but we all still want to experience joy and love inside ourselves because that’s the nature of the Soul.
It’s true that when people come together in a group, there is often an agreement which says, “We’ll function this way while we’re in this group because that’s the way it will work best for us.” But later you may go to another group or another job and assume another function or role there. Then you may go to yet another activity and assume still another role. But while you’re doing this, you should never lose track that inside of you there resides the eternal One—the One that always exists.
The problem is, however, that sometimes you will say, “If there is this eternal One within me, then why don’t I already know it?” My response is, “Why don’t you listen? Why don’t you hold still within yourself for just a second and open your awareness?”
And then you want to know, “How do I open my awareness?” One way is to close your mouth, eyes and ears so that you’re not distracted by all the distractions of the world. Once you can control the body, you can start moving into higher levels of awareness.
The physical body may be the first level to bring under conscious direction and control. You can hold out your hand and shake it and then you can stop it. And you might wonder who stops it. Does your body stop it? Maybe not. Maybe the body wants to keep shaking it. Does an emotion or a feeling stop it? Not necessarily, because you can feel like shaking the hand and still control the body and do the opposite action. So, obviously you’re more than your feelings. Perhaps it’s the mind that says, “Shake it,” or “Don’t shake it.” But your mind doesn’t really do the action. It can only have a thought about the action or potential action. All of these levels can function independently of one another.
You can be talking to someone while you’re looking at something in the opposite direction, and your hand can still be shaking. Different levels perform independently. The feelings can be independent of the mind. The body can be independent of the imagination. But when you stop all of those things, what is it that stops them? You stop them. That which is beyond all the other levels is you. Much of the time your expression is on the periphery of the real you because the mind and emotions kick up and the body gets upset, which pulls you into those lower levels.
What you must do is quiet the body, emotions and mind. You can do this through the processes of meditation, contemplation, spiritual exercises, chanting a mantra or personal tone. Often it is suggested that you take between 10 minutes and two hours a day for individual spiritual practices. The time varies with individual teachers, preferences, schedules, etc. Spending some time in meditation can be a tremendous key to self-awareness.
Another key to self-awareness is a positive mental attitude. If you want to learn to direct yourself consciously, bring yourself into a positive focus. You might say, “Well, how can anybody have a positive mental attitude in the mess I’ve created?” Nobody said it was going to be easy. Look at it this way: If you develop a positive mental attitude when there is no challenge, what have you really developed? If you develop a positive mental attitude in the face of a lot of negativity, you have developed great strength and integrity.
If a person says, “I’m going on a diet,” when he’s just finished eating a big meal, how long do you think his “diet” will last? There is no challenge in dieting when your stomach’s full. There’s no challenge to stop smoking after you’ve just had a cigarette. But how about the next moment coming up? How about the next time you’re hungry and you think, “Do I gorge myself or not?” If you are to gain in self-awareness, you must exercise a conscious direction and hold to it. At some point you must restrain yourself. It’s often easy to hold a positive direction for awhile, but do you have the ability to hold and hold and hold until the old negative patterns get tired and give in?
Too often you give in first—and that may be what you hate. Not having the strength inside that you’d like to have can bother you because you don’t feel worthy of all the goodness that can be in your life. Some people think that in order to feel worthy you must do worthy things. Spiritually you are worthy, just in your own beingness. But to experience the sense of worthiness, you must do worthy things. It’s difficult to feel worthy if you’ve been angry and resentful, screamed at everyone around you about how wrong they are, and generally behaved like a madman.
You are here to go through life and experience it, not to experience everything or fall in temptations of negativity, but to consciously make choices in your life that serve to uplift you. You unfold according to your divine right. When you meet the demands of life as they are placed upon you, and overcome them, then you are exalted because you have been tried and found worthy. Then your inner strength lifts you up. You stand higher, the body feels better, the emotions feel good, and the mind clears.
You meet the demands of life as they are created—this is your responsibility. If you create a dishonest situation, you meet it and clear it in whatever way comes forward. If you’re going to worry about what’s going to take place tomorrow and if you’ll get caught, don’t do anything that will lead to being caught. If you think, “Should I do this? What if this is bad? Which way do I go?” all you’re doing is swinging back and forth in your consciousness. Some people think that it is Spirit coming in and moving them. But it may actually be indecision moving you. Move toward what you are worrying about and see what it is.
If the action does not seem clear for you to do—don’t do it. If you are going to worry and be concerned about the outcome, don’t go into that area. Be smart in your approach to life. If you think of embezzling some company funds, but you’re losing sleep over what happens if you get caught, don’t embezzle. If you’re flirting with your neighbor and worried what your wife will do if she finds out, don’t be the flirt. Move if you have to, but don’t go into that area.
If you’re willing to put forward effort to increase your awareness, Spirit will move with you. You don’t get healthy, wealthy and wise with a negative attitude. Even if you’re just looking to be happy, you won’t get there with a negative attitude. If you just want to get along with people, have success and gain wealth, you have to have a positive approach. No matter what your goal is, you will come closer to accomplishing it if your attitude is positive.
Why not make your goal God consciousness? Why not learn about the inner realms before you die so you can know where you’re going? If you don’t move in that direction, you won’t get it. And if you do move in that direction, you’ll be moving that way all the time, every moment of your waking consciousness. And as you start moving into it, you’ll start making wise choices. As you make wise choices, your environment will settle down, and you’ll begin getting free of it. Then you’ll start to say, “Life is good.” It’s really been the same life all along. It’s just your attitude that is now creating peace and harmony.
Find your freedom by seeing what is going on right now and how to make life work for you, rather than seeing what is going against you. How can you make your life work better for you? You may not have a solution right now, because you might be in a level of experiencing a situation. You may still have to internalize it more and allow it to shake things loose inside of you, until you finally say, “I don’t need this anymore. I’m free of it.” Then the “negative” experience becomes positive as you use it as a stepping stone. Life is a challenge. You knew it before you came here. It is a challenge of fulfillment and a challenge of awareness.
More and more we are moving into a new area. Some people call it the Age of Aquarius or the Golden Age. It’s actually the age of greater loving. We’re living in the time of Biblical prophecy. It is said that in the latter days God will…”pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
Force isn’t going to make the changes you want to make. If you try to force someone, they’ll use force back on you. If you try to be the authority with them they will show you that they are as authoritative as you. The thing that will create the changes you’re after is when God’s energy of love flows through you and activates your love. You combine that with other people’s love, and it starts overflowing. It becomes an “epidemic” of loving. People are no longer afraid to love and they’re not afraid to say, “I love you.”
Life is to be lived. It is meant to be shared. It is not to be abused or inflicted upon anyone. It is meant to be joyful, not evil or sinful. Life is being present and just breathing in and out. The knowledge of how to solve problems, how to grow and change is within you. But you are the one who must come into the awareness of yourself to such a degree that you can activate that knowledge and use it for your own and others’ upliftment.
As I'm flying over the Pacific Ocean, I’m transported listening to the “Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth Seminar” with John Morton, MSIA’s Spiritual Director, that was Live Streamed from Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G). It was an invite to dive into God’s infinite ocean of love and mercy.
Even as rioters surface on the Gaza Strip (as is happening in the news right now), “Heaven on earth is a decision,” says John. “If I find any peace in the Middle East, then there is peace in the Middle East.”
One candle can spark a holy blaze, which warms cold hands and fills hungry hearts with comfort. All right. Maybe such idealism belongs to the Lovers, the Dreamers and Me (and Kermit the Frog!). However, given the alternative, I’ll say, “Yes, please” to John’s keys to creating heaven on earth.
Please Note: The following keys are this writer’s interpretation of information presented at the seminar.
1. Get Creative!
“We can create it [Heaven on Earth.]”
John’s seminars have always had creative contributions. Last night was no exception. PAL&G’s staff, George Scott (in his late 80s) and LeAnna Sharp (a beautiful millennial) performed like Fred and Ginger dancing "Cheek to Cheek." Their song and swing dance sparkled with Spirit. I jumped to my feet to join in a standing ovation for the duo who brought so much joy.
Amazing how a dash of imagination and a dance or two can elevate life to another level. Next time the doldrums hit, maybe I’ll turn up the music and foxtrot around the room.
2. Change the Channel
“Guess what? This is Heaven on Earth.”
How we relate to ourselves, each other, and our experiences informs our realities. A subtle switch of focus softens the rough edges. I’m not an advocate of sweeping emotions under the carpet and painting on a Pollyanna smile. But I believe in asking, WWTNTTHTYT? That’s how my great Uncle George would sign his letters. (Yes, dear millennial, once upon a time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, handwritten letters existed.) What is WWTNTTHTYT? What was the nicest thing that happened to you today?
3. Twinkle, Twinkle Divine Star
“Let us consider the Kingdom of Heaven is already here.”
Maybe heaven is always here. As hard as it is to swallow, I’m the one responsible for not seeing it that way. I agree with John that, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16 KJV)
What happens though when rage and reactions to unjust accusations or attacks arise? “Call ourselves forward into the Light,” says John.
Part of claiming heaven on earth (as I understand it) is allowing the divine to dance with us. To ask for the Light is to remember that we are one of the Creator’s precious kids. (Even when our oh so delicate ego begs to differ.) Enter the most excellent of tools – spiritual exercises (a form of active meditation).
4. Surrender, Dorothy
“We lay down whatever stands in the way of serving God.”
The big “F”…Forgive! The payoff is more freedom to have fun. Of course, there’s a caveat: Surrender pissed-offness and release resentments. My great Uncle George’s second favorite phrase was, “There ain’t no free lunch.”
“Patience is a virtue that will never hurt you” was his first favorite saying. So, when forgiveness seems impossible it’s time to double down on TLC from you to you.
When the hurt feels too deep: Besides therapy and crying to my husband, I hit my knees and free-form write like crazy. (Free-form writing is a technique to release negativity and unconscious blocks.) Then I repeat the process. Through gritted teeth I’ve also prayed for the allegedly antagonist one(s). Warning: Be ready for miracles!
5. Have Fun with Dick and Jane
“Come into the expression of loving regardless--it’s not the lamb ready for slaughter. It’s more, what would love do?”
The brilliant Master of Ceremonies of the “Keys to Creating Heaven on Earth Seminar” was David Bransky. He referenced one of the greatest mystery series of all time, Fun with Dick and Jane. (At the American School in Japan I attended, every first-grader read the books.) David spoke of the wonder on his child’s face as he poured over the big question, “Where is Spot?”
Spot was the dog. Dog is God spelled backwards. (Stay with me.) In the midst of growing pains, even saints like Mother Theresa have been known to cry out and wonder where the Loving Creator is hiding. Maybe we just need to keep turning the page. Along the way perhaps we’ll get glimpses into the Divine design. As we close the book, we very well may realize that God has placed the keys to creating heaven on earth in each and every one of us.
Let’s be real. We’ve all got addictions. Don’t drink, swear, smoke or touch that white substance called sugar? Congratulations. How long can you go without checking your smart phone? Or binge watching your favorite Netflix show? Most of us need some form of comfort. On planet earth a lot of curve balls and challenges are thrown our way. (If this is not your experience, please send the address of your cave pronto!)
How cool would it be though to upgrade our addictions to God? (Higher power, Spirit, you know what I mean.) In the City of Angels, there is a place to plug into the oasis of your Soul. It’s called Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G.) In the gardens, celestial melodies courtesy of the birds lift the gaze heavenward. Multiple water features sing soothing lullabies. There’s the ancient labyrinth, too, which is sometimes referred to as a Moving Meditation into the Heart.
Evening events like An Introduction to Meditation: A Deeper Experience led by Dr. Paul Kaye are also a beautiful way to de-stress. Although Paul’s approach is lighthearted, his training is serious. From Lao Tzu to Rumi, from tai chi to yoga and countless other disciplines, Paul has thoroughly researched the subject of healing through meditation and sound.
Due to numerous requests, PAL&G is now opening its doors, too, for a one day silent retreat entitled Unplug – Relax, Refresh, Recharge. Paul will lead the charge into stillness: “The purpose of the retreat is for you to completely relax, let go of worldly concerns and connect more deeply with who you are and with what breathes and sustains you.”
To ensure the clearest, truest connection, all participants are required to abide by PAL&G’s smoke-free, drug-free environment. If you’d like to attend, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with Silent Retreat in the subject line. To uphold the serenity fostered in the retreat, a maximum of 20 participants will be accepted.
Have you ever set a goal for yourself only to find yourself falling short of it? Maybe you have come very close but haven’t reached into the success of completion. Use the theater of the mind to envision your success—your accomplishment, completion and achievement. If you create this vision strongly enough it can happen for you. Even when a part of you seems to give up—consciously or otherwise—there is another part that can hold the vision. Then, perhaps when you least expect it, you will “suddenly” have accomplished your goal.
Once you have set a goal or direction for your self, you may experience a fear of failure, a fear of being unable to measure up and reach that goal. You’re in good company. I’m sure that everyone on the planet has experienced this fear. There are no real failures, however. The word failure is only your interpretation of a test you aren’t prepared to handle yet.
Perhaps the reason you aren’t prepared to handle it is that you haven’t imaged-in enough correct information. You haven’t gone over it enough in your mind, placed it in your emotions as confidence, or placed it in your body as a skill that you can produce when the test comes. These so-called failures aren’t recorded against you. You can simply say, “Yes, I failed that course. I guess I had better repeat it.” Or, “I guess I’m not cut out for that. I’ll start in another direction.”
The test does not record your failure; you record your failure. The test records your lack of preparation and reveals to you the work necessary for your success. Understanding this, you may see that your job is to go back, review the material you didn’t understand before and learn it this time. When you can approach life with the attitude that each step is a preparation for the next step, you’ll be in good territory.
How would you like it if, on the ladder to heaven, someone went ahead of you and built each rung perfectly so that you and each succeeding person could go up easily? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? How would you like it, however, if the person in front of you couldn’t even hammer a nail straight and left the rungs crooked and loose? Would you want to follow that person? You would probably prefer to follow the one who does things right, is careful and checks their work. And even when you follow such a person, you must be responsible for your own progression.
While it is wise to follow the best example you can find, it is also wise to check things out for yourself. At each step of the ladder, test to make sure that you are still firmly supported. Watch the step in front of you; make sure it’s solid. When it comes toward you, take it, and keep your eyes on it until it is below you. Then watch the next step as it comes. That way, you won’t be unsure of the step you’re on; you will already have prepared yourself by watchfulness, thoroughness and constant checking. You won’t stumble and fall over your work and the people below will be able to follow you safely.
When the time is right, you will awaken to the Light consciousness within you. One aspect of your awakening will be assuming responsibility for yourself and your actions. Suppose your neighbor recommends a car, you buy it and it turns out to be a car in need of repairs. Whose fault is it? Your neighbor’s? No way. It’s your fault. Why didn’t you check it out? Why didn’t you take it to your mechanic? Why didn’t you go through it more thoroughly?
The only true answer is simply that you didn’t. Don’t blame your neighbor. You don’t even have to blame yourself. Let the experience be your teacher. Learn from it; it’s been a valuable experience. When you get sick and tired of making dumb mistakes you’ll get a little smarter in your approach. I have often said, “When you get sick and tired of being tired and sick, you’ll change.” It’s rare that you’ll change prior to that point, however, unless you have someone who loves you enough to push you out of bed in the morning and get you on your way.
You were put here with something special inside you: the ability to contact Spirit within. With that spiritual energy you can contact universal mind and place success images into it through your own mind. When you have done this long enough, your positive images will weigh upon the universal mind and they will start to precipitate down into reality. To implement these positive images, universal mind chooses people whose minds are open-architects, engineers, scientists and similar individuals who have within them the creative urge to be open to what is new.
This article by John-Roger was first published in the Movement Newspaper, June 1987.
“Miracles become the result of your Love.” ~John-Roger, DSS
A miracle is an unexpected but welcome gift. Course in Miracles friends say, “Forgiveness is the home of miracles.” It is indeed miraculous and surprising - for me anyway - when my heart floods with love for one I labeled “foe.”
Miracles are different though from magic. Grudges usually melt best when met with meditation. Work needs to be done before benefits surface. It’s kind of like a 401k. Hard-earned money is deposited into an account. In time, if invested correctly, lots of money appears!
So, if I can go into meditation with the intent to touch the divine, angels kiss my forehead. Conversely if I continue on the war path of againstness …Well, you’ve probably heard the saying, “What you focus on you create.”
But you’ve also heard what you resist, persists. So when the war lords are drumming up strategies of revenge, I put my best Mother Mary/Shakti/Fairy Godmother game face on and have a little chat.
Wicked War Lords: (Shouting at the top of their lungs.) They are wrong, bad and we are going to withhold love from them forever and ever and ever. Here’s how we can get back at them…
Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: (In a soft, soothing voice.) Er, excuse me for a moment. You sound like you’re really angry, hurt and in a whole lot of pain. It’s okay that you feel rage. You have a right to your feelings.
Wicked War Lords: (Stunned.) I do?
Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: Mm-hmm. And I bet you thought when so-and-so did such-and-such, they did so because you were not (fill in the blank) enough or bad or not worthy of love.
Wicked War Lords: (Heads hanging and shuffling their feet) Yeah, kinda.
Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: Well, their behavior is not about you. YOU are our precious one. We love YOU soooooooo much.
Wicked War Lords: Really?
Super Mother Mary/Shakti/ Fairy Godmother: Yes! So, would you be willing to chant Ani-Hu or Om or any one of the divine mantras designed to lift and heal?
Wicked War Lords: (Dewy-eyed) Yes.
The mystic Rumi had it right: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” And then, yes, miracles appear.
For more info about meditations, forgiveness, and little miracles, visit PeaceLabyrinth.org/Events. On many 2nd & 4th Tuesdays popular meditation instructor and author, Paul Kaye will holds meditation and sound journeys.
Best labyrinth is a title bestowed upon Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens (PAL&G) by LA Weekly. According to Los Angeles Magazine, PAL&G is declared to be the Best of LA. Many visitors see the spot as a “spiritual oasis in the city.”
All the accolades are deserved. The labyrinth, the gardens and Italian renaissance villa are magnificent. So are many of the people who live and work at PAL&G.
89-year-old George Scott is an esteemed sous chef at PAL&G. His swoon-worthy salad dressings have stirred up Emmy award nominee Anne Marie Cummings to inquire after the ingredients. His desserts have knocked many off the diet wagon. Vocal coach, Melinda Browne, says, “George always shows up before the workshops with amazing homemade pastries, revealing he is not only talented on stage but also in the kitchen.”
More than his culinary talents, George seems to have mastered joie de vivre. George’s daughter, Bambi says, “Dad was always giving and loving. He always had and has a smile.”
Scientists say that even faking a smile can reduce stress and increase serenity. Smiling at those around you can also apparently improve the energetic of an environment.
George’s easy smile sometimes makes this writer wonder if he’s strategizing mischief. His baby blues are brightest though when swing dancing or singing Sinatra tunes. “I feel a lot of spirit when I dance the big bands – like Glenn Miller,” says George.
Bambi remembers her father practicing East Coast Swing in the back of his health food store. (He was eating avocado toast before it was the fad!) Looks like he practiced a lot. Experienced dancers agree that George Smith’s lead is smoooooth. He is an inspiration for those of us who could use more movement and mindful eating. (Just in case you need the reminder; diet and exercise are essential to well-being.)
Besides swing dancing, George sites family and service as keys to happiness. He is a devoted father of, “3 unbelievable daughters. Each one of them is a Virgo and talented in their own way.”
While in attendance at songbird Bambi’s performance of Almost Like Being in Love, he picked up yet another key to happiness: singing! Kismet stepped in and he won admission into a Melinda Browne workshop. Daughter Wendy says, “When I was a kid, I always thought my dad could do anything he put his attention to. As an adult, I now know it’s true!”
The love George Scott has cultivated in his children extends to colleagues, too. James Burton (whose artistic touch with all things flowers and food is sublime) recalls George’s offer of “a healing song when I returned to the kitchen from my leave of absence.”
The melody of the song is a distinctively lilting George Scott ditty. However, any light tune will apparently do the trick. “The important thing is the (affirmation of) I am,” says George.
I am grateful for PAL&G’s song-and-dance man.
George Scott’s Healing Song
Every little cell in my body is healthy.
Every little cell in my body is well.
I’m so glad every little cell in my body is healthy and well.
I’m so glad every little cell in my body is healthy and well.
Happiness is intangible. Like a Guerlain perfume or Chopin composition, the notes give the senses a lovely tickle. Aware that humans at their core like long soaks in feeling good, the United Nations designated March 20th the International Day of Happiness. Even if there are realities like rent, we can dedicate one day to enjoyment!
So, on Tuesday, March 20th, popular meditation instructor, Paul Kaye and communications expert, Anna Sugai explored The Way of Happiness at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens. The conversations to living with a sincere smile stretched beyond the confines of the property. People from 169 countries tuned in on the web. From Afghanistan to Argentina to Australia, we citizens of the world are eager to live with more joie de vivre. (France was online, too!)
Paul pointed out that we all have the tools for allowing in more sunny feelings. We have the power of choice. “[It’s] like sitting in a dark room, knowing where the light switch is.”
Ahhh, but some of us forget. Perhaps we drown for a time feeling responsible for the storm of scowls surrounding us. (No one I know, of course.)
The Way of Happiness provided marvelous keys for keeping the light on and our spirits high. Including dancing to Pharrell Williams’ billion YouTube hit song, "Happy." To "Shake it Off" with music and movement – thank you Taylor Swift – are fantabulous antidotes to the blues.
Anna spoke of the magic of self-talk. She told of traveling solo and lonely. On a stroll through the Louvre, she committed to a cheerier perspective and chat with herself. A European romance ensued. (Sorry, she didn’t elaborate.)
Serendipitously, Paul and Anna on their happiness research landed upon a Gandhi quote. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and do are in harmony.”
Whistling a happy tune while resisting British rule through non-violence might be a tad challenging for some of us. Yet, Mahatma Gandhi is an exquisite example of how circumstances do not define the bounds of happiness.
Tips and wise words about happiness also came from participants. “It is a rather crude analogy,” said one online visitor, “but I have always said it is possible to be joyous sitting on a manure pile and possible to be unhappy even with my greatest dreams realized.”
A divorcée hit with the doldrums shared about writing 3 daily gratitude items at bedtime for 3 months. Life shifted in a happy direction for her.
The Original Ted Talk – a stellar 90 second segment – from The Mary Tyler Moore Show was played. Watch it here. More than a "fake it until you make it" approach, Ted Baxter takes on a Nike “Just Do It” attitude.
To quote Muspoetographer, Lucy P. Dickinson, Happiness is, “Living in the rainbow of God’s Grace and blessings.”
Or maybe when we fling our hearts wide open, we are on the way to happiness.
With so much busyness and distraction available in the modern world, it’s important to take time for ourselves each day to focus on our spiritual nature. To drop the physical concerns of the day, and once again become aware that we are spiritual. That we are, through our Soul and our precious life breath, an extension of the Divine.
There are many meditation techniques available for tuning into your Spirit, or higher nature. Here at Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens one of the primary ways that we learn to attune to and focus on God is through what we call Spiritual Exercises. Spiritual Exercises are an active technique of bypassing the mind and emotions by using a spiritual tone or vibration to connect to the energy that flows from God through all existence.
In Spiritual Exercises (S.E.’s) there is a focus on actively directing the attention inside, rather than attempting to passively quiet the mind. In our experience S.E.’s can assist a person to transcend illusions and limitations and move into the awareness of themselves as Soul: the pure, sacred, loving nature of who we truly are.
A recommended chant for spiritual exercises is the "HU," which is pronounced like the name Hugh or which can be said by pronouncing the sounds of the individual letters "H" and "U." The HU tone is an ancient name of God and is a wonderful way of attuning to the higher vibrations of Spirit.
The ANI-HU is a variation of the HU chant. Pronounced (AHN-EYE-HUE), the ANI-HU is also an invocation to God with an added dimension that brings in the quality of empathy and oneness with others. As you chant this tone, you may find the quality of empathy and connection with others increased.
We invite you to follow the instructions below and try doing Spiritual Exercises, and observe the results for yourself.
People who do Spiritual Exercises regularly often report experiencing a deeper peace and relaxation and a greater connection to the Spirit inside. You might try doing Spiritual Exercises daily for 10 or 15 minutes and see if this practice works for you.
Instructions for Spiritual Exercises
1. Call yourself forward into the "Light" of the Holy Spirit, or a Higher Power, for the highest good, and ask for protection and guidance during your S.E.’s.
2. Chant the HU (pronounced H-U or HUE) or the Ani-HU (pronounced AHN-EYE-HUE), which are sacred names of God. It’s preferable to do this inwardly (silently).
3. While chanting, focus your attention in the “third eye” area, which is near the center of the head directly back from your forehead. It is in this place that the Soul has its seat and the Soul energy gathers.
4. After you have chanted for about five minutes, stop and listen within. You are listening for the Sound Current, or audible life stream, which can be very subtle. You may hear it the first time you do this, or it may take years of practice. This is a very individual matter.
5. If you find your mind wandering and you lose the focus of listening, you can focus the mind again by chanting.
6. After about five minutes of listening, you can return to chanting again. The times are approximate, and the idea is to spend time in S.E.’s both chanting and listening.
For longer periods of S.E.’s, you can expand the time for chanting and listening to fifteen minutes each. For example, in an hour session you can chant for fifteen minutes, listen for fifteen minutes, and then repeat the chanting-and-listening cycle one more time.
All of the above are guidelines, so you can experiment with how you do S.E.’s, using what works for you at a particular time and not getting attached to a certain form. The focus is on doing your Spiritual Exercises with as much loving and devotion to the Spirit within as you can.
Again, we invite you to visit this peaceful place, and while you’re here to go inside in whatever way works for you, and tap into the riches within.
"Restoring peace inside of you allows you a few moments of quietness. Spirit can become present. There can be a great healing inside of you, and a re-attunement to the oneness which is the peace of Spirit."
John-Roger, PAL&G Founder, DSS
(From: Loving Each Day For Peacemakers, Choosing Peace Every Day)
“I have a dream…We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We have video proof that Dr. King gave his famous I Have a Dream speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. Controversy, however, swirls around the veracity of a quote by President Abraham Lincoln: “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
No argument about the eternal quest for happiness though. Maybe it’s in our DNA. Whether it’s the wish for a hot meal or Aladdin’s Genie with his golden lamp, happiness is a weighty subject. (Sometimes a pricey one. Countless seminars promise happiness in its various forms: How-to-Squeeze Into Your Skinny Jeans, How-to-Make a Million Dollars Before You’re 12!)
The United Nations has given serious thought to happiness. Since 2013, March 20 is decreed to be the International Day of Happiness. They’ve even complied "10 Keys to Happier Living" and created a clever acronym. The following is yours truly’s take on the “Great Dream.” Love to read your ways to happiness in the comments section.
- G R E A T D R E A M -
1) GIVING creates a sense of abundance. No money is needed. An authentic smile or compliment to another reminds us that an unending supply of divine love lives inside.
2) RELATING reduces risks of heart failure! According to the researchers at the Action for Happiness, “Not having close personal ties poses the same level of health risk as smoking or obesity.”
Note to Self and You: It takes courage to reach out. Dark cloudy emotions make it harder. Take the chance. Spill the beans to a trustworthy one and get a hug. Let them share their Light.
3) EXERCISING releases endorphins and apparently reduces the perception of pain. No wonder doctors recommend physical activity for those prone to depression.
4) AWARENESS like mindfulness is a marvelous way to come present. It’s also a fab way to truly savor the sweet moments in life. And figure out the crazy times. (Eckhart Tolle wrote a whole book about the Power of Now.)
5) TRYING OUT new activities is a terrific way to keep grey matter from shrinking. Mastering ballet or the Chinese language might be daunting past the age of 5. Still, baby steps of achievement and accomplishment can lead to higher self-esteem and happiness!
6) DIRECTION gives meaning to life. With goals, there’s a reason to get up in the morning. A few, maybe many follow a true North path. Even if the road swerves for those of us who have the need to redefine happiness; goals let us discover those deeper truths.
7) RESILIENCE is crucial to surviving inevitable losses. Psychologists cite faith and attitude as primary keys for springing back into Life. If circumstances haven’t helped to foster trust in a higher power, I humbly offer the meditation RX. Start small. Same goes for the attitude. Just notice the tiny things you and others do right.
8) EMOTIONS are excellent for everything when they are positive. A reservoir of good feelings produces success on all levels. No surprise that the folks at the Action for Happiness want you to focus on shiny, bright, beautiful things…I do too.
As someone who has suffered the slings and arrows of guilt because ugly thoughts and emotions have surfaced; here are a few tricks: Allow them. Be authentic. The pain needs Love! Write out the nasties on paper and burn them. Imagine how a fairy godmother or angel would counsel the hurt, angry one.
9) ACCEPTANCE can be challenging. It’s soooooo tempting to compare my insides to others’ outside alleged perfection. What helps is remembering that a) I’m on planet Earth aka The Classroom b) The course is designed by a loving Creator.
10) MEANING is given to Life, according to the experts, by believing in something bigger than self. To quote Sesame Street’s beloved Cookie Monster: “Life is not all guessing games. Sometimes we have to care about friends, especially friends who love cookies.”
So what are you going to do today to fulfill your Great Dream? Love to have you join us on March 20th for The Way of Happiness with author, meditation instructor, Paul Kaye and communications expert, Anna Sugai. Click here for more info or visit PeaceLabyrinth.org/events.