Angel Gabriel

angel

Two nights ago, during a sound healing event, I received a message from Angel Gabriel. The angel said to me, “Rejoice! Help is on the way.” So many times, I feel alone on this earth. I wonder, “Where are the celestial beings?”

There are many energies on this earth. We can not see the air, but it is an energy. There are many different forms of energy that are invisible to the human eye. In Western culture, we are not taught to see or feel celestial beings or spirits. In many tribal groups around the world, children are taught from a very young age to see and honor the spirits.

I come from a Catholic background, but I usually do not pray to angels. However, I am open to all loving, spirit energies. I am so grateful that I received a message from Angel Gabriel. We are in changing times. We need help to let go of the illusion of separateness and duality, understand everything as energy, and become our ultimate true nature as love.

During the sound healing event, the shaman played crystal bowls and Tibetan singing bowls of different sizes. She also played a gong and a rain stick. During the higher pitch singing bowl, I could feel the energy change in the room. The singing bowl sounded like a laser beam, and I imaged it eradicated my negative energy.

As I laid on the floor during the sound healing, I felt my awareness open up. I am no longer dormant or asleep. I felt the spirit world. We are not alone. 

It is time that we see the divine again. We must wake up!

Keep up your determination and spiritual willpower.

Help is on the way.

Namaste, world.

angel 3

 

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Dark Cloud

 

clouds2

I have something I want to share. I feel uncomfortable sharing this information, but I am ready to face the situation. Here it goes: My 26-year-old daughter, Brenna, is an alcoholic. It’s hard for me to share this information because of my feelings of sadness and helplessness. I express my love to my daughter as much as I can. I hope that she will get treatment soon and recover. Her dad and I gave her a lot of treatment options. Now she needs to take the next step.

One is addicted…many are affected.

The whole family is affected by alcoholism. It’s a dark cloud, but there’s hope. Behind the dark cloud is a blue sky.

Buddhist monk, Ajahn Chah, says, “Whatever is pleasurable, delicious, exciting, good, is just that much; it has its limit, it is not as if it is anything outstanding.” The monk, obviously, did not have any children. Having a child is truly an outstanding experience. A mother and her child have a strong connection that lasts a lifetime.

When I look at my daughter, I see beauty. Even though she has a severe problem, I still see my beautiful child. It’s easy to judge someone, but as a spiritual person, I honor the spirit within.

I acknowledge that it’s very hard to see my daughter struggle with alcoholism. As a parent, I have so many emotions, dreams, wishes, and hopes for my child.

 I want to see the blue sky.

(The photo below is a painting by my daughter, Brenna.)
clouds3

What can we do when life becomes challenging?

  • Talk to a friend or a counselor or join a support group.
  • Understand the impermanence of everything. “Life is changing, it is a bundle of elements and energies which are always changing.” – Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda
  • Remember, “This too shall pass.”
  • Meditate to become calm in all situations. Practice deep breathing.
  • Use your energy to serve (volunteer or support something that is meaningful to you).
  • Become a your own problem solver. Cultivate perseverance. Don’t give up.
  • Remember “wisdom comes through understanding.” – Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda
  • Remember you are not alone.
  • Increase your self-care.
  • Eat chocolate – at least that’s what I do. 🙂
  • Time will heal our wounds.
  • Find a sangha or a spiritual community. “Spiritual backing is absolutely necessary for man’s spiritual upliftment, leading to tranquility of mind and everlasting happiness.” – Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda’

When life is challenging, that is when I learn the most. Can I breathe into the discomfort? Can I be present? Can I allow the discomfort of the situation transform me?

There can be no rainbow without a cloud and a storm. Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda

Namaste, world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandala

mandalasEach person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life – everything that shows up in your mandala is a vehicle for your awakening. – Pema Chodron

Attachment

 

petsIt’s wonderful to be on vacation. I just spent two and a half weeks in Europe (London, Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome). Just because I was on vacation, doesn’t mean that I can let go of my daily meditation and spiritual development. I realized that this time away from home taught me some valuable lessons about attachment.

About three days before my vacation was over, I noticed that I missed my house, my dog (Liam), and my kitten (Kira). I know that it’s normal for me to miss my home and pets. But as I laid in bed thousands of miles away from my home, fear crept up inside me. I thought maybe the universe will not allow me to go home. I also thought about refugees who leave their homes behind and I thought about death. When I die, I have to leave my home, pets, and family behind. I realized that I have some very strong attachments.

How can I walk on this earth and not have attachments? Attachments are one of the five causes of suffering called, “kleshas.” Buddhist texts encourage us to cultivate neutrality and equanimity. It’s important to achieve a state called, “chitta-prasadana” – a state of the mind being in a pleased condition. (Swami Veda Bharati, 2015). Even though I was thousands of miles away (4,869 miles to be exact), I needed to be in the present moment – and not “longing” for things; which I found to be a difficult task.

Since I was experiencing fear and attachment, I connected with my breath to help me gain perspective and neutrality. I felt my breath and silently chanted om on the in-breath and shanti on the out-breath. I need to develop my sankalpa – spiritual willpower. A strong mind and spiritual wisdom will open new doors of reality.

Here are some ways to stay on the path according to Swami Veda Bharati (2015):

  • Keep daily meditation. It will grant you insight.
  • Keep your forehead relaxed – free of the wrinkles of worry and repetitive thought – in all situations.
  • Every two to three hours, do two to three minutes of breath awareness with a mantra. (Do this sitting, standing, even with your eyes open while in a meeting, if you need to.) Just keep doing it – it will change your temperament.
  • Observe yourself constantly. Take note every time you have not quite managed to remain true to your principles of speech and behavior. (Ask yourself: Was there a touch of unnecessary harshness in my tone? Did I neglect to practice non-anger or humility?)
  • Use your sankalpa – your spiritual willpower. Resolve to do better next time, but do not indulge in self-condemnation. Never give up on yourself; just renew your sankalpa.
  • Select one principle you find it easiest to practice and also one you find it most difficult to practice. Start practicing.
  • Devise your own methods to apply these principles.

Om Shanti Om

Namaste, world.

Reference:

Bharati, S.V. (2015). Whole hearted: Applied spirituality for everyday life. Minneapolis, MN: Dhyana Mandiram, Inc. (I highly recommend this book.)

Dharma Name

 

om

About a year ago, Buddhist monk Bhante Mihintala Kamalasiri gave me a Dharma name. As a Westerner, I do not know the significance of a Dharma name. I know that names are very significant all over the world. A Dharma or Dhamma name is traditionally given by a Buddhist monastic, and is given to newly ordained monks, nuns, and laity. A Dharma name is used to identify oneself as a practitioner of Buddhism.

My Dharma name is: Jinani (Daughter of Rishi). Jinani is also an Arabic name for girls that means “heavenly.” A Rishi is a Hindu sage or saint. A Rishi can also be a yogi.

Just like Native American names, I ponder the meaning of my Dharma name. What does it mean to be a Daughter of Rishi? I am ready to explore this name and its meaning. I realize that the universe has bestowed a new name for me. I am ready to accept the name.

I know that as Buddhist Monks progress in their development, they receive new names. Therefore, there is no need to become attached to a certain name. Therefore, I know that I received the name Jinani for where I am today in my development.

Like I mentioned, I received this name a year ago. And actually, I forgot all about the name until recently. Lately, I’ve become more rooted in Buddhism and in my spirituality. So, maybe it is time for me to recognize the name.

Namaste, world.

*I will be in Europe June 20 to July 6. I will have limited access to a computer, therefore, I will blog after I return.

Pain – By Ven. Kittisaro

paintingBuddhism swings you right out – the First Noble Truth – to look right at pain or unhappiness. It is the same thing as when Jesus said, “Pick up your cross.” We’ve got to bear the cross: the whole symbol of surrendering, rather than using his powers to fly up into the sky. We turn to pain and look right at it, feel it and investigate it: “What is it?” Notice how thoughts say, “This is pain – this is horrible. I can’t take this anymore.” We begin to watch the nature of these ideas that we tack onto the pain: making it my pain, and unendurable.

Mysteriously, once we start to look at pain it changes too, because it’s not a solid thing. So, this is what the physicists are learning: just the act of observing something is actually participating in changing it. By looking at suffering, we’re actually part of the transformation of it. Understanding it, standing under it, bearing with it, we become free from false notions of pain and pleasure. By investigating it, already we see it as something that appears to us, and then dispassion arises. – Venerable Kittisaro

*Painting by Brenna Garens

Ritual in the Present Moment

roman bathAncient Roman Bath

I am starting to understand the concept “live in the present moment.” The present moment is all that we have. There is no past or future – only the present moment. I admire people who live each day as if it’s their last.

There needs to be some qualities to living in the present moment. Mindfulness is one of the most important qualities. Be mindful of your thoughts, words, and actions. Also, ritual should be a something created in the present moment. Life is sacred, so we need to honor it. Remember “ritual” is part of “spiritual.”

Each religion has its own rituals, but you can create your own. I do my rituals in the morning and in the evening before I go to bed. In the morning, I do yoga and meditate. I light a candle and burn incense to create sacred space. In the evening, I recite mantras while I sit or lay in bed.

Here is a ritual that I created for one of my classes in the Holistic Health Studies masters program at St. Catherine University in Minnesota:

Personal Healing Ritual: Spiritual Bath

  1. To create a spiritual bath it is important to use the four elements:
  • Water (to heal emotions/feelings) – represented by the bath water.
  • Fire (to spark imagination, passion, and enthusiasm) – represented by the candle.
  • Earth (to promote spiritual growth) – represented by the Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts.
  • Air (to increase effective communication and to increase intellectual abilities) – represented by the essential oils.

2.  Choose the type of bath that you want:

  • Uplifting and invigorating – use tangerine or lemon essential oil.
  • Calming and relaxing – use lavender or chamomile essential oil.
  • Focus – use rosemary or frankincense essential oil.
  • Cleansing – use a combination of tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oils.

3.  How to create the spiritual bath:

  • Make sure there are no distractions or interruptions.
  • Fill the bath with water and add some Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts under the running water.
  • Add 10-15 drops of essential oil.
  • Light the candle and set an intention.
  • Integrate your senses by taking some deep breaths, gaze at the candle, or feel the warmth of the water surrounding your body.
  • Before getting out of the bath, create a healing intention. For example: May the water heal my body. May the burning flame ignite my passion and determination in my heart. May the salts aid me in my spiritual growth. And may the oils unite me to my brothers and sisters.

Namaste, world.

 

 

GOD

Gina meditating

God be with me.

This week I brought the concept of God back into my life. I think that there can be a middle road. Even the Buddha teaches us to follow the Middle Way. The belief in God is a personal decision. In India, they say there are thousands of Gods (millions now). That’s because everyone has their own personal God.

I remember the quote, “We are living proof that God exists.” Human beings are amazing.  We are intelligent and creative. We are too good to be true, so there must be a God. We have a beautiful, mystical world, so there must be a God.

Every day I silently say to myself, “God be with me.” I seek support and guidance. I feel secure when I know that a master being exists. This week I tried to substitute different words instead of God. I said, “Universal energy be with me,” “May the force be with me,” and “May Reiki energy be with me.” Nothing could substitute for the word God. Like I said in my previous blog post, the concept of God is hard-wired in my brain.

I hear a lot of people say, “Whatever God wants” or “God will lead me.” We tend to put our lives in God’s hands. But then we are not taking responsibility for our own lives. We are always looking for someone to tell us what to do instead of following our own heart and mind. Going forward, I want to find the middle ground with my concept of God. I want to embrace the mystery of God and yet empower myself.

I have one hospice patient who is 88-years-old. She has bright blue eyes like the sky. When I was visiting with her, she kept looking out the window saying how beautiful the trees looked. I asked her about God. She said, “If we don’t trust God, then who can we trust?” Who can we trust? Who is in our corner? Who cares about us? Again, I want to take the middle road. We can trust what is in the present moment. We can trust ourselves, the people around us, the sun, the trees, and the animals. God is all around us.

Human beings have consciousness. We are creators of our own lives. Therefore, God lives within us. God can be the universal field, too, because God can be anything and can be anywhere.

I plan to keep an open mind and an open heart. I plant these seeds of thoughts in my mind. My thoughts will grow and evolve as my life travels down the path of wisdom.

Namaste, world.