The Mandala: The Sacred Geometry of Meditation

The Mandala: The Sacred Geometry of Meditation

26th August 2016

By Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

A mandala is a visual symbol often utilized in meditation practices and teachings. The mandala symbol itself is a geometric construction of geometric points, lines, planes and solids which symbolizes our universe. These geometric symbols can be used as a visual meditation tool, called a yantra. Other designs can similarly be used as meditation tools, but may not be mandalas by definition.

Mandalas and all other yantras work as visual meditation points of concentration. Pictured (top) is the sri yantra: sri meaning ‘king’ or ‘most important’. Ancient yogis of India and Tibet considered it to be the most powerful of all geometric symbols, representing the geometric structure of the sound of creation — the Om.

Conversely, a mantra is the audio version of the mandala; an aural meditation tool. Whether the sound of the mantra is a single syllable tone, such as the Om, or a series of metaphysical musings, such as the ancient Gayatri Mantra, mantras are wavy linear expressions of universal connection, voiced as concentrated sound vibrations.

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Why Working Less is Essential for True Wealth and Sustainability

Why Working Less is Essential for True Wealth and Sustainability

17th August 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Consumerism goes hand in hand with the “the good life” — at least according to our contemporary Western culture. Massive advertising, securing the bargain, garage sales and credit cards are simply par for the course and rarely questioned by the average person. Shopping during our lunch hour is a national pastime, we wander outlet malls on vacation, and make online purchases late at night. It’s not just about comfort, our way of living needs to border luxurious. The yardstick of “keeping up with the Joneses” has evolved beyond our neighbors — we’re now competing with the lifestyles of the upper middle class and wealthy. It’s a vicious cycle — and we’re miserable for it. The environment also suffers as our material aspirations climb.

The reasons behind this shift are complex and sobering. But to expect consumerism to disappear altogether is unrealistic. We can’t just shame ourselves into reforming our cultural orientation — although, many have tried. Instead, we can generate true wealth — strong communities, a healthy eco-system, creativity and a sense of connectedness. In short, a self-provisioning, sharing economy.

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Mind Your Own Energy!

Mind Your Own Energy!

10th August 2016

By Lynn Williams

Guest writer for Wake Up World

We are living “batteries” and the energy our minds and bodies generate allows us to create and take action toward those creations. While we do continually generate new energy, at any one moment in time, we have a limited amount of energy to use to create, take action toward our creations or to give to others. After a long day, we feel “drained” and need to sleep to regenerate our energy.

And it is because of the limited amount of energy available to us at any one moment that we need to be mindful of where we focus it. There are so many distractions coming at us at lightening speed through technology, media and people in our lives, that we can expend enormous amounts of energy trying to pay attention to it all, take it in and process it. And often, the things we focus on are of no value to us, do not enhance our lives and simply drain us.

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The Lily of the Field: Transformation Through Natural Intelligence

The Lily of the Field: Transformation Through Natural Intelligence

9th August 2016

By Harry Krueger

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” ~ Zen

The belief that parents are creators of children is one of several false assumptions in the hypnosis of life. This delusion is emotionally sustained by the misunderstood interpretation of the parental instinct.

The parent living under natural law — Intelligence, the mysterious expression of all that exists — knows that their primary role as good stewards (caretakers) is in the protection of the child from cultural predators. The parent who does not live under the guidance of Intelligence and who responds to life’s challenges from their indoctrinated state, believe it their loving duty to train up the child in accordance with their cultural traditions passed down from past generations. There is no freedom in looking at life’s challenges when that seeing is through the lens of past knowledge.

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How Meditating with My Younger Self Changed Me

How Meditating with My Younger Self Changed Me

8th August 2016

By Danielle Benvenuto

Guest writer for Wake Up World

A couple of years ago I began to dive head first into meditation. I found myself exploring a whole new world of possibilities, brought on by books I was reading and my own intuitive experience.

Of course, there are many ways to meditate and what works for one person will not work always for another. The process of learning how to meditate takes time, and that different experiences we go through will call for different techniques. It’s a game of trial and error. We find our way when we are open to what resonates best for our own unique personality and life experience.

That being said, I want to share with you a meditation technique that had a profound effect on my life: meditating with my younger self.

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Color, Paint, Sculpt, Write, Create! Transform Your Life (and Health) With the Power of Art Therapy

Color, Paint, Sculpt, Write, Create! Transform Your Life (and Health) With the Power of Art Therapy

6th August 2016

By Carolanne Wright

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

For over a year, Jan had been traveling the dark road of chronic illness. Once fully of energy, she could barely make it home from work as a math teacher before collapsing into bed. All the life seemed to have drained out of her. She had been to numerous doctors, therapists and alternative health professionals without success. Then a friend gave her a beautifully decorated box for her 46th birthday with the instructions: “Each morning, as soon as you wake, take one of these envelopes to a quiet place with a window onto nature, or a beautiful plant, or a candle. Sit comfortably and read the poem aloud to yourself, preferably more than once.” 

This small — seemingly insignificant — daily ritual was a major turning point in Jan’s healing journey. The end result was life-changing.

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How to Break Out of a Spiritual Rut

How to Break Out of a Spiritual Rut

2nd August 2016

By Open

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

Have you found it yet? The passion that gets you out of bed in the morning all bright eyed and bushy tailed. Have you found the sweet spot, that breaks you out of any rut, and pushes you forward no matter what the difficulty or density?

Passion is the root of purpose — it gives meaning and direction. Why? Because when you’re in your passion, you’re accessing the elixir of life itself — the mainstream of your soul. And the soul instantly connects you to the Source of all Creation — an unlimited potential that constantly fires with new potential and possibility. The One in you is fulfilled, and simultaneously, a streaming bountiful and abundant expression flows from that. That’s why it’s essential you discover your passion…

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Making Any Kind of Art (at Any Skill Level) Reduces Stress Hormones

Making Any Kind of Art (at Any Skill Level) Reduces Stress Hormones

28th July 2016

By April McCarthy

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Whether you’re Van Gogh or a stick-figure sketcher, a new Drexel University study found that making art can significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body.

Although the researchers from Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions believed that past experience in creating art might amplify the activity’s stress-reducing effects, their study found that everyone seems to benefit equally.

“It was surprising and it also wasn’t,” said Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor of creative arts therapies. “It wasn’t surprising because that’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting. That said, I did expect that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience.”

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The “Space Between Stories”

The “Space Between Stories”

25th July 2016

By Lissa Rankin, MD

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Are you feeling lost? Uncertain? Adrift? 

This week, I experienced a trauma that collapsed my story of self, yet a new story has not yet emerged. Charles Eisenstein calls this “the space between stories.” Many of us are in this space between stories right now, when you feel lost, ungrounded, dislocated, as if your roots have been pulled up and you’re not quite sure where to land. Everything you thought you knew — about yourself and the world — is now in question. Even our systems — the medical system, our political systems, the education system, the banking system — they’re in the space between stories too. We know the old way is falling apart, yet the new way has not yet been born.

As Charles writes in The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible: “So please, if you are in the sacred space between stories, allow yourself to be there. It is frightening to lose the old structures of security, but you will find that even as you might lose things that were unthinkable to lose, you will be okay. There is a kind of grace that protects us in the space between stories. It is not that you won’t lose your marriage, your money, your job, or your health. In fact, it is very likely that you will lose one of these things. It is that you will discover that even having lost that, you are still okay. You will find yourself in closer contact to something much more precious, something that fires cannot burn and thieves cannot steal, something that no one can take and cannot be lost.”

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Zero Gravity: Don’t be Afraid to Let Go!

Zero Gravity: Don’t be Afraid to Let Go!

19th July 2016

By Mary C. Batson, MA

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Recent conversations have centered around the seemingly growing chaos we see around the globe. I would suggest that the chaos is not growing, but rather, our conscious awareness of it, and the possibility that more and more dirt is being hidden under fewer and fewer rugs. In other words, no matter what I/you/we/they have attempted to cover up, from the personal to the planetary, political platform or prison, whether yesterday or a thousand years ago, it’s time for a big housecleaning – for revealing and releasing all the ways that don’t work, don’t fit, aren’t sustainable, that we can’t sneak in our pockets past this particular tollbooth, no matter how many times we shuffle our nickels, how im/patiently we wait in line.

In the midst of all the details, the bigger picture can get lost, and it can be easy to forget that, in a sense, the chaos is relative. That is, relative to how attached we are to how things have been, how we think things should be.

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The Psychological Benefits of Daydreaming

The Psychological Benefits of Daydreaming

14th July 2016

By Christina Lavers

Contributing writer for Wake Up World

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes

When we daydream we can lose ourselves in a self-generated flow of consciousness. We can do anything, go anywhere within the privacy of our minds. It is a means to escape the outer world, to face our fears, to entertain ourselves, and to explore our inner world, ideas, and scenarios. But those who like to indulge in reverie are often negatively labelled dreamers, dawdlers, or space cadets.

When we consider that we live in a consumer based, economically driven world that worships productivity and efficiency, it is no wonder that daydreaming has long been portrayed in a negative light. Daydreaming, the act of allowing our thoughts to flow spontaneously without an agenda or particular destination, is generally seen as a lazy habit, a waste of time and a distraction from the things that really matter. Sigmund Freud declared daydreaming to be a sign of mental illness, a neurotic and infantile tendency indulged in by those who were unfulfilled. However, more recent research is suggesting that daydreaming has many important benefits that have long been overlooked.

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Inescapable Initiations on the Sacred Path

Inescapable Initiations on the Sacred Path

22nd June 2016

By Rohil Jethmalani

Guest writer for Wake Up World

For the initiate, spiritual growth is unceasing, non-linear, limitless and not pegged to time. One cannot actually decipher clear stages to spiritual growth; each person’s lessons and karmic debts vary substantially enough not to be able to make overarching claims. Similarly, trends within our own life are never brought into complete clarity for us; we are always one step behind understanding the magical unfolding that is this precious life.

Nevertheless, at an energetic level everyone is challenged and rubbed through similar feelings albeit in different settings. We must all learn to flow through the river of thought, down towards the ocean of silence. Everyone will be presented with the invitation to ignite the heart; the sparks coming off of our painful human disjointedness. One has to pierce through the illusion and ground oneself through feelings of lack, in the quest to manifest abundance. And, when we are ready for strengthening, we must take a huge leap of faith into the abyss of uncertain insecurities.

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