- Issue 96 -

Published by The Conscious Living Foundation

E-mail: CLF@consciouslivingfoundation.org

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The big news in this issue is the formal launch of Conscious Friends.  For quite some time, we have been receiving emails from around the world telling us that as people move further down the path of their personal and spiritual growth, they have an increasing recognition of the need to have spiritual friends with whom they can share their experiences and from whom they can learn.

We all know the tremendous support we give and receive to our brothers and sisters with whom we share the spiritual life.  However, there are many, from all reaches of the globe, who feel a bit isolated because their families and friends may not fully understand or identify with the experiences they are having.

The purpose of Conscious Friends is to provide a virtual community where like-minded people can share and support each other in our quest for growth and awareness.  I'm still contemplating the opportunities inherent in hundreds of deep, loving, wise souls joining together to grow, support and serve.

I hope you'll find time to visit the Conscious Friends pages of our site and see if there is something there for you.  Links are contained in our article, below.

Our newsletter continues with another essay by Ernest Holmes, sharing his thoughts on "Mental Healing".   This article is especially interesting when juxtaposed with a new article entitled "The Spiritual Power of Man's Word for Healing" by Paramahansa Yogananda.

In addition, we're pleased to offer another heart warming essay by Steve Roberts entitled, "Becoming An Elder".  In his new essay, Steve touchingly reflects on the passing of a generation within his family and on the continuing opportunities we have to embrace life and death.

As always, you'll find a new spiritual poem, this one entitled, "Life Is A Gift" and a collection of a few bits of humor designed to help you find that chuckle hiding inside.

As always, we are so grateful to all of you who visit our website, and contribute through your generous donations, purchases, emails and article submissions.  Thank you for letting us share this issue of our newsletter with you. 

William Simpson
Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We respect your time and privacy. If you do not wish to receive these updates, please reply with REMOVE in the subject line.

 

 

   
 

 

Tens of thousands of people visit The Conscious Living Foundation website.  Married or single, male or female, we all appreciate having friends who share our common interest in personal and spiritual growth.  As we learn and mature, many of us have realized that relationships are an important part of creating and maintaining a harmonious and uplifting life. 

To that end, The Conscious Living Foundation is pleased to announce the formal launch of the Conscious Friends section of our website, in the hope that we all can find new like-minded friends, develop deeper relationships and work together to enhance our world.

Conscious Friends offers several excellent features designed to help us communicate with each other, including access to custom created profiles of spiritually oriented people, a wide range of stimulating and thought-provoking forums, public and private chat rooms, instant messaging and our own private and confidential internal email system.

Joined together we can create a world-wide Spirit village, a global community of high-minded individuals who can help uplift and serve each other and all our brothers and sisters in unique and important ways.

We invite you to visit Conscious Friends and see for yourself by clicking Here.

 

Essay:  Mental Healing                                                          by Ernest Holmes                                  
 


Mental healing means mind healing. The possibility of healing physical diseases through the power of right thinking rests entirely on the theory that we are surrounded by an Infinite Mind which reacts to our thought.

That people have been healed through prayer and by faith in all ages, there is no question. But we live in a Universe of Law and Order, and at no time can that Law or Order be broken; therefore, if people have been healed through prayer and faith, it is because they have somewhere contacted a Law which really exists. To suppose that God would heal one man any more readily than another, would be to suppose that God is human and subject to the changing emotions that we ascribe to the human mind. To believe that the Divine Power would operate for one man simply because he asked It to, but would not operate for all, would be to believe in a God more human than man himself. It is very evident, however, that many times people have been healed through prayer; and either God has especially answered them, while He left others to suffer, or else by the act of prayer they have complied with some law. Again, many people have prayed and their prayers have not been answered; yet they have prayed to the best of their ability. Why have some been heard and others not heard? The only possible answer is that some reached a place in their mentality where they believed, while others fell short of this mental attitude. After all, prayer is a certain mental attitude, a certain way of thinking, a certain way of believing. All prayer is mental; some prayers reach a state of belief, while others fall short of that state. This leads us to suppose that the answer to prayer is in the prayer when it is prayed. True prayer stimulates a belief in Good which nothing else can, and often causes the one who prays to rise to a point in mentality where the healing work may be done according to the Law of the Universe, which is a Law of Mind.

We have no objection to any form of healing. Anything that will help to overcome suffering must be good, whether it takes the form of a pill or of a prayer. We do not oppose doctors nor medical practitioners, but gratefully acknowledge the wonderful work that they have done and are doing. We hold no controversy with any one on the subject of healing. We are glad when any one is healed, or helped, by any method. We believe in any and all methods, and know that each has its place in the whole. We know that man's life is a drama which takes place on three planes;—the physical, the mental and the spiritual. We know that each needs to be taken into account. We believe in proper food, proper exercise, proper clothing, proper sanitation and in everything that is real and sensible. We include all and exclude none.

But, while we do not hold arguments with any one, neither will we allow any one to hold controversies with us. We know that man's life, in reality, is spiritual and mental; and that until the thought is healed, no form of cure will be permanent. We will gladly cooperate with any and all; but we will not accept the judgment of any and all. We know that there is a Law higher than the physical, and we seek to use It. We, perhaps, shall not always succeed, but we shall not become discouraged or confused over the issue, but will continue until we arrive.

We understand that health is a mental and not a physical state. We seek to heal men's mentalities, knowing that to the degree in which we are successful we shall also be healing their bodies. We know that to the degree in which we are able to see a perfect man he will appear. We feel that man is really perfect, no matter how he appears; and we seek to uncover that perfection which is within every man's life, for this is healing.

We realize that mental healing must also be spiritual healing, for the two cannot be divorced. We know that a belief in duality has made man sick and that the understanding of Unity alone will heal him. We seek to realize that Unity with God in all our healing work. Every treatment must carry with it a realization of God if it is to be a good treatment.

We are not superstitious about this, but understand that it is necessary since all Life is One. God stands to us for the One Life in which we all live.

A Healing Affirmation:

God within me is mighty to heal.

He heals me of all my diseases and cures me of all.

God within is now healing me of all my infirmities, sickness and pain and is bringing comfort to my soul.

God is my life; I cannot be sick.

I hear the voice of Truth telling me to arise and walk, for I am healed.

I am healed.

(Selection from "The Science of Mind", copyright 1926)


The Conscious Living Foundation has just released its recording of one of Ernest Holmes most famous books, "Creative Mind and Success".  To learn more about the recording and hear several FREE selections on such topics as:

- How to attract friends
- An affirmation on love
- The power of words
     - Old age and opportunity
      - Money as a spiritual idea
                                               - How to know just what to do
                                  - Developing Intuition
                                   - What we will attract

Just click Here.

If you enjoy our inspirational stories and articles, be sure to visit our website for more:
Articles on Personal Growth, Health and Positive Change - Click Here.
Inspiring Stories - Click Here.
Affirmations - Click Here.
Spiritual Poems - Click Here.

 

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News A New Collection of Healthy Bar Soaps

The Conscious Living Foundation is pleased to announce a new collection of healthy bar soaps, "SoapOne" - soap products with spirit.  Available now at a special introductory price.

SoapOne products are designed with harmony and beauty in mind.  One hundred percent vegetable soap with essential oils - the primary ingredients are: Palm Nut Oil, Palm Oil, and Palm Butter.  Our new products are circular in shape and come in four unique flavors:  Allure, Bloom, Reflection and Serenade.  To find out more, click Here.  
 

 

 

 

Essay The Spiritual Power of Man's Word For Healing   by Paramahansa Yogananda
 

Man's word is Spirit in man. Words are sounds occasioned by the vibrations of thoughts. Thoughts are vibrations sent forth by the Ego or Soul. Every word that leaves your mouth ought to be potent with your genuine soul vibration. Words in most people are lifeless because they are automatically put forth into the ether, without being impregnated with soul force. Too much talking, exaggeration or falsehood used in connection with words is just like shooting bullets out of a toy gun, without the gun-powder. That is why the prayers or words of such people do not produce any de­sired definite change in the order of things. Every word you utter you must mean it, i.e., every word you put forth must represent not only Truth, but some of your realized soul force. Words without soul force are husks without the corn.

Words that are saturated with sincerity, con­viction, faith and intuition are just like highly explosive vibration bombs, which when let out, are sure to explode the rocks of difficulties and create the change desired. Avoid speaking un­pleasant words, even though they are true. Words must be intoned according to the convictions with­in. Sincere words or affirmations repeated under­standingly, feelingly and willingly are sure to move the Omnipresent Cosmic Vibratory Force and render you aid in your difficulty. Only appeal to that Force with infinite confidence, casting out all doubt and the spirit of looking for the desired result. If you don't do this, your appealing at­tention is deflected and side-tracked from its ob­jective mark. Besides you cannot sow the vibratory prayer seed in the soil of Cosmic Consciousness and then pick it out every minute to see if it has germinated into the desired result or not.

It should be remembered that there is nothing greater in power than the Cosmic Consciousness or God. The Power of Cosmic Consciousness is greater than the power of your mind or the mind of others. Thus you should seek Its aid alone. But this does not mean that you should make yourself passive, inert or credulous, or that you should minimize the power of your mind. Re­member God helps those that help themselves. He gave you will power, concentration, faith, reason and common sense to help yourself in your bodily or mental afflictions. You must use them all as you seek the Divine help. But remember in using your own will power or common sense to get rid of a difficulty or disease, you must not rely wholly on, or harness yourself solely to, your Ego and thus disconnect yourself from the Divine Force.

Always during affirmations or prayer vibrations feel that you are using your own but God-given power to heal yourself or others. Always believe that it is not God only but yourself also who, as His beloved child, tries to employ His ­given will, reason, etc., to react on the difficult problems of life. A balance must be struck be­tween the old idea of wholly depending on God, and the modern way of sole dependence on the ego.

During the different affirmations, the attitude of the mind should be different, e.g., will affirma­tions should be accompanied by strong will; feel­ing affirmations by devotion; reason affirmations by intelligence and devotion; imagination affirmations by firm fancy and faith. In healing others select that affirmation which is suitable to the cognitive, imaginative, emotional or thoughtful temperament of your patient. In all affirmations the intensity of attention comes first, but con­tinuity and repetition count a great deal, too. Impregnate your affirmations with your devotion, will and faith, intensely and repeatedly, unmindful of the results, which will naturally come as the fruit of your labors.

During the physical curing process, the attention must not be on the disease, which always damps the faith, but on the mind. During mental cures of fear, anger, any bad habit, consciousness of fail­ure, unsuccess, nervousness, etc., the concentration should be on the opposite mental quality, e.g., the cure for fear is culturing the consciousness of brav­ery; of anger-peace; of weakness-strength; of sickness-health.   (Selection from "Scientific Healing Affirmations", copyright 1925)

 


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News:  The Conscious Word is Now Available With A 2 Week FREE Trial
 

The Conscious Word is an email newsletter sent directly to you each day.  Each issue contains an inspirational affirmation designed to help uplift your spirits and support your conscious efforts at personal and spiritual growth and development.

By practicing the affirmation which we email to you, for 3 to 4 minutes a day, you create an effective tool that will help you experience an ongoing positive change in your life. 

We all “know” many things.  However, “knowing” something, in and of itself, does not make it “true” to us.  We can read all about oranges; we can look at pictures of oranges and we can talk to people who have eaten oranges.  But, until we taste the orange ourselves, we do not truly understand the full truth about what an orange is. 

Likewise, we can experience the “truth”, the real nature, of many more subtle and essential concepts by “tasting” them.  One of the capabilities of an affirmation is to provide us with a “taste” of the subject matter of the affirmation.

However, something else is also at work in an affirmation.  One of the secrets of the universe is that when a human believes something is so, it becomes what he or she believes.

Jesus said “Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, `Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea,' it shall be done.  And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”  (Book of Matthew verses 21 and 22)

The key words in this quote are “If ye have faith and doubt not..” and “all things whatsoever ye shall ask believing..”

Jesus is describing this receptivity of the universe to human belief.  However, there are requirements for this belief to be effective.  Jesus says we must have “faith” without doubt and that we must “believe” as we ask.

James Allen’s famous premise “As a man Thinketh, so it is” expresses this same truth.

In essence, when we become utterly convinced of the truth of something, which means we have absolutely no doubts about it, the universe will be molded and shaped to match our conviction.  The challenging part is to find a way to become convinced of something that is not yet actualized.  To cultivate our faith.  This is where affirmations can help.

By taking a thought or collection of thoughts and impressing them deeply upon the mind with persistence and concentration,  a conviction can be cultivated.  Developing our own personal convictions, especially about ourselves, and then deepening and persisting in those convictions is a major key to our health, happiness and success in life.

For More Information and A Two Week Free Trial, Click Here.

Looking for a unique gift for the holidays?  Consider gift subscriptions to The Conscious Word.  For more information, click Here.

 

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News:  Gift Certificates Now Available - Give the gift of Spiritual Inspiration and Renewal
Consider a Gift Certificate from The Conscious Living Foundation.  What better gift to give friends and loved ones than the gift of new hope, inspiration, encouragement and upliftment?  If you are considering buying a gift, why not let your loved ones select something that can genuinely make a difference in their lives?

Your Gift Certificate can be printed out for your personal delivery, or it can be emailed directly.  Our Gift Certificates are available in denominations from $5.00 to $1,000 and every product in our catalog is available for purchase with our CLF Gift Certificates. 

 Click Here for more information.

This time give the gift of a deeper spiritual life and increased personal growth.

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In our attempt to offer new products and services which support your efforts at personal and spiritual growth, The Conscious Living Foundation is now offering for the first time, tours and pilgrimages to various parts of the world.  Our first effort in this direction, is the following collection of escorted tours to India: 
 

Tour No. 1 - Exotic India:

It is impossible not to be astonished by India.   Experience luxurious palaces and romantic desert tents, chauffeurs and rickshaws, colorful bazaars and ancient forts, timeless observatory technology, temples, turbans, tribal dances and regional folk music, historic architecture, Mughal art, exquisite jewelry, sumptuous fabrics, incredible handicrafts, exotic foods, - the culture, the people, the land of Incredible India – it is all there for you to experience on your Exotic India tour! 

Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it.

Visit - DELHI – AGRA – JAIPUR – JODHPUR -MANVAR– DELHI- -KOLKATA  (formerly Calcutta)

The Exotic India escorted tour features 4 and 5 star hotels, to give you a taste of the Raj.

Next Exotic India Escorted Tour:  February 10 - 24, 2007
(We are also planning our next escorted Exotic India tour for the fall of 2007, check back for details.)

For a complete itinerary and details, click Here.
 

Tour No. 2 - Pilgrimage To India - A Journey of the Heart:

Recommended for those who wish to experience the spiritual side of India at it’s best.  Focusing exclusively on reverential visits to the places associated with the great Guru Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda and His spiritual lineage, this journey of the heart takes you to northern India to visit many of the places described in the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. 

You will thrill at seeing the lofty Himalayan mountains and you will blissfully float on the ancient holy Ganges River, but even greater experiences await you!  On this soul-etching pilgrimage, you will soar in gratitude as you take the dust of Babaji’s Cave or sit under the litchi tree where The Master taught on the sacred grounds of Ranchi.  Your heart will know the grandeur of immersion in lofty thoughts of The Great Ones as you visit the spots hallowed by Them, and you will be floating in joy each time you give your heart in stillness to the spiritual vibrations that abound in these holy places. 

If you are wanting a spiritual boost or a new beginning, this journey of the heart is a trip of a lifetime, and for many the pilgrimage experience gives a new perspective on their spiritual life; it is a dream fulfilled for those wanting to say with The Guru ‘…I am hallowed, my body touched that sod.”

Next Pilgrimage:  Jan. 13 - Feb. 10, 2007

NOTE: This fall’s Pilgrimage to India will be very special because it will include an historic event at the
YSS Ranchi Ashram during their Sharad Sangam (Convocation).  An expansive new YSS temple will be inaugurated during the week of classes and festivities.  It is anticipated that at least one of the SRF Board of Directors will be going to India to dedicate the beautiful new temple on the YSS Ranchi Ashram grounds during the Sharad Sangam. 

There are 2, 3 and 4 week itineraries available.  Click Here for details.

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Appeal:  We Depend On Your Donations -

The Conscious Living Foundation's only source of income is your donations and purchase of our products.  If you enjoy our newsletter and website, if you receive inspiration and encouragement from our efforts, we urge you to make a donation to help sustain and grow this work.

By helping us, you are supporting the spiritual growth of the tens of thousands of people from all over the world, who regularly visit our website.

Click Here for more information.  Thank you!

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Essay:  Becoming An Elder           by Steve Roberts                                                               
 

Becoming an Elder

 

By Steve Roberts

CoolMindWarmHeart.com

As of today, my wife and I are officially elders in our immediate family.  With the passing this afternoon of my mother-in-law, 93, whose moniker among her five kids and their kids is Racy Rita, the generation of parents that preceded us is no longer.  Every life event, my experience tells me, is a call to grow evermore love.  I’m not saying I know how it all works, or why, but that nevertheless is my sense of things.  How could it not be inevitable, then, that some of those calls come dressed in irony, anguish and not a little bizarre humor? 

Rita’s transition, a welcome release at the end of a nearly decade-long engagement with Alzheimer’s, occurred in the same week that my beloved, Rita’s youngest child, was diagnosed with what might be a life-ending condition.  We’ll know whether she has cancer before I complete this essay.  Meanwhile, my bride will be in the hospital, hopefully alive and recovering from surgery but nonetheless absent, when her mother is buried next to her dad. 

Whether in modes gruesome or playful, simple or profound, the universe, I find, is relentless in encouraging us to lighten our attachment to how we feel things ought to be.  How we come to hear and follow that encouragement is the story of our life, or lives, if you wish, over countless incarnations.  Since elders are among the touchstones by which we take the measure of our choices, it’s a privilege to know ones who have chosen to be fortified, rather than diminished, by adversity.  In a way that was sometimes unsettling to observe, this is what Rita taught me, and others I’m sure, as she lost her mind.

As it is for most of us, losing her mind was among Rita’s biggest fears.  She cherished academic achievement, the status of intellect, the power of will, the virtue of hard work, the passion to learn, and the guidance of Jesus to do the right thing.  Yet, she also knew the fragility of both life and sanity. 

Rita was in high school when the Depression hit, and not 20 when her dad, proprietor of a women’s haberdashery, died of heart failure, leaving a wife and five daughters.  Somehow, Rita, daughter number two, completed college, the sole sibling to do so.  She became a teacher, eventually teaching English to several generations of boys at St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Despite the scarcity of teaching positions during the Depression, one story goes that Rita landed her first job without even applying.  A neighbor, a local school principal, looking out the window of his home, regularly observed Rita the college student at her bedroom desk burning the late-night oil.  When the principal had a teaching position to fill, he knew just where to find a candidate with the dedication he desired

Rita’s “guy,” as she called her husband, Bill, was cut from similar cloth.  Both of Bill’s parents died within a couple of years of one another when Bill was in his teens, his older brother a student at Harvard, his younger sister at home.  So upon graduating from Boston Latin high school, Bill put aside his college aspirations to assume responsibility for supporting himself and his siblings.  He went to work for the Boston Globe as a fifteen-dollar-a-week copy boy, retiring four decades later as one of the paper’s editors, and, in the process, starting a family with Rita and paying cash for the college education of each of their five children.  Bill’s brother never completed Harvard.  Mental illness intervened, leaving him institutionalized for most of the rest of his life.  Bill himself, husband and father, wrestled with a condition that professionals today call bi-polar, one that is commonly treated with a pill but in Bill’s time led to the sort of electric shock therapy that caused many patients, Bill included, to lose their teeth.  Meanwhile, for years, Bill arose at 4 a.m. to head off to the Globe.  Rita fixed his breakfast, finished grading whatever of her students’ work she hadn’t completed the evening before, did a load of wash, made lunches and breakfasts for her children, then got them and herself off to school.  At promptly 5:30 every weekday afternoon, she would serve her family a full-course dinner, which, fancy as it sounds, was nothing compared to the dinner she served every Sunday after mass.

As their families bloomed, Rita, her four sisters, Bill’s sister, and whatever respective spouses and kids there were, usually lived close enough to one another that someone could barely sneeze without the entire clan gathering to commemorate the event. 

The home of Rita and Bill, to family, friends and all other manner of guests who regularly crossed the threshold, was a home of ideas, opinions and lively tussles over the issues of the day, from the White House to the Red Sox.  There was no greater compliment than to say that someone was smart.  No life was more revered than the life of the mind. 

It was seven years ago—June first, 2000—when Rita began the nursing home phase of her life, the phase that ended today.  A week earlier, the impending move weighing on Bill (Rita unaware for all intents), I spent a few days at their home as housekeeper and companion.  Ordinarily, they both retired for the night at the same time.  One evening, however, an hour earlier than usual, Rita announced that she was worn out and was off to bed.  Bill and I sat at the kitchen table.  He was grateful to share his feelings with Rita out of earshot.  “It’s all terrible right now,” he said.  We’d been talking maybe half-an-hour when Rita reappeared, agitated.  She said she didn’t understand what people wanted from her, that she had been all ready to meet us on the corner, and why did we go off and do something while she was making supper, etcetera, etcetera. 

Bill suggested that maybe it was time for the two of them to go upstairs to bed.  That seemed a good idea to Rita. 

An hour later, as I was washing some dishes, Rita wandered in followed by Bill, his face a shape I’d never seen before, making him look ten years older.  As he spoke I realized his false teeth were out.  His lips and cheeks flapped around vowels and consonants as he said, “Is there something you can do?  She won’t let me sleep.  She keeps talking to me.” 

The only thing I could think to say was, “Rita, would you like to sit with me in the sun room for a while?” 

“Oh sure,” she said.                                         

The sun room, home to many plants of Rita the gifted gardener, was where she and Bill did most of their reading.  Invariably, the day’s Globe and a stack of books sat on a coffee table between two comfortable chairs.  Across the room, their television.

Bill went back to bed and Rita and I watched Masterpiece Theater.  The story was about a village priest in World War II France helping his town deal with Nazi occupation.  One thread of the story was a young boy.  Defying a prohibition, at any hour of the day or night, he broadcast for all to hear on a wind-up record player patriotic French music.  The Nazis eventually captured him and executed him.  As the boy stood before the firing squad, Rita, who had been completely silent throughout the program, said, “That’s just what it’s like for me.”

A month later, I accompanied Bill to visit Rita in her Alzheimer’s residence.  This would be only the second time since Rita left their home that Bill felt able to see her.  It tormented him to have no answer to Rita’s pleas.  “Oh Bill,” she said that day, “we have only a short time left, and I want to spend it with my head on your chest.  You are my love, my dearest friend.  It makes no sense that we are not home together, caring for one another.  When it’s time, I want to go—‘Bing!’—to heaven with you.  Let’s go home, please.”

Two weeks after that, Bill, my wife, plus one of our dearest friends and I visited Rita.  Rita’s home was a fourth floor wing that included a solarium that looked out over the tops of oaks at a Boston neighborhood skyline.  She told us she sometimes came to this room and tried to smash a window so that she could climb out and fly home.  The Big Home, heaven, she meant.  Gritting her teeth and swinging the side of her fist toward the glass, she said, “I go just like this.”

“Now Rita, don’t say that,” Bill said.

“But I do,” Rita said.  “This is no place for me.”  She then stood up and walked over to Bill and began caressing the top of his head with her hand, looking him in the eye and smiling as if to say, “There, there, my Bill, you just don’t understand.”

While Alzheimer’s was the equivalent of a firing squad for Rita, she was much more than a victim up against a wall waiting to die.  The day after she and I watched Masterpiece Theater, Rita accompanied me on an errand by car.  Mostly we just drove around.  The subject of Jesus came up.  Rita said, “I pray to Jesus every day to take me to heaven.”  She paused.  “But so long as he chooses to leave me here I am going to enjoy myself.” 

A monk of my acquaintance has said that the most courageous prayer he knows is: “Lord, change no circumstance in my life; change me.”  Similarly, I know of no greater form of self-love than the commitment to enjoy ourselves.  Its greatness lies in the fact that it is explosive.  The 19th century Hindu swami, Sri Yukteswar, said, “The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all of man’s slavery.”  To truly enjoy our self, then, requires that we surrender our attachment to every single desire.  Alzheimer’s, in my view, is a sacred gift to the human family—to those who live and die with it; to those who know and love them; and to those of us aware that the disease eventually may consume us—because Alzheimer’s demands that either we broaden our perception of what it means to be human, or live in the misery of unfulfilled desire.  I wonder if Rita lived so long with Alzheimer’s because it had so much to teach her, and she, ever the student, ever the lover of Jesus, was willing, despite waves of despair, to stay alive long enough to learn all she could. 

I met Rita on her 62nd birthday, 31 years ago.  I was not ideal son-in-law material for a woman who had spent much of her life mentoring choir boys.  I wore a beard, an earring and carried a purse.  I’d been married and had fathered a son, then 13.  It helped that my alma mater was Amherst (i.e., I was certifiably smart)—but not much.  My wife says that her parents didn’t readily welcome any of their children’s partners.  Over the years, what created a bridge for Rita and Bill as it pertained to me was that their daughter and I were obviously in love, my life story revealed a hunger for learning, and I respected them.  Among the lessons I’ve learned only in hindsight is that nobody can have too many healthy parents, or children for that matter.  What favor, then, that the universe was offering to me a set of parents in their sixties, and to them a son in his thirties!  Absent the complexities of more common parent/child relationships (and, because we each had experienced those complexities, a certain clarity about what wasn’t worth getting excited about), we grew to relish the chance to give one another what all too few children and parents exchange; indeed, what, human to human, may be life’s most precious gift: acceptance.  That evening when Bill and I were at the kitchen table and Rita reappeared from bed, distressed, she was naked except for a camisole.  What is striking to me about the situation was Bill’s lack of discomfort at my presence.  Here was a man of propriety who wasn’t flustered a bit; so seamlessly had we become part of one another’s lives that we both knew that Rita’s nakedness in that moment was irrelevant.  Only love mattered.

Naturally, there came a point when, by any traditional standard, Rita no longer had even flashes of mental acuity.  And yet, there was much going on inside her.  Nonsensical her words may have been to the rational mind, but her tone, cadence and energy was that of a woman coming to terms with the voices she’d been carrying around in her head for much of her life.  Many were the voices of those mind parasites we all are familiar with: unforgiveness, guilt, remorse, blame, inadequacy, judgment and the like.  And some were the voices of her heart: so full of beauty her face glowed as if with the vision of her beloved Jesus.  I’ve wondered on occasion what it is that Rita won’t have to meet again in her next life because, through Alzheimer’s, she let go of her attachment to it in this one.  My experience of Rita is that, as she lost her mind, she grew in awareness beyond ordinary human comprehension of what was sacred.  From that part of her that was accessible to others only heart-to-heart, I felt Rita’s amusement that her shifting priorities included starting every meal with dessert. 

Along the way, Bill became a resident of the nursing home, eventually losing enough of his own mind that he joined Rita in the Alzheimer’s unit, where he died three years ago—Rita, a silent witness in a wheelchair next to his bed.  I didn’t attend Bill’s funeral, spending the morning instead with Rita.  As I often did, I brought her a couple of chocolate donuts.  And also as I often did, I knelt on one knee by the side of her chair so that we might say hello eye-to-eye.  I spoke to her often whenever we were together but I said only things like, “I love you, Rita,” and “I am grateful you are in my life.”  On this day, however, as Bill’s funeral was taking place a few blocks away, I also said, “Today is a celebration of your Bill, Rita.”  At that moment, Rita did something she’d done a few times before.  She leaned forward so that our foreheads touched, and there we remained, in silence, for many minutes. 

Earlier this week, my wife, Dear, and I saw two surgeons, both wonderful—by which I mean professionally competent and human.  The first said that fast growing tumors like that in Dear’s belly were always of concern.  She also said we needed more advice than she could provide, specifically from a surgeon specializing in cancer.  And so the appointment to see surgeon number two was made for the following day.  I mention this chronology because on the way home from that initial meeting it seemed reasonable that the love of my life might die in the foreseeable future.  Curiously, my biggest feeling was relief.  A burden had been lifted: the burden of so much of the nonsense I take seriously—the various ways I distract myself from bringing all the love I can to the moment I’m in.  Too, I felt more deeply the gratitude I always feel whenever I am in Dear’s presence, or am even just thinking of her.  That gratitude, on the ride home, however, included something new—the awareness that, whatever transpired, I was capable of being a loving force in the face of it.  It was as though I had been preparing all our life together for this moment, and I was grateful to feel that I was as ready as I could be to step into a void whose only given was unimaginable loss.

Of course, this could all be horsepatootie and I’m the king of rationalization, but I don’t feel so, not completely anyway.  Why?  Because Dear and I go on more dates than all the celebs in People magazine, and we seldom leave the farm.  And when we do venture forth, often as not it’s in Lucky the pickup and we’re on a date to the feed store for grain.  I’ve been known to put on a tie for such special occasions.

“Never say no to a party,” was a favorite maxim of Rita.  To her, that meant any gathering of friends and family, or any special outing, such as a flower show or an afternoon at Symphony Hall.  To Dear and me, Rita’s adage has come to mean opening ourselves to the sacredness inherent in any event, from a walk to the barn, or the touch of our fingers during the night’s sleep, to the upcoming appointment with the surgeon who will tell us whether Dear has cancer.  Everything can be a date.

Many days have passed since this essay began.  Dear’s operation went well.  “Benign” was the pathology assessment.  Recovery from a large incision the only remaining physical implication.  Sighs of relief far and wide.  Our own relief, Dear’s and mine, is primarily for those many children of the next generation who look upon Dear as an elder of joy and playfulness and love and wisdom—an invaluable nurturer in their lives.  Thankfully, those kids won’t have to grow their own love and wisdom through the loss of Dear in this particular way at this time. 

While Dear’s good health is certainly my preference, the blessing of this event isn’t that we’ve dodged the Grim Reaper or a prolonged illness or anything like that.  The blessing has been how we have grown our love.  Sometimes I feel that the number one request of the universe is simply to be willing to make room for whatever presents itself.  Few life events are richer than those that test that willingness, those that oblige us to shine a fresh light on our choices, distinguishing what is essential from what is important or urgent or merely habitual.  Dear and I, odd as it may sound, were willing to embrace cancer, death, whatever—and all the unknown that came with it.  And we were able to do so, in no small measure, from the example of the many elders we have been privileged to know, relatives and others, who, unbeknownst to them probably, have modeled for us the nobility of meeting heartbreak with grace, or at least trying to. 

Two of them, to be sure, Bill and Rita.  As an English teacher with high standards, married to an editor, it’s no surprise that Rita was an engaging writer, cards and letters mostly.  One of the last coherent messages she wrote to Dear, a brief note, ended with the words, “I love you to the sky…all rosy pink.”  This was probably more than a year before Rita entered the Alzheimer’s residence.  In the interim, Bill, hoping to find a positive way for Rita to help herself through the terror she was experiencing, gave her a journal titled “Count Your Blessings,” and encouraged her to record her thoughts and feelings for her children.  Predictably, the result is both painful and inspiring to read.  The last dated entry was January 10, six months before she left her home for good.  Rita wrote:

It’s a hard time.  I’m very sad.  Sometime people have that I have time at know—time—I’m earn their whase—I’d not time yet (unless you send me to Jesus—) most every think I’m a pest.  I’m (new sent) I could I could go to “Jesus” because I’m a peck hear—I.

Under that paragraph Rita drew two lines then wrote:                                          

I will be better.

Many empty pages later was her final entry, undated:

I will try to do well for Dad and our children.

This is the woman whose death has officially placed upon Dear and me the mantle of elder in our immediate family.  No wonder they say growing old isn’t for sissies.

To find out more about Steve, see examples of his stone sculptures or read a chapter from his book, click Here.

 Steve Roberts is the author of Cool Mind Warm Heart, a collection of essays, stories, and photographs of stone sculptures he builds on his Vermont farm.  He can be found on the web at CoolMindWarmHeart.com and at TheHeartOfTheEarth.com.

If you enjoy our inspirational stories and articles, be sure to visit our website for more:
Articles on Personal Growth, Health and Positive Change - Click Here.
Inspiring Stories - Click Here.

 

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News:  Special Discounts - Buy 1, Second at 1/2 Price -      

If you're considering buying a gift for a friend or loved one, why not select gifts that can genuinely make a difference in their lives?  This time, give books, videos and CDs that will continue to inspire and encourage throughout the year.  To view our entire catalog of products, click Here.

We make buying even easier with our "Second 1/2 Price" special discounts.  Buy any of our selected products at the usual price and buy another great book or CD at 1/2 price.  Click Here to see our great selection of best sellers and favorites.  They include audio versions of your all time favorites, perfect to listen to while driving or exercising.

Deepen your practice of the techniques that bring new joy and hope into your life - and give the gift of a deeper spiritual life and increased personal growth.

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News:  Exploring The Free Downloads Library of The Conscious Living Foundation
 

 

One of the most popular sections of our website is our Free Downloads Library.  It is made up of several sections which are updated on a continuous basis (Click on any underlined words to go directly to that section):

 

New Additions

VideoThe Life of Mahatma Gandhi - (A Video Documentary running over 5 hours, containing excellent archival footage of the entire life of Gandhi.  Not to be missed!)  The Science of Mind - Core Concepts, Becoming A Blessing: Living As If Your Life Makes A Difference, The Koran Today, and Discover The Spirit Within - An Introduction To Raja Yoga Meditation.

 

Spoken Word Audio:   Corrie Ten Boom Sermons,  Sadhana, The Realization of Life by Rabindranath Tagore, The Art of Getting Money by P.T. Barnum, How Meditation Works,  Peace of Mind and Peace on Earth, The Sermon on the Mount of Jesus Christ, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Martin Luther's Defense of His Belief, St. Francis' Sermon to the Birds, Guided Meditation on Awareness of the True Self, and Guided Meditation on the End of Suffering.

 

Spoken Word Audio 

(Lectures, Talks, Sermons, Recorded Comments, Classes and Workshops)

 

Our Spoken Word Audio section currently includes recordings made by Mahatma Gandhi, Rabbi Michael Laitman, Billy Graham, Amee Semple McPherson, Kathryn Kulman, William Simpson, Krishnamurti and The Dalai Lama.

 

In addition, it contains recordings of works such as:  The Book of Proverbs, The Game of Life by Florence Scovel Shin, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A' Kempis, Practicing The Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace Wattles, The Dialogs of St. Catherine of Siena and As a Man Thinketh and Byways To Blessedness by James Allen.

 

Music

(Music and sounds from a variety of sources, styles and historical periods)

 

Our Music and Audio section contain a wide range of musical styles from various historical periods, but all "spiritual" in nature.  They currently include selections from such albums as:  Yoga Heart Healing, MasterPeace, Harmony in Disarray, Siddartha, Hush and Feel, Gospel Music, Tara Mantras, Soul Calls, The Kyoto Connection, Daughter of Love, Dream World, Buddhist Chanting, Songs For The Soul, Mind Sailing, Timeless Vibrations, Heart of the Mother, Yosemite Suite, Connected, The Cosmic Chants of Paramahansa Yogananda, Marti Walker, Hindu Chants, The Reflecting Pool, Winter Snow and Strings and Root Road Flute.

 

Video

(Large variety of films and videos, historic and modern, documentary and talks)

 

Our Video section currently contains:  The Ocean At Dusk - Guided Relaxation, A Biography of Mother Teresa, Meditation and Movement, Imagination Meditation, Laughter Meditation, Music for Meditation and Healing, A CNN Report on the Health Benefits of Meditation, A Biography of Mary Baker Eddy, A Man of God - An Interview with Leonard Ravenhill, Paramahansa Yogananda & Sri Yukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda & Ramana Maharshi, Paramahansa Yogananda at Mt. Washington, Paramahansa Yogananda on a Walk In New York, Paramahansa Yogananda Demonstrating How To Sleep, Krishnamurti Talks on Freedom, Krishnamurti Talks on Life and Death, Krishnamurti  Talks on Meditation and Krishnamurti Talks on World Suffering.

 

Still Images

(Nature Pictures, Saints, Sages, Gurus, Mandalas, Chakras, Fine Art)

 

Our collection of pictures is too large to list in detail, but we promise that you will browse for quite some time in order to see them all.

 

Complete Audio Classics

(Complete Plays, Radio Dramatizations, Books Read Aloud

and Stories To Entertain The Entire Family

- With a special collection for children)

 

Our audio classics are dramatic portrayals designed to primarily entertain, but with wholesome content that expresses positive values and that are suitable for the entire family to experience together.  They include such titles as:

 

The Importance of Being Earnest, Treasure Island, A Tale of Two Cities, War of the Worlds, Abraham Lincoln, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Immortal Sherlock Holmes, Around The World In 80 Days, Pickwick Papers, Julius Caesar and Jane Eyre.

 

In addition, there is a special Children's Section containing dramatizations and readings especially created for younger children.  They include such titles as:  The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Jack and The Bean Stalk, Puss and Boots, Blue Beard, Thumbelina, Cinderella, Twas the Night Before Christmas, Snowdrop and the 7 Dwarves, Robin Hood, The Golden Fleece, Beauty and The Beast, Rapunzel, King Arthur, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Magic Carpet and many, many more!

 

Wall Paper

(Large Beautiful Pictures with Inspirational Quotes Suitable To Place on The Background of Your Computer Desktop or Screensaver Program.)

 

The images in this section of the newsletter are a few of the selections contained in our Wall Paper Download Library.  To read the inspirational inscriptions, visit us by clicking "Wall Paper" above.

 


 

Let's share the gifts for which we are most grateful:
 joy, wisdom, love and the means to increase them in our lives. 
Click Here for our special discounts.

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Affirmation:  (Selection from The Conscious Word)                     

Divine love

          Expressing through me,

          Now draws to me

          All that is needed

         To make me happy

          And my life complete.

(The preceding is a selection from our daily affirmation, emailed directly to you each morning, called The Conscious Word. You can obtain more information by clicking Here.)

For a collection of affirmations, click Here.
For a large variety of inspiring quotations, click Here.

 

 

 

 

For a collection of affirmations, click Here.
For a large variety of inspiring quotations, click Here.

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News:  Gurutej - Kundalini Yoga Video Collection

For thousands of years in India, the sacred science and technology of Kundalini Yoga was veiled in heavy secrecy. Knowledge was shared verbally from master to chosen disciple. 

“Yoga” means integration or union of the soul with the Cosmos or a Supreme Being.

Yoga comes in many forms specifically designed to suit different kinds of people. As the yoga of awareness, Kundalini is an ancient, specific system using posture-exercises, breathing and sound. 

Practicing it integrates and balances body, mind and spirit. Kundalini, known as the seat of all knowledge, is one of the few yoga practices which is practical and easily incorporated into everyday life, regardless of your beliefs, philosophy or religion.

To learn more about:
- Kundalini Yoga For Mental Clarity
- Kundalini Yoga For The Immune System
- Kundalini Yoga Awakening Intuition For Women
- Kundalini Yoga For Balanced Chakras
Click
Here

 

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Let's share the gifts for which we are most grateful:
 joy, wisdom, love and the means to increase them in our lives. 
Click Here for our special discounts.

Humor:     


A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?"

One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

 

Some Yogi jokes:

What did the Yogi say when he walked into the Zen Pizza Parlor?
"Make me one with everything."

When the Yogi got the pizza, he gave the proprietor a $20 bill. The proprietor pocketed the bill. The Yogi said "Don't I get change?" The proprietor said, "Change must come from within."

Did you hear about the yogi who was having a filling put in a tooth. When the dentist asked him if he wanted Novocain. The yogi said "No. I can transcend dental medication."

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News:  Conscious Money Circulation "Abundant Blessings"
 

Would you like to have a greater feeling of being in the flow of abundance?   Is the activity of paying your bills a time of stress and anxiety for you?  The meditation, affirmations and background music on this CD were created to provide an uplifting and expansive experience of abundance and prosperity while paying bills.

Abundant Blessings © contains a meditation and affirmations for Conscious Money circulation. The meditation guides you within, to a place of centered calm. Affirmations of abundance and gratitude play in the background while you pay your bills or any time that you would like to be uplifted.

Play this CD and transform the mundane into the miraculous as you pay bills with gratitude and JOY!

To find out more about Abundant Blessings, click Here.

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News:  Destiny Designer - A Practical Aid To Organize Your Life
 

Even when we read spiritual books; even when we exercise; even when we practice affirmations and positive thinking;
even when we pray and meditate - it is not enough until we undertake these actions - consistently every day.  If we aren't organized, we aren't committed.


Virtually all organized, responsible business professionals carry them. They are essential.  They are the omnipresent symbols of our busy, complicated lives. They are, of course…day planners. And until now they have performed just two functions, where to be or what to do next: the next meeting, the next event, the next task, the next party, the next phone call...

Now there is the Destiny Designer,™ a breakthrough personal calendar/planner that demands your focus on enhancing the fullness and richness of your life as much as it does managing your daily routine. If you use this one-of-a-kind tool every day, you will create the life you most passionately desire!

In our busy lives we often do that which screams for our attention first, not what truly moves our lives forward in a real and fulfilling way. Destiny Designer™ is designed to keep you centered on what is actually important in your life - not merely what you must get done in your profession.  Find Out More - Click Here.

 

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A Poem by William Simpson -

                                                                        

Life Is A Gift                                    

 This life is a gift

Measured in time.

 

Our great freedom

Lies in deciding

What to do

With that which is given.

 

Many choose to toil and struggle,

Laboring with indentured diligent drudgery

Straining and stressing

Striving and scratching.

 

Most think this must be done

By necessity – an essential inevitability

Enslaved by a lack of curiosity

We work ourselves till death -

Forgetting there was a choice.

 

Some choose to share their life,

Friendship flowering, fondness becoming devotion,

Life-mates blossoming to children.

Each birth the dawn of another awakening

Another prescription for insight and growth –

Unfolding love, dedication and commitment.

 

Many think this should be done

Out of obligation – an agreement of constraint

A debt and deference

Owed to the assumptions and expectations

Of the preceding generation -

But secretly discovering the gratification of family.

 

A few choose to aimlessly drift,

Vagrant playing to no point,

Shiftlessly craving self-gratifying pleasure

Convinced that heightening titillation

Will comfortably obscure a gnawing unease.

 

Few think this should be done

Bound in juvenile capriciousness

An instrument without a purpose

forfeited to emotionless indifferent obscurity –

Atoning with a grave price.


 

 

If our span of years

Is written exactly,

And we live

Till we die,

Then the time between

Is solely an expression of

The nature within.

 

The gift is given

We breathe and move.

Every minute and hour

Irretrievably penetrates our mortal animation.

 

Our great freedom

Lies in deciding

What to do

With that which is given.

 

This life is a gift

Measured in time.

 

(From the collection, "From The Path - Verses On The Mystic Journey" click Here for more)

Copyright 2004 by The Conscious Living Foundation, All Rights Reserved

Let's share the gifts for which we are most grateful:
 joy, wisdom, love and the means to increase them in our lives. 
Click Here for our special discounts.


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News:  Two New Music CDs:  "Soul Calls" and "Yoga Heart Healing"

 

Spirituality is a quiet inner quality that eclipses all boundaries of land, caste, profession, and religion, - and it manifests in many ways. For those whose spirituality seeks an ever deepening personal peace, the music of the SOUL CALLS provides a peaceful, soothing vibrational environment for the heart and mind of the listener. For those who are actively engaged in the interior life of loving God, the lyrics of the SOUL CALLS affirm the longing for and the presence of the Divine Beloved. Touching the heart of the peace-giver, the spiritual seeker and the devotee alike, the SOUL CALLS take the consciousness within ~ to the place of peace.   Click Here
 

 

 

 

YOGA HEART HEALING was created from the need to heal Anahata, the fourth chakra, considered the seat of universal love.   Anahata is the color green.  Our recording was created to support your practice of yoga, massage and other nurturing and healing activities.

 

Inspired by Dharma teachings from both Hindu and Buddhist wisdom, Yoga Heart Healing will open your heart chakra with its rich vibrant textures of soothing melodic transitions.  - just click Here!

  

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Affirmations are positive thought-seeds that can germinate in your conscious and unconscious mind, bearing the fruit of cheerfulness, confidence, good health and vigor.

Practicing affirmations is a way of selecting a statement of truth and then placing it deep within our consciousness so that the truth contained within it, becomes internalized and genuine to us.

When we become utterly convinced of the truth of something, which means we have absolutely no doubts about it, the universe will be molded and shaped to match our conviction.  The challenging part is to find a way to become convinced of something that is not yet actualized.  To cultivate our faith.  This is where affirmations can help.

By taking a thought or collection of thoughts and impressing them deeply upon the mind with persistence and concentration, a conviction can be cultivated.  Developing our own personal convictions, especially about ourselves, and then deepening and persisting in those convictions is a major key to our health, happiness and success in life.

The process of how to practice an affirmation is simple.  Affirmations are designed to be practiced with complete concentration and are not created to be practiced while performing other tasks.  To get the best results, set aside time, even if only 2 or 3 minutes a day, to sit down, close your eyes, gently focus the attention at the point between the eyebrows and practice your affirmation in a quiet place without distractions.  The more often you practice, the deeper will be the results.

The more calm and relaxed you are prior to beginning your practice, the more effective your practice of the affirmation will be.  If you have time, take a short walk before beginning, or take few deep breaths to relax and slow down.  Relax and calm the mind.  Just for these few minutes, let all thoughts of the outer world and your daily responsibilities fall away.


Begin by speaking the affirmation out loud.  Speak slowly and with complete awareness on the meaning of the words.  As you continue to repeat the affirmation, speak more and more softly and slowly.  Eventually, continue to repeat the affirmation mentally rather than vocally.  If you can memorize the affirmation, then close your eyes during this practice, when it feels natural to do so.

Let the affirmation go deeper and deeper into your mind.  It is essential that you try to experience the feelings you would feel if the affirmation were true.  Allow the affirmation’s truth to be absorbed in your every atom.  “Feeling” is the key.

The words themselves are merely a bridge from your mind to your inner self.  The inner self finds its conviction through feeling the truth of the words.

At the conclusion of your practice, allow yourself at least 60 seconds, to just sit comfortably with your eyes closed, without repeating the affirmation, and just bathe yourself in the glow of well-being which you will discover.  Try to absorb that glow into every cell of your body.  This experience alone can be very energizing, healing and life changing.

Each day you will receive a new affirmation designed to support your improved health, prosperity, success, self-esteem, cheerfulness, positive attitude and sense of connection with God. Some are short – and some are longer, but all are created to support you in your continued growth.

Especially good times to practice are in the morning, just after waking and at night, just before going to sleep.  We hope that your practice of affirmations will bring you an ever increasing sense of happiness and well-being.

 

 (The preceding is a selection from our daily affirmation, emailed directly to you each morning, called The Conscious Word.  You can obtain more information by clicking Here.) 

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News:  New Audio CD - Embracing The Stillness - Lessons In Meditation

 
Embracing The Stillness is a collection of meditation techniques explained and practiced with the Director of The Conscious Living Foundation, William Simpson.

It contains the following tracks:

  1. Discovering The Purpose of Our Lives  (2:29)
  2. How To Meditate  (3:22)
  3. Meditation on a Devotional Phrase  (11:01)
  4. Affirmation for Relaxation and Happiness  (6:45)
  5. Learning the Technique of Meditating on Om  (5:46)
  6. Meditation on Chanting Om  (6:25)
  7. Affirmation for Health, Wealth and Wisdom  (8:28)
  8. Sitting in the Stillness  (3:31)
  9. Affirmation for Perfection, Immortality and Light  (11:25)
  10. Visualization and Prayer for Others  (2:44)
  11. What We Believe  (1:31)

"There is an essential part of our being which exists beyond thought and feeling - pure awareness.  When we can remain present, alert and calm, we discover the fertile ground upon which we can plant the seeds of immediate growth, positive change and joy". 

William Simpson -
from "Embracing The Stillness"

To hear some sample selections from this new recording, click Here.

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Let's share the gifts for which we are most grateful:
 joy, wisdom, love and the means to increase them in our lives. 
Click Here for our special discounts.

 

Essay:  The Relation of the Individual To The Universe   by Rabindranath Tagore
                      
 

The civilization of ancient Greece was nurtured within city
walls. In fact, all the modern civilizations have their cradles
of brick and mortar.

These walls leave their mark deep in the minds of men. They set
up a principle of "divide and rule" in our mental outlook, which
begets in us a habit of securing all our conquests by fortifying
them and separating them from one another. We divide nation and
nation, knowledge and knowledge, man and nature. It breeds in us
a strong suspicion of whatever is beyond the barriers we have
built, and everything has to fight hard for its entrance into our
recognition.

When the first Aryan invaders appeared in India it was a vast
land of forests, and the new-comers rapidly took advantage of
them. These forests afforded them shelter from the fierce heat
of the sun and the ravages of tropical storms, pastures for
cattle, fuel for sacrificial fire, and materials for building
cottages. And the different Aryan clans with their patriarchal
heads settled in the different forest tracts which had some
special advantage of natural protection, and food and water in
plenty.

Thus in India it was in the forests that our civilization had its
birth, and it took a distinct character from this origin and
environment. It was surrounded by the vast life of nature, was
fed and clothed by her, and had the closest and most constant
intercourse with her varying aspects.

Such a life, it may be thought, tends to have the effect of
dulling human intelligence and dwarfing the incentives to
progress by lowering the standards of existence. But in ancient
India we find that the circumstances of forest life did not
overcome man's mind, and did not enfeeble the current of his
energies, but only gave to it a particular direction. Having
been in constant contact with the living growth of nature, his
mind was free from the desire to extend his dominion by erecting
boundary walls around his acquisitions. His aim was not to
acquire but to realize, to enlarge his consciousness by growing
with and growing into his surroundings. He felt that truth is
all-comprehensive, that there is no such thing as absolute
isolation in existence, and the only way of attaining truth is
through the interpenetration of our being into all objects. To
realize this great harmony between man's spirit and the spirit of
the world was the endeavor of the forest-dwelling sages of
ancient India.

In later days there came a time when these primeval forests gave
way to cultivated fields, and wealthy cities sprang up on all
sides. Mighty kingdoms were established, which had
communications with all the great powers of the world. But even
in the heyday of its material prosperity the heart of India ever
looked back with adoration upon the early ideal of strenuous
self-realization, and the dignity of the simple life of the
forest hermitage, and drew its best inspiration from the wisdom
stored there.

The west seems to take a pride in thinking that it is subduing
nature; as if we are living in a hostile world where we have to
wrest everything we want from an unwilling and alien arrangement
of things. This sentiment is the product of the city-wall habit
and training of mind. For in the city life man naturally directs
the concentrated light of his mental vision upon his own life and
works, and this creates an artificial dissociation between
himself and the Universal Nature within whose bosom he lies.

But in India the point of view was different; it included the
world with the man as one great truth. India put all her
emphasis on the harmony that exists between the individual and
the universal. She felt we could have no communication whatever
with our surroundings if they were absolutely foreign to us.
Man's complaint against nature is that he has to acquire most of
his necessaries by his own efforts. Yes, but his efforts are not
in vain; he is reaping success every day, and that shows there is
a rational connection between him and nature, for we never can
make anything our own except that which is truly related to us.

We can look upon a road from two different points of view. One
regards it as dividing us from the object of our desire; in that
case we count every step of our journey over it as something
attained by force in the face of obstruction. The other sees it
as the road which leads us to our destination; and as such it is
part of our goal. It is already the beginning of our attainment,
and by journeying over it we can only gain that which in itself
it offers to us. This last point of view is that of India with
regard to nature. For her, the great fact is that we are in
harmony with nature; that man can think because his thoughts are
in harmony with things; that he can use the forces of nature for
his own purpose only because his power is in harmony with the
power which is universal, and that in the long run his purpose
never can knock against the purpose which works through nature.

In the west the prevalent feeling is that nature belongs
exclusively to inanimate things and to beasts, that there is a
sudden unaccountable break where human-nature begins. According
to it, everything that is low in the scale of beings is merely
nature, and whatever has the stamp of perfection on it,
intellectual or moral, is human-nature. It is like dividing the
bud and the blossom into two separate categories, and putting
their grace to the credit of two different and antithetical
principles. But the Indian mind never has any hesitation in
acknowledging its kinship with nature, its unbroken relation with
all.

The fundamental unity of creation was not simply a philosophical
speculation for India; it was her life-object to realise this
great harmony in feeling and in action. With mediation and
service, with a regulation of life, she cultivated her
consciousness in such a way that everything had a spiritual
meaning to her. The earth, water and light, fruits and flowers,
to her were not merely physical phenomena to be turned to use and
then left aside. They were necessary to her in the attainment of
her ideal of perfection, as every note is necessary to the
completeness of the symphony. India intuitively felt that the
essential fact of this world has a vital meaning for us; we have
to be fully alive to it and establish a conscious relation with
it, not merely impelled by scientific curiosity or greed of
material advantage, but realising it in the spirit of sympathy,
with a large feeling of joy and peace.

The man of science knows, in one aspect, that the world is not
merely what it appears to be to our senses; he knows that earth
and water are really the play of forces that manifest themselves
to us as earth and water--how, we can but partially apprehend.
Likewise the man who has his spiritual eyes open knows that the
ultimate truth about earth and water lies in our apprehension of
the eternal will which works in time and takes shape in the
forces we realise under those aspects. This is not mere
knowledge, as science is, but it is a preception of the soul by
the soul. This does not lead us to power, as knowledge does, but
it gives us joy, which is the product of the union of kindred
things. The man whose acquaintance with the world does not lead
him deeper than science leads him, will never understand what it
is that the man with the spiritual vision finds in these natural
phenomena. The water does not merely cleanse his limbs, but it
purifies his heart; for it touches his soul. The earth does not
merely hold his body, but it gladdens his mind; for its contact
is more than a physical contact--it is a living presence. When a
man does not realise his kinship with the world, he lives in a
prison-house whose walls are alien to him. When he meets the
eternal spirit in all objects, then is he emancipated, for then
he discovers the fullest significance of the world into which he
is born; then he finds himself in perfect truth, and his harmony
with the all is established. In India men are enjoined to be
fully awake to the fact that they are in the closest relation to
things around them, body and soul, and that they are to hail the
morning sun, the flowing water, the fruitful earth, as the
manifestation of the same living truth which holds them in its
embrace. Thus the text of our everyday meditation is the
_Gayathri_, a verse which is considered to be the epitome of all
the Vedas. By its help we try to realise the essential unity of
the world with the conscious soul of man; we learn to perceive
the unity held together by the one Eternal Spirit, whose power
creates the earth, the sky, and the stars, and at the same time
irradiates our minds with the light of a consciousness that moves
and exists in unbroken continuity with the outer world.

It is not true that India has tried to ignore differences of
value in different things, for she knows that would make life
impossible. The sense of the superiority of man in the scale of
creation has not been absent from her mind. But she has had her
own idea as to that in which his superiority really consists. It
is not in the power of possession but in the power of union.
Therefore India chose her places of pilgrimage wherever there was
in nature some special grandeur or beauty, so that her mind could
come out of its world of narrow necessities and realise its place
in the infinite. This was the reason why in India a whole
people who once were meat-eaters gave up taking animal food to
cultivate the sentiment of universal sympathy for life, an event
unique in the history of mankind.

India knew that when by physical and mental barriers we violently
detach ourselves from the inexhaustible life of nature; when we
become merely man, but not man-in-the-universe, we create
bewildering problems, and having shut off the source of their
solution, we try all kinds of artificial methods each of which
brings its own crop of interminable difficulties. When man
leaves his resting-place in universal nature, when he walks on
the single rope of humanity, it means either a dance or a fall
for him, he has ceaselessly to strain every nerve and muscle to
keep his balance at each step, and then, in the intervals of his
weariness, he fulminates against Providence and feels a secret
pride and satisfaction in thinking that he has been unfairly
dealt with by the whole scheme of things.

But this cannot go on for ever. Man must realise the wholeness
of his existence, his place in the infinite; he must know that
hard as he may strive he can never create his honey within the
cells of his hive; for the perennial supply of his life food is
outside their walls. He must know that when man shuts himself
out from the vitalising and purifying touch of the infinite, and
falls back upon himself for his sustenance and his healing, then
he goads himself into madness, tears himself into shreds, and
eats his own substance. Deprived of the background of the whole,
his poverty loses its one great quality, which is simplicity, and
becomes squalid and shamefaced. His wealth is no longer
magnanimous; it grows merely extravagant. His appetites do not
minister to his life, keeping to the limits of their purpose;
they become an end in themselves and set fire to his life and
play the fiddle in the lurid light of the conflagration. Then it
is that in our self-expression we try to startle and not to
attract; in art we strive for originality and lose sight of truth
which is old and yet ever new; in literature we miss the complete
view of man which is simple and yet great, but he appears as a
psychological problem or the embodiment of a passion that is
intense because abnormal and because exhibited in the glare of a
fiercely emphatic light which is artificial. When man's
consciousness is restricted only to the immediate vicinity of his
human self, the deeper roots of his nature do not find their
permanent soil, his spirit is ever on the brink of starvation,
and in the place of healthful strength he substitutes rounds of
stimulation. Then it is that man misses his inner perspective
and measures his greatness by its bulk and not by its vital link
with the infinite, judges his activity by its movement and not by
the repose of perfection--the repose which is in the starry
heavens, in the ever-flowing rhythmic dance of creation.

The first invasion of India has its exact parallel in the
invasion of America by the European settlers. They also were
confronted with primeval forests and a fierce struggle with
aboriginal races. But this struggle between man and man, and man
and nature lasted till the very end; they never came to any
terms. In India the forests which were the habitation of the
barbarians became the sanctuary of sages, but in America these
great living cathedrals of nature had no deeper significance to
man. The brought wealth and power to him, and perhaps at times
they ministered to his enjoyment of beauty, and inspired a
solitary poet. They never acquired a sacred association in the
hearts of men as the site of some great spiritual reconcilement
where man's soul has its meeting-place with the soul of the
world.

I do not for a moment wish to suggest that these things should
have been otherwise. It would be an utter waste of opportunities
if history were to repeat itself exactly in the same manner in
every place. It is best for the commerce of the spirit that
people differently situated should bring their different products
into the market of humanity, each of which is complementary and
necessary to the others. All that I wish to say is that India at
the outset of her career met with a special combination of
circumstances which was not lost upon her. She had, according to
her opportunities, thought and pondered, striven and suffered,
dived into the depths of existence, and achieved something which
surely cannot be without its value to people whose evolution in
history took a different way altogether. Man for his perfect
growth requires all the living elements that constitute his
complex life; that is why his food has to be cultivated in
different fields and brought from different sources.

Civilisation is a kind of mould that each nation is busy making
for itself to shape its men and women according to its best
ideal. All its institutions, its legislature, its standard of
approbation and condemnation, its conscious and unconscious
teachings tend toward that object. The modern civilisation of
the west, by all its organised efforts, is trying to turn out men
perfect in physical, intellectual, and moral efficiency. There
the vast energies of the nations are employed in extending man's
power over his surroundings, and people are combining and
straining every faculty to possess and to turn to account all
that they can lay their hands upon, to overcome every obstacle on
their path of conquest. They are ever disciplining themselves to
fight nature and other races; their armaments are getting more
and more stupendous every day; their machines, their appliances,
their organisations go on multiplying at an amazing rate. This
is a splendid achievement, no doubt, and a wonderful
manifestation of man's masterfulness which knows no obstacle, and
which has for its object the supremacy of himself over everything
else.

The ancient civilisation of India had its own ideal of perfection
towards which its efforts were directed. Its aim was not
attaining power, and it neglected to cultivate to the utmost its
capacities, and to organise men for defensive and offensive
purposes, for co-operation in the acquisition of wealth and for
military and political ascendancy. The ideal that India tried to
realise led her best men to the isolation of a contemplative
life, and the treasures that she gained for mankind by
penetrating into the mysteries of reality cost her dear in the
sphere of worldly success. Yet, this also was a sublime
achievement,--it was a supreme manifestation of that human
aspiration which knows no limit, and which has for its object
nothing less than the realisation of the Infinite.

There were the virtuous, the wise, the courageous; there were the
statesmen, kings and emperors of India; but whom amongst all
these classes did she look up to and choose to be the
representative of men?

They were the rishis. What were the rishis? _They who having
attained the supreme soul in knowledge were filled with wisdom,
and having found him in union with the soul were in perfect
harmony with the inner self; they having realised him in the
heart were free from all selfish desires, and having experienced
him in all the activities of the world, had attained calmness.
The rishis were they who having reached the supreme God from all
sides had found abiding peace, had become united with all, had
entered into the life of the Universe.

Thus the state of realising our relationship with all, of
entering into everything through union with God, was considered
in India to be the ultimate end and fulfilment of humanity.

Man can destroy and plunder, earn and accumulate, invent and
discover, but he is great because his soul comprehends all. It
is dire destruction for him when he envelopes his soul in a dead
shell of callous habits, and when a blind fury of works whirls
round him like an eddying dust storm, shutting out the horizon.
That indeed kills the very spirit of his being, which is the
spirit of comprehension. Essentially man is not a slave either
of himself or of the world; but he is a lover. His freedom and
fulfilment is in love, which is another name for perfect
comprehension. By this power of comprehension, this permeation
of his being, he is united with the all-pervading Spirit, who is
also the breath of his soul. Where a man tries to raise himself
to eminence by pushing and jostling all others, to achieve a
distinction by which he prides himself to be more than everybody
else, there he is alienated from that Spirit. This is why the
Upanishads describe those who have attained the goal of human
life as "_peaceful_" and as "_at-one-with-
God_," meaning that they are in perfect harmony with man and nature,
and therefore in undisturbed union with God.

We have a glimpse of the same truth in the teachings of Jesus
when he says, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye
of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven"--
which implies that whatever we treasure for ourselves separates
us from others; our possessions are our limitations. He who is
bent upon accumulating riches is unable, with his ego continually
bulging, to pass through the gates of comprehension of the
spiritual world, which is the world of perfect harmony; he is
shut up within the narrow walls of his limited acquisitions.

Hence the spirit of the teachings of Upanishad is: In order to
find him you must embrace all. In the pursuit of wealth you
really give up everything to gain a few things, and that is not
the way to attain him who is completeness.

Some modern philosophers of Europe, who are directly or
indirectly indebted to the Upanishads, far from realising their
debt, maintain that the Brahma of India is a mere abstraction, a
negation of all that is in the world. In a word, that the
Infinite Being is to be found nowhere except in metaphysics. It
may be, that such a doctrine has been and still is prevalent with
a section of our countrymen. But this is certainly not in accord
with the pervading spirit of the Indian mind. Instead, it is the
practice of realising and affirming the presence of the infinite
in all things which has been its constant inspiration.

We are enjoined to see _whatever there is in the world as being
enveloped by God.__I bow to God over and over again who is in
fire and in water, who
permeates the whole world, who is in the annual crops as well as
in the perennial trees.

Can this be God abstracted from the world? Instead, it signifies
not merely seeing him in all things, but saluting him in all the
objects of the world. The attitude of the God-conscious man of
the Upanishad towards the universe is one of a deep feeling of
adoration. His object of worship is present everywhere. It is
the one living truth that makes all realities true. This truth
is not only of knowledge but of devotion. '_Namonamah_,'--we bow
to him everywhere, and over and over again. It is recognised in
the outburst of the Rishi, who addresses the whole world in a
sudden ecstasy of joy: _Listen to me, ye sons of the immortal
spirit, ye who live in the heavenly abode, I have known the
Supreme Person whose light shines forth from beyond the darkness._
Do we not find the overwhelming delight of a direct
and positive experience where there is not the least trace of
vagueness or passivity?

Buddha who developed the practical side of the teaching of
Upanishads, preached the same message when he said, _With
everything, whether it is above or below, remote or near, visible
or invisible, thou shalt preserve a relation of unlimited love
without any animosity or without a desire to kill. To live in
such a consciousness while standing or walking, sitting or lying
down till you are asleep, is Brahma vihara, or, in other words,
is living and moving and having your joy in the spirit of
Brahma._

What is that spirit? The Upanishad says, _The being who is in
his essence the light and life of all, who is world-conscious, is
Brahma._ To feel all, to be conscious of
everything, is his spirit. We are immersed in his consciousness
body and soul. It is through his consciousness that the sun
attracts the earth; it is through his consciousness that the
light-waves are being transmitted from planet to planet.

Not only in space, but _this light and life, this all-feeling
being is in our souls._  He is all-conscious
in space, or the world of extension; and he is all-conscious in
soul, or the world of intension.

Thus to attain our world-consciousness, we have to unite our
feeling with this all-pervasive infinite feeling. In fact, the
only true human progress is coincident with this widening of the
range of feeling. All our poetry, philosophy, science, art and
religion are serving to extend the scope of our consciousness
towards higher and larger spheres. Man does not acquire rights
through occupation of larger space, nor through external conduct,
but his rights extend only so far as he is real, and his reality
is measured by the scope of his consciousness.

We have, however, to pay a price for this attainment of the
freedom of consciousness. What is the price? It is to give
one's self away. Our soul can realise itself truly only by
denying itself. The Upanishad says, _Thou shalt gain by giving
away_ , _Thou shalt not covet._

In Gita we are advised to work disinterestedly, abandoning all
lust for the result. Many outsiders conclude from this teaching
that the conception of the world as something unreal lies at the
root of the so-called disinterestedness preached in India. But
the reverse is true.

The man who aims at his own aggrandisement underrates everything
else. Compared to his ego the rest of the world is unreal. Thus
in order to be fully conscious of the reality of all, one has to
be free himself from the bonds of personal desires. This
discipline we have to go through to prepare ourselves for our
social duties--for sharing the burdens of our fellow-beings.
Every endeavour to attain a larger life requires of man "to gain
by giving away, and not to be greedy." And thus to expand
gradually the consciousness of one's unity with all is the
striving of humanity.

The Infinite in India was not a thin nonentity, void of all
content. The Rishis of India asserted emphatically, "To know him
in this life is to be true; not to know him in this life is the
desolation of death."  Not only in nature but in the family, in
society, and in the state, the more we realise the World-
conscious in all, the better for us. Failing to realise it, we
turn our faces to destruction.

It fills me with great joy and a high hope for the future of
humanity when I realise that there was a time in the remote past
when our poet-prophets stood under the lavish sunshine of an
Indian sky and greeted the world with the glad recognition of
kindred. It was not an anthropomorphic hallucination. It was
not seeing man reflected everywhere in grotesquely exaggerated
images, and witnessing the human drama acted on a gigantic scale
in nature's arena of flitting lights and shadows. On the
contrary, it meant crossing the limiting barriers of the
individual, to become more than man, to become one with the All.
It was not a mere play of the imagination, but it was the
liberation of consciousness from all the mystifications and
exaggerations of the self. These ancient seers felt in the
serene depth of their mind that the same energy which vibrates
and passes into the endless forms of the world manifests itself
in our inner being as consciousness; and there is no break in
unity. For these seers there was no gap in their luminous vision
of perfection. They never acknowledged even death itself as
creating a chasm in the field of reality. They said, _His
reflection is death as well as immortality._  They did not recognise any
essential opposition between life and death, and they said with
absolute assurance, "It is life that is death." [Footnote: Prano
mrityuh.] They saluted with the same serenity of gladness "life
in its aspect of appearing and in its aspect of departure"--
_That which is past is hidden in life, and that which is to come._
They knew that mere appearance and disappearance are
on the surface like waves on the sea, but life which is permanent
knows no decay or diminution.

_Everything has sprung from immortal life and is vibrating with
life_,  _for life  is immense._

This is the noble heritage from our forefathers waiting to be
claimed by us as our own, this ideal of the supreme freedom of
consciousness. It is not merely intellectual or emotional, it
has an ethical basis, and it must be translated into action. In
the Upanishad it is said, _The supreme being is all-pervading,
therefore he is the innate good in all._ To be truly united in
knowledge, love, and service with all beings, and thus to
realise one's self in the all-pervading God is the essence of
goodness, and this is the keynote of the teachings of the
Upanishads: _Life is immense!

 

 

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