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The Full Moon of the Guru

Friday, July 31st, at 6:43 a.m. (Eastern Daylight time), is the blue moon, which refers to the second full moon in a month. You know the saying, “once in a blue moon,” meaning a rare occurrence. This blue moon, however, is particularly special because it is also the celebration of Guru Purnima. Purnima is a Sanskrit word meaning full moon, and Guru comes from the Sanskrit words gu (darkness or ignorance) and ru (remover of). So a guru is someone who removes your ignorance or darkness.

Having gratitude is such an important aspect of energy healing, and Guru Purnima is a time to express your respect and gratitude for your teachers for what they have given you: the light that removes your darkness and ignorance. I have a fairly long list of all the sages and shamans I studied with in my career in energy medicine, and I take the time regularly to give gratitude for all they taught me.

Guru Purnima is about your spiritual teachers—those who have led you into the light of higher consciousness by teaching you meditation, and about your chakras, for example.

There is a story in Hindu lore that says Guru Purnima was the day that Shiva became the first guru, over 15,000 years ago! Lord Shiva appeared suddenly in the Himalayas as a simple yogi, but one who had an extraordinary presence, and many gathered around him. Occasionally, tears of ecstasy came out of his eyes and rolled down his cheeks, but there were no other signs of life from him. When he finally opened his eyes, there were only seven men left. He gave them one simple step along the path and closed his eyes again. Many decades went by until Shiva, in his guise as the first yogi, looked at them again and saw that the seven men had done their work and were filled with light. On the next full moon day, he became their guru. Thus Adiyogi (the first yogi) became Adiguru (the first guru). These seven disciples became the Sapta Rishis (the seven sages), who are considered to be the patriarchs of the Vedic tradition, which is the main spiritual tradition I have studied and teach. This is why in the yogic tradition now, Guru Purnima is celebrated as the time Adi Guru brought to Earth the realization that conscious evolution was possible for humans.

Many Hindus honor the great sage Vyasa at this time. It is believed that he was not only born on this day, but also finished writing the Brahma sutra at this time. Disciples and students of spiritual teachers also recommit to their path and to following their guru’s teachings for the following year. And those who are fellow students express their joint commitment to supporting each other along the path.

Buddhists celebrate Guru Purnima as the day the Buddha arrived from Bodhgaya after his enlightenment and gave his first sermon in Sarnath to his five former companions (the Pancavaggiya monks), and they became enlightened. After that first sermon, Buddha spent his first rainy season teaching the Dharma to 60 monks, who all became Arahants, perfected beings. To this day, Guru Purnima starts the four-month rainy season retreat for many Buddhist monks and lay practitioners.

During this period of the blue moon, consider expressing your gratitude to those teachers who have helped you to bathe in the light of Spirit and expand your consciousness. Honor those who have given you the next step on your journey to self-realization.

If you are interested in this type of learning and would like to find out more about how to incorporate spirituality into your life for increased health and happiness, please check out my course and begin your journey into the invisible realms of bliss and healing.

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Letting Go

Death and taxes: the only two things in life you can be sure about. It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if the two absolute certainties in life were love and light (which is true,  but not commonly recognized). Death has been on my mind these days, as my mother prepares to meet her Maker.

You know that old saying—“No one gets out of here alive.” At least that’s true for 99.99%. There are stories of ancient seers and saints who live hundreds of years, or drop one body and immediately take another, or who live so long that they grow three whole new sets of teeth over the course of their lives. And then there are those who consciously leave their bodies in jeev samadhi—where the saint, whose time in a body is drawing to the close, enters a room and goes into a state of deep absorption in Spirit, and then the door to the room is sealed from outside. The saint’s energy remains in and around the body, and the body doesn’t decay over time. These sites become places of pilgrimage for those wanting to take in the living presence of the dead saint.

But what about you? Your image of death may be that of the Grim Reaper, the skeletal figure in a hooded black cloak, carrying a large scythe, who comes to collect the soul of the about-to-be-dead person. This particular image comes from 15th century England while other cultures around the world have their own personifications of death.

Have you imagined your own death? It is a very healthy practice for keeping your priorities straight. Envision yourself lying in bed, with no bodily strength left to lift an arm or utter a word; feel how all your attachments—to health, wealth, family and friends, to your favorite pair of slippers or the gold watch that was left to you by your revered grandmother—are all being severed. Can you relax into the feeling and let go? Really let go—of everything: of name and fame, of old lovers and new family, of the work that has consumed so much of your waking life. Let it all go, or try to.

See where your attachments are. Maybe you can imagine letting go of the body. Maybe it’s been causing you considerable pain for a very long time. But how about letting go of your attachment to your thoughts or to your emotions? Can you release the moment you looked into your partner’s eyes and felt like the world was complete? Can you jettison all your regrets so they don’t plague you in the afterlife?

Some years back a hospice nurse published a book called about the top regrets of the dying. These included wishing (1) “I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not what others expected”; (2) “I hadn’t worked so hard”; (3) “I’d had the courage to express my feelings”; (4) “I had stayed in touch with my friends”; and (5) “I’d let myself be happier.” Telling, isn’t it? The things you wished you had done while you had the chance. Note that the regrets listed don’t include “I wish I’d had the money to buy a BMW.” Priorities seem so clear in the face of death.

Of course, having the time to prepare for your death—to say goodbye to loved ones, to make sure your affairs are in order, to focus on your faith and spiritual connections—is probably preferable to getting hit by a bus and dying in the middle of the road. But it’s that possibility—that your own death may come suddenly and unexpectedly—that makes it so important to do a “letting go” practice at least once a year. As always, meditation is vitally important for learning how to center your consciousness on the present moment, so when death does come for you, you are not fearful, but are ready to accept whatever the moment brings.

I don’t bring up this topic to scare you, but to show the importance of preparing for death. Do you have a will, a living will, and a medical directive? That takes care of one level. Do you fear death is the end of everything? Examine your fears and beliefs and let go of whatever doesn’t serve you. Do you know the proper way to die so as to maximize your passage to the light? There is one, actually, and I’ll be teaching it at my next Video conference for my students in Level 1 of the LifeForce Energy Healing Program. (click here if you’d like to be part of my Level 1  Program where those monthly video calls take place)

These steps of preparation will allow you to go calmly into that “good night” knowing you have lived your truth, with no regrets, and a strong faith in the continuity of Spirit.

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The Seeds and Stones in Mala Beads

Mala beads have been used traditionally in meditation and prayer, which is why they are sometimes called prayer beads. But you don’t have to be religious to get the benefit of wearing mala beads: around your neck or on your wrist, or hanging them nearby – they can help you calm your mind and spirit.

Mala beads are made from different seeds and gemstones, depending on the spiritual or healing qualities that you seek. You should always go for the mala you are most drawn to by your heart. It’s easy to figure out what you don’t want, but how about what you do want in life? Mala beads give you the opportunity to wear your intention; you can check out the ones I wear and use here.

One of my personal favorites is malas made with rudraksha seeds, which are a manifestation of peace and love. The rudraksha seeds are also known for their power to heal, to ease the mind and free it of negative thoughts, and to increase mental clarity and energy. Rudraksha means “the eyes of Rudra, or Shiva.” Akasha means “eye,” so these beads help you to look at everything, especially through your third eye. Lord Shiva, in Hindu mythology, is said to have meditated on mankind and when he came out of meditation he was crying tears of compassion. When his tears hit the Earth, they crystallized and became the trees that grow rudrakshas. Rudraksha beads create a cloak of protection for your energy when you wear the beads.

Rudraksha beads, like those used in the Meditate Mala beads that I use, should be washed with warm water and soap in order to remove any dust or dirt. They can be oiled with your favorite oil, like coconut or sandalwood oil, which will help to preserve them. As you wear them (or hold them), your natural body oil will darken the beads, which shows that they are well worn and loved.

The Udana Vayu Mala has a combination of rudraksha and amazonite beads. Amazonite can be used to help heal your throat chakra and it supports the thyroid, the master gland. On the physical level, it is known to help balance, to relieve cramps, and to regulate calcium imbalances. On the mental and emotional level, amazonite dispels worries and fears, reduces anger, and can balance your mood swings. Spiritually, it will connect you with your own inner power.

What if your intention is to be more confident in yourself and your ability to proceed along the spiritual path? The I Am Confident Mala is made from brilliantly colored blue agate gemstones, which are known to banish negativity and encourage clear thinking, as well as allowing the spiritual world to inspire you and send your vibration higher. An affirmation to do in the presence of this mala is “I am enough.” 

My all-time personal fave, The Chakra Rising Mala, uses seven different gemstones that allow your energy to rise through the seven energy centers, from the base up to your crown chakra.

  1. The blue agate stones do the work of rebalancing and harmonizing your body, mind, and spirit by cleansing the aura. The agate is a protective stone, including protection from stress and bad dreams.
  1. Amethyst beads provide inspiration and a sense of peace, while invigorating your spiritual power. They calm down the emotions and allow you to let go of grief and prolonged sadness. Physically, amethyst is thought to boost the immune system and purify the blood.
  1. Beads made from both green and red aventurine are specific to helping the heart chakra find balance and comfort.
  1. The carnelian stone is a great protector against negativity in any form, while helping to focus the mind and pump up your ability to make decisions.
  1. Quartz crystal gemstones increase your insight and spiritual wisdom, as well as increasing your intuition and amplifying your prayers. It is used to treat headaches and general pain relief. Best of all, it can help heal old emotional wounds.
  1. Serpentine stones can strengthen your bones and your back, and get this: serpentine can help balance your sugar levels!

The combination of these seven stones in the Chakra Rising mala is extremely powerful. By placing this mala near you when you meditate, you are activating all your chakras and helping to balance them.

So if you are interested in experiencing the benefits of malas, let your heart lead you to the one for you.