October 24, 2014 on 11:14 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: So many people are doing yoga today, but I feel too awkward because of my size. Any suggestions about curing my body dysmorphia? Sue M., Detroit, MI

Yoga from the Inside Out

Yoga from the Inside Out

Dear Sue: Your comment about what you term body dysmorphia is something that a number of young women are experiencing today. For those not in the know, it’s when you are not comfortable with your body shape and size even though it might not be an accurate observation. You are not alone; in fact, Christina Sell’s book Yoga from the Inside Out deals with that very issue.

John Friend, whom many people associate with Anasura Yoga, a heart centered yoga, speaks of his own initial meeting with Christina. His first impression of her was that she was a very solidly well built woman who had critical feelings about the shape of her body, even though it was well toned and in great condition. Upon further observation he saw that she would criticize some of her poses within the yoga even though his own assessment of her was truly admiring. In the face of that approval by this renowned expert on yoga, Christina was thus able to eventually relax the rigidity within her body and begin a transformation and acceptance through the practice of yoga.

Throughout the book, we see many photographs of women who don’t have what might be termed classically shaped bodies but who enjoy and perform yoga with great expertise and confidence. What is noteworthy is the delight that seems to emanate from each one of these women who have seemingly gained through yoga a wonderful acceptance of their bodies. And from what I have learned from my own study of yoga, this is the precise manner and behavior to adopt towards one’s body: an acceptance and appreciation of one’s ability to perform and complete poses, from the very simple to more complex, without comparison to others or more importantly, without self-criticism.

According to Christina, hatha yoga or any yoga for that matter, is an opportunity to build on what is good and whole within us, rather than focusing solely on our neurosis or darkness. Yoga allows us to focus our attention internally on the sensations of the body rather than its appearance. By changing this focus away from our bodies towards the sensations we feel in yoga, we can then take that same inwardness and change how we experience the world around us. First inward, then outward, as my teacher Ma Jaya would say. Instead of a battlefield, the body through yoga becomes a vehicle for greater awareness, and becomes a means of true authenticity and spiritual transformation.

This is a wonderful book about self-acceptance and love extended towards oneself through the vehicle of yoga. I highly recommend it. Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

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October 22, 2014 on 11:14 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: Can you speak of the darkness of Kali and how it regenerates humanity? Rae P., Dallas, TX

Yogic Secrets Dark Goddess

Yogic Secrets of the Dark Goddess

Dear Rae: Yogic Secrets of the Dark Goddess by Shambhavi Chopra can give you the most definitive and expansive explanation of the darkness of Kali. According to Chopra, Kali actually holds the key to the spiritual regeneration of humanity. Unless we reconnect to the deeper feminine energy of the universe, as reflected by Kali, we are unlikely to resolve the conflict that has arisen from ignoring the divine influence and contribution of femininity to the human race.

Kali is the ultimate feminine expression of the mystery of woman, which includes her fertility, mystery, magic, and transformative qualities. It is because we have misunderstood the way in which she is pictured with skulls and what some would term as images of violence, that contributes to the fact that Kali has not been fully spiritually acknowledged. We also see her with her foot upon Shiva, all of which could of course translate to superiority and dominance over the male aspect. This however would be a wrong interpretation of Kali’s stance. In truth her foot upon Shiva represents the fact that both Kali and Shiva devour and conquer each other simultaneously, thus producing true tantra.

You might ask what is true tantra between Shiva and Kali. As Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati would say, it is when each of them surrenders to the other. It is when male becomes female and female becomes male. This merging of Shiva and Kali becomes the ultimate expression of love and merging.

Much mystery enshrouds this dark form of Kali who in fact holds all the energies of life and death. The greater connections of this Dark Goddess to the forces of nature, particularly electrical energies of life and perception, are seldom noted. Kali’s role to bring us back to our Divine Source is not addressed in any meaningful way to the multitudes. People do not see that Kali’s deepest purpose is to take us beyond all ignorance and sorrow.

However, when one approaches Kali, the Dark Goddess, with reverence and respect, she will reveal her golden illuminated self to us and connect us to our deepest awareness.

How to approach Kali? With our inner heart and inner eye. Chopra provides us with a direct experience of Kali as she is in her inner reality, ignoring all the confusion and distortion about her. Her gentle face is revealed to us shining her inner light upon us. Chopra’s entire book is a means of bringing the energy of Kali into our world and into our psychology, restoring the magic of what is beyond the human mind to vitalize our deeper feelings and perceptions.

This is a wonderful explication and experience of the Goddess Kali for sure. You will so enjoy it.

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October 17, 2014 on 11:14 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: Who are the Ascended Masters in the Ascended Masters Reiki Energy Candle? Laura P., Pittsburgh, PA

Ascended Master Reiki Candle

Ascended Masters Reiki Candle

Dear Laura: Just by its title the Ascended Masters Reiki Energy Candle appears to be a powerful healing force. Not only does this candle have imparted Reiki energy, which is a Japanese spiritual and healing modality, it apparently has the influence and governance of Ascended Masters.

Ascended Masters are believed to be spiritually enlightened beings that in past incarnations were ordinary humans, but who have undergone a series of spiritual transformations originally called initiations. These Ascended Masters are capable of dwelling therefore on a different dimension or what some would call the Sixth Dimension. When the Ascended Master has arrived at the Sixth Dimension, it is a state of full union with his spirit and therefore he is then known as the Ascended Master as opposed to Master.

These Ascended Masters appear to have left their humanness behind and embody Divine Will, Divine Wisdom and Divine Love. It is further claimed by various groups and teachers that the Ascended Masters serve as the teachers of mankind from the realms of spirit, and that all people will eventually attain their ascension and move forward in spiritual evolution beyond this planet. Nevertheless, these scented Masters still remain attentive to the spiritual needs of humanity and act to inspire and motivate people’s spiritual growth.

One of the most interesting legendary stories is about the Ascended Master known as St.Germain who apparently was really Sir Francis Bacon, noted philosopher and humanist in the 1600’s. As the legend goes, Sir Francis voluntarily quit his human body to be reincarnated as St.Germain and purportedly continues to shine his light blessing and healing humanity.

Whether or not these stories are apocryphal, we do know that this Ascended Masters Candle has extraordinary ingredients such as dragon’s blood, olive oil, saffron, peppermint and musk. You can use this Ascended Masters Reiki Energy Candle to honor and call upon any number of Ascended Masters to assist you in your daily lives.

I enjoyed answering your letter. Spiritual Explorer

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October 15, 2014 on 11:14 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I notice you have Frankincense Deluxe Incense. What makes it deluxe? Roseanne B., Los Angeles, CA

Deluxe Frankincense Incense

Frankincense Deluxe Incense

Dear Roseanne: Of course you have heard frankincense together with myrrh and gold was one of the gifts given to Jesus upon his birth. These valuable items were standard gifts to honor a king or deity in the ancient world: gold as a precious metal, frankincense as perfume or incense and myrrh as anointing oil. Many believe that the number of gifts is what led to the tradition of the Three Wise Men. Nevertheless, this particular derivation of frankincense in Frankincense Deluxe Incense originates from a special tree with just the right climate whose resin becomes this highly prized frankincense. The lighter colored the sap of the frankincense incense, the more valued it is, and only a few places in the world have the requisite climate to produce this highly valued frankincense.

A very special massage therapist tells me that she now utilizes the oil of frankincense when massaging her cancer patients. Frankincense is not only beneficial to the tissues where it is absorbed into the body, but actually has a very calming effect on the nerves. Frankincense is also thought to be highly beneficial when it is rubbed into the feet or other extremities of the body. Researchers at various universities have found that frankincense has an active ingredient that helps relieve arthritis by inhibiting the inflammation that breaks down cartilage tissue and causes arthritis pain.

What is the history of frankincense incense? We find many references to the use of frankincense in particular in the scriptures. It was described in the ceremonial words which Moses imparted to the Israelites in the book of Exodus. “Take unto thee spices of sweet savor and the clearest frankincense and when thee has beaten all into very small powder, thou shall set of it before the Tabernacle.” It is also mentioned in the Psalms by various prophets and of course in the Gospel account of the birth of Christ. What was most interesting in my research was that frankincense was actually used before the mention of it in the New Testament, so Hebrews and Christians apparently used it alike. This is fascinating since so many people have always considered it Christian incense because of the Three Wise Men.

I just love frankincense’s woodsy pine and lemon scent. I don’t know if it’s because of the spiritual origins, but whenever I burn some frankincense I swear my meditations are deeper and more profound. I do know that the scent of frankincense somehow clarifies the air also.

Try your Frankincense Deluxe Incense; you won’t be disappointed.

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October 10, 2014 on 11:13 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I have recently read about Neem Karoli Baba, an esteemed Indian guru and find myself truly drawn to him. You have so many pictures of him and I am at a loss to choose one of them. Would you please recommend one? Laura P., Milan, ITALY

Neem Karoli Baba

Neem Karoli Baba

Dear Laura: I have chosen for you this photo of Neem Karoli Baba photograph because it shows Baba in his wonderful pose of lying on his side with his leg at a particular angle which some devotees have tried to imitate; in addition, he is wearing one of those famous blankets which we call Baba blankets.

The story of Baba blankets and the miracles performed under the blanket of Baba are conversations held between his devotees who are quite numerous. In addition, those of us who consider Baba Neem Karoli our Guru feel as if we are part of the blanket that connects all of us as devotees, and that if one part of the blanket were to move in an upward fashion, we would all move simultaneously.

While little is known as to the exact date of Neem Karoli Baba’s birth we do know that he left his home around the time when his youngest child was 11 and wandered extensively throughout northern India as a sadhu. He was known under many names including Laksman Das, Handi Wallah Baba and Tikonia Walla Baba.

People would feel great love in Baba Neem Karoli’s presence and he was considered a lifelong adept of bhakti yoga. Bhakti yoga encourages service to others as the highest form of unconditional devotion to God. Most westerners know Neem Karoli Baba through Baba Ram Das’ journey to Neem Karoli Baba in the early 70’s. As a former Harvard Professor, Timothy Alpert laid his devotion at the feet of his Guru and became Baba Ram Das.

Many wonderful stories in the book Miracle of Love by Ram Das attest to the magic and mystery of this beloved guru Neem Karoli.

In the late 2000’s the Love, Serve, Remember Foundation was begun as a testament to the teachings of Bara Neem Karoli and serves to inspire people to continue his legacy of servicing others and unconditional love.

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October 8, 2014 on 11:12 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I have noticed your Ganesh & Lakshmi Hands Wood statue and am curious as to why they are placed together. Lisa P., Boise, ID

Ganesh & Laxmi Hands

Ganesh & Laxmi Hands

Dear Lisa: I thought the Ganesh & Lakshmi wood statue was an interesting coupling also and have decided to research the similarities to each other.

I of course understand the both Ganesh and Lakshmi are two extraordinarily powerful gods and goddesses prayed to for their assistance at moving past obstacles and providing prosperity in certain situations. I think that epitomizes Ganesh and Lakshmi’s main relationship with each other.

However, I also like that Ganesh and Lakshmi are both male and female reflections of icon spirituality and therefore reprocessing the masculine and feminine aspects of spirituality, Ganesh and Lakshmi are equally powerful to each other no matter what their gender. This of course leads me to my most favorite subject of male and female power.

Women throughout the ages have been traditionally thought of as less powerful because they perhaps didn’t have the same requisite muscles of a man (the physical sense) and had been consigned to reflect traditional receptive roles such as bearing children and having to raise them while the husband was off trying to find food for his family.

Despite these traditional roles and the spiraling of these roles into consciousness in modern day society, I am always amazed at how Hinduism, thousands of years old, gave equal rights and respect to both male and female gods and goddesses. Each god and goddess, including Lakshmi and Ganesh, were not relegated to their specific roles in terms of gender. In fact, most of them are shown to be powerful and fiery gods and goddesses, capable of not only lots of mischief but also good in the world.

Lakshmi,particularly while considered extremely beautiful, is not just a simpering beautiful goddess. Lakshmi is actually the consort of Vishnu and assists him with wealth in maintaining the universe. Lakshmi resides in a place where virtue, righteousness, truth and compassion prevail. On the auspicious night of Diwali, Hindus worship Lakshmi ceremonially at home, praying for her blessings. It is believed that on this night Lakshmi herself visits the homes and replenishes the inhabitants with wealth.

While not as connected with wealth and prosperity as Lakshmi, Ganesh is sure to provide comfort and security for anyone whose wealth might be threatened in any way. Ganesh is a fierce God and if one is to approach Ganesh with humility, he bestows his gracious humor on you. But beware of Ganesh; he is not some jolly rotund god, but full of shakti and power, a formidable god indeed.

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October 3, 2014 on 11:12 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: Do I have a doozie of a cold complete with postnasal drip. Everybody seems to know of the greatest remedy, but I just want a simple one that has lots of purposes. Any suggestions? Cora P., Milwaukee, WI

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus Oil

Dear Cora: Triloka Eucalyptus Essential Oil is my favorite of all times. It seems to not only make my throat and chest feel better and refreshed, but seems to dry up my sinuses too. A friend of mine who was doing chemotherapy many years back was always coughing. Her doctor told her she might have some kind of fibrosis from the chemotherapy. That truly scared her, but she would spray some eucalyptus on a tissue, inhale it, and she swears it saved her from what could have been a terrible result.

I have often been asked where to get eucalyptus leaves. I remember my friend always used them in her home for a refreshing smell. You always felt that you were entering a rain forest because of the purity and freshness of the smell that emitted from those leaves. The leaf is used for treating respiratory tract infections, whooping cough, asthma, acne, wounds, poorly healing ulcers, etc.

There is a warning however not to apply eucalyptus oil neat on the skin since it must be diluted for safety. The diluted eucalyptus oil can be taken by mouth for pain and swelling and inflammation of mucous membranes. Eucalyptus oil can also be used as an expectorant to loosen coughs, and is an antiseptic, fever reducer and can be placed into a vaporizer and used at nighttime.

While I have heard claims that it can be used as a perfume, in all my days I have never heard of anybody using it for that purpose. It seems to me that it is hardly the most romantic oil that I would use out on a date or for a romantic outing.However, you can prepare for a date by using eucalyptus as mouthwash, and in toothpaste, cough drops and lozenges.

Eucalyptus is really a divine herb that has so many medicinal uses. We are truly lucky to have eucalyptus and other medicinal herbs available to us on this great earth that it makes you sad to think of plants disappearing. Pray for earth conservation!

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October 1, 2014 on 11:11 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: Can I chant a healing mantra over the phone to some one who is far away? He is sick and claims that someone put a curse on him. Thank you. Lyn S., Long Beach, CA

Dear Lyn: I myself do not subscribe to that set of beliefs that someone is capable of cursing another. I sometimes feel that if you feel that somebody is putting a hex on you, that you are already susceptible to that kind of belief and thus have agreed to be vulnerable to somebody attempting to use that power.

Of course, in my travels, I have met people who attempt to engage in a form of what I call “enslavement” of another person through fear and words. What I have truly found is because of these person’s own disempowerment issues, they attempt to victimize others through fear and threats of curses and other practices. These people use the power of suggestion to terrorize others.

My basic recommendation for you is to attain and ascend to the light, thereby empowering yourself while refusing to surrender to anyone else’s fear based threats. I have heard of people in similar situations who have “gone towards the light’ and refused to deal with these methods of intimidation.

Yes, there are healing chants for various illnesses, and I would like to suggest some of those for you. These are simple chants that just by their recitation already place you into a higher vibration. Curses, witchcraft and other black arts lower your vibrations and hence your resistance.

Om Namah Shivaya

Mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” in Sanskrit

Most popular chants are Hindu chants such as Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Kali, Om Namah Hanuman. When you chant the name of a Hindu god or goddess for a certain amount of time this can purify the atmosphere. The advantage of these chants is that they place you in the company of thousands of people who are doing them at the same time, thus adding to their power. If you are Christian, you might want to call upon Jesus and chant his name or any other deity that you feel can empower and purify your life.

These sacred figures want nothing more for you than happiness, health and prosperity. There is no mumbo jumbo from an enslavement that you have to be frightened of. Feeling fear from somebody else is a sign that you are surrendering to a harmful force that is not good for you. Walk away from that.

There are many books around that give various chants and groups of words and phrases whose sole purpose is to bring you into the light and a higher vibration in your life.

As to healing people who are far away, I have known great healers who through the power of their healing words have been able to heal others even from long distance. Before you start your healing practice, you can call in any deity or force that you feel is a positive influence, place that person in a circle of light and pray that any negativity be removed. Then see them free of such negation and light surrounding them.

Do not allow darkness to come into your life through fear or the dark arts. Those people are trying to take your power. Do not allow that to happen.

Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

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September 19, 2014 on 10:48 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: How do pendulums work? Laura L., Salem, MA

Faceted Pendulums

Faceted Pendulums

Dear Laura: I picked up one of our Faceted Pendulums and thought I would ask a few questions of it. I have a friend who uses most anything as a pendulum; I have even seen her use her wristwatch in a hurry when she was without one. I have always called her incorrigible. She seems to combine the irreverent with the reverence necessary to make her believable, a strong suit of hers I might add.

However, when I looked at our faceted pendulums and other pendulums which we have sold at the store, I found that for the most part these pendulus were made of some crystalline structure if not crystal itself. It seems obvious that a pendulum’s transparency and absorbency has something to do with their ability to pick up signs or signals. I know that when I use my pendulum I put it over my hand to ask a question, not necessarily the right way to do. I feel that the pendulum then reflects my true wishes because it is being receptive to the energy emitting from my hand. Some pendulum users will hang it over what they wish to ask about, such as, “ Is this avocado useful for me today?”

And then are those who make decisions without consulting their pendulums. I consider obsession with pendulums to be a major mistake similar to people obsessively using the tarot cards or I Ching or whatever item they consider to be their “totems of choice.” It is in the obsession with these items that someone’s mind and fear will eventually intrude on the item’s ability to give an objective answer.

An example is a friend of mine who took a pendulum class from an eminent pendulum practitioner. She advised him to initially perhaps consult with the pendulum not more than once a week when learning it and to use this divine tool as but a tool of accessing one’s intuition. She teaches that one’s intuition is always available and can eventually be relied upon without a device such a tarot card or pendulum. Well, this fellow had a serious ailment arise and began to consult his pendulum daily; eventually it appeared that the pendulum gave conflicting answers. Still this fellow persevered unsuccessfully until one day he called his teacher, who admonished him, saying, ‘These items are gifts and as such are never to be abused.” It is similar to abusing a child. When one harangues a child, eventually that beautiful light that is present will disappear. So too the cards or the pendulum will retract their gift. Unfortunately, he did not listen and because he took so many months to consult the pendulum rather then listening to advice of people who cared for him, his condition became much more serious and demanded more medical help.

Our pendulums are but reflections of our own divine consciousness and as such, always reflect back to us. Our job is to become as objective as possible when using these items, thus allowing their assistance to blend with our own awareness and ability. Pendulums and tarot cards are but extensions of our ability to contact the divine and intuition within and should be treated with respect. Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

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September 16, 2014 on 10:46 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I see a lot of people wearing yin yang jewelry.  What does that concept of yin yang really mean? Aster P., Washington, DC


Yin Yang Necklace

Dear Aster: I find it necessary to mention that we also carry a Yin Yang Necklace in sterling silver which I like because it is both exotic and simple at the same time, reflecting the yin yang philosophy here.

There are many examples ad ways to describe the concept of yin yang.  One of the simplest I have found is that while the symbols seem to be opposite to each other, yet it is in their melting and finally coming together that is remarkable.  The concepts of black and white, good and evil, red and black, all seemingly opposite, stand almost in conflict with each other.  The idea of yin and yang is that yin eventually turns into yang and yang eventually turns into yin.  It is more of a concept of polarity than opposition.

What I have always found undesirable in traditional religions is their tendency to see the world in very black and white ways; instead of viewing gradations in culture and concepts, some wish to stuff differences into categories of good and evil or black and white, restricting harmony, broadmindedness, openness, thus fostering anger and hatred in many cases.  Fundamentalism is another word for that particular kind of view.

When I was 17 years old I would watch philosopher and teacher Alan Watts on television.  Dressed in a white smock, he would draw on this board in a very graceful way, describing the interplay of yin and yang in the world. One of the things he taught was how western thought had a tendency to view things oppositionally and fundamentally.  He said that when a westerner viewed a tree, he or she would see the tree as a separate, discrete item; however, an easterner would see the tree as part of the grass, the sky and the air, thus opening one’s imagination and view.

Yin and yang perspectives are not just limited to cultural views.  Yin represents the feminine, more passive aspects of things such as the moon, darkness, quiet, and receptivity. Yang is more masculine reflecting penetration, the sun and contraction.

When I studied macrobiotics, all food was describe in terms of yin and yang also.  Sugar and drugs were considered yin; and meat and some kinds of grains were considered more yang.  However, even in considering those items, gradations were considered. So salt, which most people would consider yang, might have some yin qualities if minerals were added.  So the yin and yang concepts were never absolutes. There was more breadth of awareness and more flexibility and relativity as consciousness and awareness should be. This is also reflective of a basic  philosophy that allows for difference and tolerance.

Thanks for writing. Spiritual Explorer

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