April 18, 2014 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am going on a vision quest and I have been told to bring along a mala that will help me in my meditation. For some reason, being a guy, I am adverse to wearing a so-called necklace mala. Do you have any suggestions? Raymond P., Springfield, ILL

rudraksha-wrist-mala

Rudraksha Wrist Mala

Dear Raymond: How do you feel about wearing a wrist mala? I suggest the Rudraksha Wrist Mala, a genuine tool for both mantra and prayer. The rudraksha beads are known as the tears of Shiva, and Shiva, the great god of meditation, who sat upon Mount Kailash in absorbed contemplation, wore many rudrakshas upon his body.

The rudraksha beads are the seeds of the sacred rudraksha tree, known for its ever-expanding bounty of rudraksha seeds. People come from all over to gather these rudrakshas when they fall from the tree. They hold the rudraksha beads in high esteem and string them in both necklace and wrist malas.

I might mention I have always thought it both attractive and manly for a man to wear a wrist mala, especially one that reflects Shiva’s contemplation and meditation. While sitting on your sacred rock while on your vision quest as I have heard about from John Milton, renowned leader of such journeys, you are sure to call upon your own bravery and grit as you encounter your self in such a journey. You can then call on the great God Shiva for assistance in being able to find an aspect of the self for which you have been searching on these vision quests.

You might be interested to know that Shiva was no sissy either. In fact, he had many women whom he married consecutively who were willing to do extreme austerities to gain his attention. As an example, there was the great Goddess Uma who fasted for 10,000 years of nuts and berries hoping to win Shiva’s attention.

These wrist malas have 27 beads with one large faux ivory bead. This bead is called the Mother Guru and it is customary when one fingers the beads to come upon the Mother bead, skip over it and then repeat the cycle backwards.

Good luck on your Vision Quest. May your vision be expanded and full of light on your journey.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 16, 2014 on 10:59 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I notice you have Blue Pearl Sandalwood oil; is this related to the Blue Pearl that Swami Muktananda wrote about in his book? Sam P., Orlando, FL

Blue Pearl Sandalwood Oil

Blue Pearl Sandalwood Oil

Dear Sam: I think the Blue Pearl Sandalwood Oil was so named because seeing the ”Blue Pearl” is the highest aspiration of spiritual sadhana according to Swamis Nityananda and Muktananda. It is my theory that the manufacturer of this oil felt that its special blending of blue pearl oil which uses a secret formula of essential oils with small amounts of sandalwood, aloe Vera, jojoba oils and natural Vitamin was indeed of the highest caliber and apparently not only deserved a title such as Blue Pearl, but was capable of delivering a kind of spiritual ecstasy in smelling it.

These blends resemble the historic rose petal attars of ancient times in which flower petals were pressed with sandalwood and other oils to make perfumes. Sandalwood itself is considered one of the purest and most spiritual oils there is. It is frequently used in spiritual ceremonies and in pujas as the key ingredient.  It is also an important ingredient in perfumes and incense lotions and body oils. Sandalwood has been one of the most important perfume materials for more than 2000 years. In truth, it has a remarkable, long remembered scent.

Following tradition, the wood of the sandalwood tree is still used to make sacred objects, carvings and various handcrafted ornaments.  In the past, it was often used for temple doors, and it is still valued for intricately carved furniture—although with today’s high prices, it is used for this purpose less than in the past.

Muktananda in his meditations, speaks of how he experienced the Blue Pearl. At one point he saw a brilliant light and within that light he saw the Blue Pearl, which he called the Light of Consciousness. It is the actual form of the self.  It is the size of a sesame seed and the infinite universe is contained within it. The goal of meditation is to be able to see this Blue Pearl and then go inside to merge with it. Within that Blue Light you see the deity to whom you have particular devotion whether it be Jesus, Krishna or Buddha, or any other deity you might worship.

Something to aspire to for sure!

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 11, 2014 on 11:00 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: Just when I think I have experienced all forms of yoga, I see your book about Nada Yoga. Where will this all end? Rose P., Lima, PERU

practice-of-nada-yoga

The Practice of Nada Yoga

Dear Rose: I appreciate your humorous question. My answer to you is that yoga never ends, no matter what form it might take and what form might appear attractive to you. There is no reason you have to choose one form and stay with it for a lifetime. As we evolve, so perhaps do our interests in different forms of yoga. I actually think the Practice of Nada Yoga is quite an advanced form.

For those not in the know, let me familiarize you with Nada Yoga. Nada Yoga means union through sound and using sounds and tones to create inner transformation. Nada Yoga can be used by anyone of any religious or spiritual aspiration; in fact, most people attuned to music might find it most attractive following that wave anyway.

In Nada Yoga, you begin to differentiate between external or internal sources of sound. Sounds are either struck out loud as from a voice or music instrument or arise silently from within, emanating from the subtle currents of prana energy moving towards the body.

With practice, the mind becomes calm and transparent when we concentrate on the inner sounds. When your mind becomes quiet, you are more aware of those subtle and inner sounds. In fact, you may even perceive them as bells, flutes or even an electric hum. That is Nada Yoga.

Nada Yoga is a highly enjoyable and relatively effortless form of meditation. I recommend that you might want to start with beautiful music that is calming and quiet. Sit quietly and focus all of your attention on your chosen music for 10-15 minus once or twice a day. Gradually you may be able to become aware of inner sounds. Eventually Nada Yoga says you will not need outward music for meditation at all.

It is a wonderful journey to bathe yourself in wonderful sounds and currents; enjoy your Nada form of yoga.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 9, 2014 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I notice that you have the book Becoming Kuan Yin by Stephen Levine. He has always written books on death and dying and this appears to be a bit of a departure from what he has done before. Rae P., Portland, OR

becoming-kuan-yin

Becoming Kuan Yin

Dear Rae: I can see how on its face you might feel this commemoration of a Buddhist goddess is a departure.  However, Kuan Yin has always been known as the goddess of compassion, and if there is one thing that Stephen and his wife, Ondrea, are known for, it is compassion. In Becoming Kuan Yin, Levine shares the tale of Miao Shan, born centuries ago to a cruel king who wanted her to marry a wealthy but uncaring man. Kuan Yin refused to follow the path her father had carved out for her and instead evolved towards becoming Kuan Yin, the first acknowledged female Buddha who watches over the dying and those who work with them.

In many ways, both Stephen Levine and his wife, Ondrea, have mirrored Kuan Yin’s life and interwoven it with theirs. For many years back in the 60’s they answered phone calls night and day from people dealing with dying relatives and friends and others concerned with their own deaths. This couple has sat at the bedsides of many people who were dying and extracted from their experiences a spiritual understanding and compassion, which they have shared with others through their many books and lectures.

For years, the images and influence of Kuan Yin permeated the home of the Levines and they learned to extract the true meaning of compassion from this goddess, which expanded the ordinary definitions of mercy and forgiveness.  Compassion differs from forgiveness in that one must lose separation to experience it; it becomes an act of humility rather than condescension. Both Ondrea and Stephen Levine have taught us this lesson.

Thanks for writing, Spiritual Explorer

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 4, 2014 on 1:00 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am going on a road trip with my children who are 8 and 10 each. Any suggestions? Laura A., Ft. Lauderdale, FL

mira-big-story

Mira and the Big Story

Dear Laura: Children of that age are in a category of their own; it is a time of great curiosity that loves to be fed by adventure. Both of your children will love Mira and the Big Story.

It is never too early to instill in our children important concepts of character and belief. When I speak about belief, I mean explaining the difference to children about what people believe and how limitation in expectations and structure can cause children to likewise believe in limited views of life. Mira fortunately gets to know the “big story” about life.

It is her curiosity that leads Mira across the river to what she thinks is an “enemy” village where people have beliefs that appear strange to her. What Mira eventually finds is that her own beliefs are small and constricted. Fortunately, she is fostered by a wise elder to whom she turns for assistance. She then learns how there is room for many views of life and begins to enlarge her perspective.

Through expanding her views, Mira also broadens her own outlook of herself and the people she knows in her life.

Mira and the Big Story is wonderfully and colorfully drawn. It is an educational and inspiring book for children 8 years and up.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

April 2, 2014 on 12:59 pm

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believe-greeting-card

Believe Greeting Card

No question here. Just want to talk about some of the new cards at Ma’s India that are just what I have been looking for in all my years. These are cards that I would say immediately boomerang into your awareness with messages that are upfront and striking. I’ll start with the Believe Greeting Card.

As I was glancing at these inspiring and provocative cards with wonderful artistry, the Believe Card struck me the most especially. I thought how many times during our days that we fall out of “belief” or faith in ourselves or in the goodness in the world. As I get older, and things in the world recede in their importance, it is belief and faith that appear to sustain me. I am putting this Believe card on my wall to remind me.

The Reach for the Sky Card was my second choice. I felt it was fantastically drawn: a playful elephant appearing to be ballasted and held up by what looks to be a colorful balloon. The Reach for the Sky Card is a mixture of fantasy and artistry, inspiring hopes and dreams.

Then there is the creative Imagine card showing Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, holding his arms up, encouraging and inspiring imagination against a golden backdrop.

Lastly, one of my favorites was the With Gratitude card, showing immediately on its face, with simplicity, a message of gratitude. It is elegantly and unfussily drawn, direct in its message.

Just when you think these card creators have exhausted their creativity, comes along these wonderful cards. They come in three to a package.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

March 31, 2014 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I was so excited to see a new kind of singing bowl at Ma’s India with two double dorjes on its bottom. How auspicious is that? Raymond P., Atlanta, GA

bliss-singing-bowl

Bliss Singing Bowl

Dear Raymond: Ma’s India always wants to bring to its audience the latest in spiritual accoutrements!This Bliss Singing Bowl packs a double wallop for sure. The double dorjes at the bottom of bowl indicate a desire for a crystal- like truth free of entrapment and illusion. The dorjes strike through Maya, the goddess of illusion, in her many forms and allows the spiritual aspirant to pierce through to diamond-like clarity by using the dorjes of enlightenment.

Let us not forget that the sacred mantra of compassion, Om Mani Padme Hum, repeats itself around the rim and thus when one swipes along the edge with the six inch wooden baton, you are sure to be amazed by the sound that emanates from this bowl. It is truly one of our most loved bowls for the rapturous sound that is emitted. It brings one to one-pointed silence inwardly.

InTibetan Buddhist practices, singing bowls are used as signals to begin and end periods of silent meditation. They are also used worldwide for meditation, music, relaxation and personal well-being.

I have found singing bowls to feel similar to chanting Oms in that your mind seems to vanish and peace begins to reign within.

Enjoy your singing bowls; they never seem to wear out and will bring you countless moments of peace and joy.

March 28, 2014 on 11:00 am

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Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am exploring going more deeply into my meditation and need music that will further my desire to become more singular in my approach. Could you recommend some music? Rochelle P.Boise, ID

music-for-deep-meditation-chanting-om

Music for Deep Meditation: Chanting OM

Dear Rochelle: I know exactly what you want. It’s what the Christians say, “If thine eye be singular then full of light.” If you desire something single-mindedly you are sure to fulfill your heart’s desire, and I am presuming you wish to dissolve into your soul. I am therefore recommending Music for Deep Meditation: Chanting Om.

The monkey mind is always distracting us with thoughts and one of the best remedies according to one of my favorite meditation teachers is to fix initially on one sound or mantra. And what better one than Om? Apparently, this is an age-old remedy for training the mind towards one pointedness.

Chanting Om is a great mantra to use because it is one of the most commonly used mantras. Om is the mantra that most beginners of yoga and meditation begin with because of its simplicity. I always say that in chanting Om you are connecting with a whole group of spiritual aspirants who are joining collectively with you into a vibratory resonance. It is what I would call increasing spiritual momentum exponentially.

In Music for Deep Meditation: Chanting Om, there is a whole side of the album dedicated to the single sound of Om. The other side has very gifted singers bringing more complex harmonic melodies to the Om sound.

Enjoy your Om CD; it is unique and valuable.

Om Shanti! Om Shanti! Om Shanti!

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

March 26, 2014 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: I am on a journey of self-exploration. I have just finished rehab and wish to continue my healing; however, I need to find ways to deal with my boredom at night so that I don’t slip into the same habits. Raquel P., Hollywood, CA

Joy Reiki Energy Candle

Joy Reiki Energy Candle

Dear Raquel: I am sure the people at your rehab taught you stress techniques and ways in which to relax. One of the best ways to relax is to choose a particular Reiki energy candle, which emits very good vibrations upon lighting. We have a number of choices, but the one I am going to recommend for you is the Joy Reiki Energy candle.

Why did I pick the joy affirmation? Because true joy, Raquel, comes from detachment. Many people confuse detachment with indifference, and that is so not true. True detachment which is the characteristic of all spiritual teachers is when you are aligned and devoted to your spiritual discipline. When that occurs, you are no longer fighting against yourself, which is what happens when we try to stay away from our addictions. It becomes a battle between the higher self and the lower self. When we battle, we always lose. However, when one cultivates detachment, it is more of a wearing away or sloughing off of attachment. Suddenly, you begin to choose happiness or joy rather than pain and misery. The choice becomes more clear. However, as you know, when you are in your addiction, there is no choice.

I think you will love this Joy Reiki Energy candle. It is charged with Reiki energy. Reiki is the Japanese spiritual and holistic therapy that many practitioners have found to be effective in healing. Each Crystal Journey Reiki Energy Candle comes with an affirmation and inspirational message. The ingredients are plumeria, jasmine and sandalwood.

Jus breathe in the wonderful fragrance of this Joy Reiki Energy candle and I promise you will feel at the least joy from its scent. Good luck to you, Raquel.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

March 24, 2014 on 11:00 am

Ask the Spiritual Explorer

Dear Spiritual Explorer: Will Chris be approved for his loan to buy his home? Joan T., Falls Church, VA

Dear Joan: It appears that you believe that I am a psychic. I have to disavow that assumption and tell you that I am the Spiritual Explorer for Ma’s India which means that I explore spiritual questions and topics. However, I thought your inquiry ideal for a conversation regarding the difference between being psychic and using your intuition via tarot cards. For that topic, I consulted my good friend, Uma Simon, who is a well-known intuitive reader. Uma reads the tarot cards and particularly uses the Rider Waite Tarot Deck, which we carry at Ma’s India. I asked Uma the difference between a psychic and an intuitive, the latter of which she considers herself.

Rider Waite Tarot Deck

Rider Waite Tarot Deck

Here is her answer:

“Tarot cards can be used for many purposes. One can ask questions  as to whether one might be approved for a loan, hoping for a psychic answer, or one could similarly ask what their spiritual purpose in life is and receive an intuitive answer. The difference is similar to the difference between receiving an acupuncture treatment for a sore knee (psychic) as opposed to receiving treatment for the well being of the whole body and thereby receiving collateral treatment of the knee. More artfully stated, knowing you will receive what your personality desires is often short lived and you are more inclined to receive happiness if you receive an intuitive reading that gives you a more comprehensive answer to life’s difficulties and challenges.

“An intuitive understands that receiving an affirmative answer to a question via tarot cards is like having a chocolate cookie; it gives momentary relief but does not answer any underlying primal questions that are possible when one receives an intuitive tarot reading.”

Uma also advised me that there were really very few people who could answer questions about the future for the simple reason that as soon as one asks a question, the universe intervenes and circumstances change,so that what might appear affirmative in a moment could also change into its opposite. There are few people who can predict futures, and they are probably very spiritual people for whom psychic abilities are truly incidental.

Uma says that notwithstanding everything she said above, she decided to consult the tarot on your behalf. Her tarot deck revealed that that Chris had a very good chance to get the loan since he had put in a lot of hard work to get it. She is betting that he will get it. Keep us advised.

If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer

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