Monday, December 31, 2012

Book Review: Your Life On Purpose

how to find what matters & create the life you want

by Margaret McKay, Ph.D, John P. Forsyth, PhD, and Georg H. Eifert, PhD

The first thing I encountered when I opened this book was an introduction to the histories and life experiences of the three authors.  This set the stage in my mind for wisdom to enter on a very deep level; I was very moved and taken aback by the traumatic life experiences of the authors that included everything that a life can throw your way.  I continued reading because I wanted to learn how these live events had deepened their collective wisdom about Life.  I came to the end of chapter 2 and completely stalled.  I couldn't read another word for days.  I read the sentence:  "Are you willing to have whatever pain it may take to be what you want to be in your life?  This commitment can only be real, can only be valid when you fully understand and accept the natural and inevitable pain of life.  Nothing less will give you a life that matters."  The authors spoke to this pain in their introduction so I felt they know what they were talking about from direct experience.  I had to consider this for some time.  The book is so tender and manages to stay completely away from being just another self-help regimen.  I entered their world and was profoundly moved as I felt myself guided through more of their teaching.

One of their gifts is to feel a "firm resolve" as we turn our attention to, and take action towards our values while standing firm in the pain that is an integral part of living;  "taking the emotion monsters with you" is how they phrased it.  They suggest establishing lightness towards the plethora of painful life-emotions, to know a "radical acceptance" of them that is the exercise of witnessing, observing, and exploring, while at the same time standing with a firm resolve in your Truth on your path of purpose and life values.

This book moved me to experience my life on purpose in a deeper way, and I imagine that it will serve you in this way as well.  Take your time, savor their works, and contemplate their questions.  It's worth it.

Review by Sanna Rose, RScP

Your Life On Purpose is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Gayatri Mantra

The Gayatri mantra is one of the oldest, most powerful and sacred of Sanskrit mantras.  It is believed to be 5000 years old and thought to inspire wisdom and to remove all obstacles on our path to spiritual growth.  It is also believed that meditating on the Gayatri mantra can assist you in transcending the experience of suffering.  For maximum benefit it is best to chant this mantra 108 times.  All of the chakras of the body are positively affected, hence the importance of proper pronunciation.

Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit

Om bhur bhuvah svah
tat savitur varenyam
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yonah prachodayat


Oh God!  Thou art the Giver of Life,
Remover of pain and sorrow,
The Bestower of happiness,
Oh!  Creator of the Universe,
May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,
May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.

The Meaning of each word of the Gayatri Mantra

tat – that (God)
savitur – of the sun
varenyam – the best
bhargo (bhargas) – light, illumination
devasya – divine
dhimahi – let us meditate
dhiyo (dhiyah) - thought(s)
yo (yah) – which
nah – of us, our
prachodayat – May it push, inspire

I learned to chant the Gayatri mantra by listening to and chanting with Deva Premal.  Deva Premal has a beautiful voice and rhythm that transport me to that place of divine Peace.

Martha Salazar

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Review: WiseMind/Open Mind by Ronald A. Alexander

This author has provided us with a deluxe edition about Mindfulness, how to use it and how to apply it when changes in life have resulted in an emotional upheaval.  He provides a step by step plan to assist you with staying focused on the light at the end of a tunnel when you are in the ebb and flow of all kinds of emotional experiences related to loss, depression, grief and change of all degrees and intensity. You will find specific meditation exercises, flow charts to fill in, and specific steps to follow.  I really enjoyed his metaphor of one's life being like a mandala.  He offers several tools and insights in how to create and change your life mandala in a positive, life-affirming way.  Creativity is emphasized as a way of awakening "Open Mind".  He discusses something the calls "Mindstrength - the ability to very quickly and easily shift out of reactive mode, and become fully present in the moment, experiencing the full force of your emotions even as you recognize that they are temporary and will soon dissipate."  I found this to be such a helpful guide because I admit that I get lost in the emotional river and often lose sight that it is only temporary.  He teaches Mindfulness as a way of life, especially when major change is afoot.  I would describe the experience of reading this work like finding a life preserver in a swirling sea of emotion during change and loss.  Grab on, it could very well save you from drowning.

Review by Sanna Rose, RScP

WiseMind/Open Mind is available from Stepping Stones Books and Gifts

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