Ashwagandha: Natural Stress Relief And Much More!

Stress relief ashwagandha herb and supplements on a tablerbs

Stress relief ashwagandha herb and supplements on a tablerbs

What’s Ashwagandha? 

 

Withania somnifera, otherwise known as ashwagandha, is an evergreen shrub originating in India, parts of Africa, and the Middle East. Its roots and fruits are highly revered and often used in Ayurvedic medicine, one of the oldest holistic medicinal approaches in the world. 

 

This ancient medicinal herb has found its way into modern-day uses as well thanks to its whole body healing properties. Easily found in supplement form at your local grocery store, ashwagandha is probably best known for its ability to relieve stress. 

 

But Ashwagandha has plenty of other uses, too! Over recent years, this herb has been seeing an increase in popularity across Western medicine, all due to its effectiveness.

 

So why should you include it in your daily, self-care regime?

 

Reduces Arthritis Pain

 

A study conducted in India found that participants with rheumatoid arthritis reported fewer tender & swollen joints, lower pain scores, decreased self-assessed disability scores, and reduced ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) scores

 

ESR refers to a measure of inflammation in a patient and is tested by how fast red blood cells sediment (or settle) at the bottom of a test tube over the course of an hour. Normal cells sediment in a relatively slow fashion, but people that experience a lot of inflammation (like those with rheumatoid arthritis) will find that red blood cells settle much faster.  

 

Its anti-inflammatory properties are well documented across many animal studies, as its healing effects continue to impress scientists worldwide. Ashwagandha’s anti-inflammatory properties are fantastic for people with severe joint pain. 

 

It is also believed to assist in preventing pain signals from traversing the central nervous system, meaning that overall pain is also reduced. 

 

Boosts Your Immune System 

 

Ashwagandha’s has the remarkable ability to reduce inflammation, yet it plays a much larger role than just aiding with arthritic pain.

 

Ashwagandha can decrease c-reactive proteins (CRP) in your blood, a common inflammation marker. CRP is a protein created in the liver and released into the bloodstream as a response to inflammation. Increased levels lead to swelling, pain, and all those other uncomfortable symptoms that come with it. 

 

This medicinal herb has also made notable results toward the improvement of immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells. These NK cells are a type of lymphocyte (white blood cell) and part of the innate immune system important for rejecting virus-infected cells and tumors. By increasing the number of these NK cells, ashwagandha assists your immune system in fighting illness.

 

Improves Strength & Muscle Mass 

 

That’s right, adding ashwagandha to your life might help you get fit and drop some extra pounds!

 

After 8 weeks of administering a root extract, participants saw their speed and muscle strength increase by almost 10%, in comparison to the placebo group. 

 

Another 30-day study saw a significant increase in muscle activity and more than doubled their body fat reduction percentage

 

Increases Fertility in Men 

 

Give your little swimmers a fighting chance!

 

The use of ashwagandha resulted in higher sperm counts and increased sperm mobility during the course of one infertility study of men. It also leads to higher testosterone levels, a key component of a healthy reproductive system in men. 

 

Not only that, but the herb can increase the quality of sperm over time. One 3-month study saw a 14% rise in partner pregnancy after introducing ashwagandha supplements!

 

 

Helps with Cancer Treatment 

 

The herb has been used to induce apoptosis (cell death) in cancerous cells, (just like garlic!). By reducing the cells’ ability to resist this death stage, it can slow or stop the spread of cancer. 

 

Ashwagandha also interrupts new cancer cell growth, an important step in treating the disease. The herb interrupts the functions of cancer cells by increasing internal formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

 

While human studies are still ongoing, research conducted on mice with ovarian tumors found that ashwagandha not only prevented the cancer’s spread to other vital organs but also resulted in a 70-80% reduction in tumor growth. And this occurred whether the herb was provided as the only treatment or in conjunction with other cancer medications! 

 

Improves Brain Function 

 

Ashwagandha helps protect us from failing memory and general brain function degradation. It’s given to patients in traditional Ayurveda who need to boost their memory. Why does it have this effect? 

 

Free radicals are molecules that are harmful to the body in large numbers. Damage they cause leads to a variety of degenerative diseases and issues such as cancer, asthma, senile dementia, atherosclerosis, degenerative eye disease, and more. Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants which target these free radicals and destroy them. 

 

Ashwagandha have been proven to promote antioxidant activity, meaning free radicals have a much more difficult time attacking our bodies and we stay healthier. 

 

One study conducted over 2 months with 50 adult participants gave 300 mg of ashwagandha to one group and a placebo to the second. After receiving this dose twice a day for the duration of the study, the group consuming ashwagandha showed significant improvement to attention, general memory, and even task performance

 

Performance, choice discrimination, and reaction time was also improved by adding ashwagandha supplements into the daily routine in another study. Twenty healthy adult men were given 250 mg of this herbal extract twice a day (so 500 mg total per day) over the course of 2 weeks. The improvements were observed through testing, both before the program started and after the study was finished. 

 

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels 

 

Reducing blood sugar is important for optimal muscle health, fighting diabetes, and overall well-being

 

While research is still ongoing, several studies have already shown ashwagandha’s ability to improve blood sugar levels.

 

When compared to patients who received placebo pills, those who took ashwagandha supplements saw a lower average fasting blood sugar level. The study involved schizophrenic patients over the course of 4 weeks. 

 

 

Improves Stress and Anxiety 

 

Of all ashwagandha’s healing abilities, it’s probably best known for its efficacy for reducing a person’s stress and anxiety. Animal studies found that it regulated chemical signaling in the nervous system, in turn blocking stress pathways to the brain.

 

It can also alleviate symptoms of both acute and chronic stress and anxiety. 

 

Insomnia (a common stress and anxiety side effect) and anxiety were reduced by 69% for chronic stress patients who took an ashwagandha supplement. And after only 60 days! The placebo group, for comparison, only saw an 11% reduction in the same amount of time. 

 

Another incredible study involving 39 participants found that over 6 weeks, 88% of the group receiving ashwagandha supplements reported lessening anxiety

 

This healing herb is also a good option for improving stress and anxiety because it can lower your cortisol levels. Cortisol is released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. If those levels become inflated (or even stay that way because of chronic stress), you can also start to see other side effects such as more fat collecting in your abdomen and increased blood sugar levels. 

 

After just 60 days another research group of adults diagnosed with chronic stress lowered their cortisol levels by an average of 30%.

 

So by adding this herb to your daily routine, it can not only combat the toxic cortisol levels but also promotes regulated chemical signaling for the nervous system. 

 

Summary 

 

Like many other traditional Ayurvedic herbs, ashwagandha has seen an increase in popularity among western medicine in recent years. It improves a variety of body-wide functions, like boosting your immune system and memory, while reducing stress and anxiety levels. 

 

Just make sure that while you’re keeping your body healthy, you keep your mind and spirit healthy too!

 

Daily meditation and prayer can also uplevel your vibrations and help you feel at the top of your game. Use these free rituals, mantras, prayers, and more to awaken yourself and become more in tune with the world and universe around you

 

Start empowering yourself now and feel a lifetime of change as you shift your reality for the better! 

 

Remember that you are the embodiment of light and love! Seek forgiveness of everything, own your power, set boundaries, stand strong in the face of challenges, and remain drenched in gratitude!

Thor, Oden, Freya & Loki: The Gods That Powered The Vikings

 

If you’ve fallen in love with Viking ideology, I can relate! After watching the show “Vikings,” I am even more in love with how this culture most likely connected with nature, each other, and the Gods. While not perfectly historically accurate, the series awakened an ancient part of me, one that connects with my Norwegian roots. I am deeply grateful for the spirit of The Vikings within me – which is found throughout creation.

Viking prayers are more akin to prose and poem than prayer. They also require action, in the forms of rituals. This is why I suggest so many rituals on my website – these are powerful ways to transform ourselves. When we perform rituals with the purest of intentions, we create protected, high-vibration portals that connect us with all positive aspects and trajectories within our spacetime arenea. Doing so, we invite all Goodness throughout all spacetime to join us in our endeavor.

When Vikings reached to the Gods, it was to pay homage and commune, rather than what Christians came to create – worship. As a pagan, you will only rarely worship something. Moreso, as a pagan, you recognize you are connected to everything, and every aspect is a brother, sister, or partner Light-Being on your quest to merge with and celebrate all of creation.

As a Viking, you would want to inspire the Gods to hear you and see you – and eventually take a specific action in your life. By chanting their names and declaring your hopes, you awaken the Gods to come to your aid and fulfill your dreams and ambitions.

It’s true – when we call good forces to our aid, they are loyal and they will remain with us to the end of each particular pursuit.

BE BRAVE! Call out to the Gods and make your humble request. They are listening!

When reading these, you can almost feel the desires, yearnings, and pains in their hearts.  By feeling these aspects, we empathize with all of creation. Doing so, we are invited to step into these ancient days when magic and myth were the orders of the day.

Here are some beautiful Viking poems found on a lovely and informative pagan website. These samples were written by Diana L. Paxson in this article.

Hail to thee Day, hail, ye Day’s sons;
hail Night and daughter of Night,
with blithe eyes look on both of us,
and grant to those sitting here victory!
Hail Aesir, hail Asynjur!
Hail Earth that givest to all!
Goodly spells and speech bespeak we from you,
and healing hands in this life!

(Sigdrifumál:2-3)

Phol and Wuodan rode to the wood;
then Balder’s horse sprained its leg.
Then Siðgunt sang over it and Sunna her sister,
then Frija sang over it and Volla her sister,
then Wuodan sang over it, as he well knew how,
over this bone-sprain, this blood-sprain, this limb-sprain:
bone to bone,
blood to blood,
limb to limb,
such as they belong together.

(trans. Storm, p. 109)

Calling to the Gods is our right. After all, they somehow earned their status among us. Having lived human lives merged with their divine skills, they know what it feels like to love and bleed. Calling them into our lives can enhance our sense of power and help us bring to life our desires.

Whatever You Name Them, Own Your Connection To The Divine!

Odin (also known as Wōden, Wuodan, Wuotan, and Wuotan) is the lord of frenzy, knowledge, death, royalty, war, victory, sorcery, and poetry. A powerful God, one of the oldest and most primary, is also known as the husband to the goddess Frigg. What a POWER-COUPLE!

Thor, the might warrior, was (is) so powerful, he was able to bring to life his divine tool, the hammer known as Mjollnir (or Lightning). He used this hammer to protect his Asgard from the giants.

Freya, the goddess of the birds, used her falcon feathers to shape a falcon to help her protect her people.

Loki, the shape-shifter could quickly surprise and outwit the many rodents who came to unseat the Gods and their people. Thrym, the chief of the giants didn’t stand a chance against these divine Beings. Thor’s goat-drawn chariot would also serve them well.

You are an abundant servant to the light. Step into your role as a giver and lover of grace and goodness. You are lovely in every way. Own it!

THE HAIL MARY PRAYER: A POWERFUL INVOCATION OF THE DIVINE MOTHER

 

 

••••

Hail Mary,

Full of grace

The Lord is with Thee

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus

Holy Mary, Mother of God

Pray for us sinners

Now and at the hour of our death

Amen

••••

PRAYER WORKS! GOD LOVES YOU! MARY LOVES YOU!

This is one of the sweetest and loveliest prayers ever written. It asks that we connect with the Divine Mother in the form of Mary, mother of Jesus. We honor this divine soul, and we ask that She pray for all of us who are imperfect.

When we pray for others, the Universe prays for us. When we seek intercession, we are saying to God, “I invite all the help I can get!” When you pray the Hail Mary earnestly and softly, you will open your heart and merge with the divine, even if only for a moment.

By praying this prayer, you awaken your inner feminine, and you request that the eternal loving and nurturing masters bless, envelop, and protect you.

Remember that in your times of need, God is holding your hand and helping you evolve. It’s for this reason that we accept all challenges and goodness as blessings. As we evolve, expand, and liberate, we help others to do the same.

You are a beautiful aspect of this Universe. God created you to experience Herself through your eyes. It is an honor to have this life. You need not be perfect. You need not be happy. One must only be eager to hope and love with abandon. The rest will flow according to God’s grace.

Who Was Mary, Mother Of Jesus?

Mary was the wife of Joseph the carpenter, born into the Hebrew faith. Mary was also the Mother of Jesus, “Yeshua of Nazareth. ” It is believed that Mary conceived and gave birth to Jesus through a divine, virgin, “immaculate” conception.

Mary is an embodiment of The Divine Mother, the eternal feminine force who continues to bless and nurture all of creation. She merged with the divine upon accepting the role of Mother of Jesus. From there, she lived a holy and spiritually enriching life.

Amma, known as The Hugging Saint, and Mother Meera are known to be born as The Divine Mother.

Guan Yin, the Buddhist goddess, is also said to be a manifestation of The Divine Mother. And there are many others! We are so blessed!

Remember that you were born from love. It is your nature. Love yourself so that you can then love and serve others. This is the only path. You can do it!

The other important Mary in Jesus’s life is Mary Magdelene, one of His first disciples. She was also known as Mary of Magdala. Following Jesus’s death, Mary is believed to have traveled through the world sharing the teachings and gospels of Jesus. In the Gnostic gospels, the writings rarely included in the bible, it is understood that Jesus saw Mary as the most spiritually advanced member of his early church. She was to be the next container and teacher in his lineage. While Jesus and Mary may also have been lovers and partners, and may have birthed children together, the most important aspect here is that Jesus saw Mary as an equal.

THE DIVINE MOTHER

There are many stories of The Divine Mother appearing throughout human history. In Hinduism, there are spiritual masters and avatars who come to live their lives as human beings. Amma, The Hugging Saint, is known as the Divine Mother, as are Mother Meera and Sri Anandamayi Ma. There have been many throughout time who have taken human form to teach, heal, and illuminate the world.

In Hindu, Egyptian, and other teachings, far more ancient than Christianity, there are many instances of virgin births, including:

Plato: Many Greeks believed that his mother Perictione was a virgin who mated with the Gods to produce Plato, an enlightened man who would illuminate society.

Huitzilopochtli: In Mexico, this spirit is known to be the God of War who was conceived by a virgin mother.

Rama: His mother conceived him by drinking a sacred potion that was delivered to her by the god Vishnu.

Jason: Son to the known virgin Persephone, later killed by Zeus.

Hina: A Tahitian goddess who conceived her child by walking under leaves that were being entranced and moved by God.

Silvia: She was the wife of Septimius Marcellus. Her procreation partner was said to be the god Mars.

Kneph: As a disembodied and holy spirit, the god Kneph is said to have impregnated a precious virgin by holding a mystical cross near to her mouth.

Attis: Born from his mother, the virgin Nana, he is the Phrygian god.

THE DIVINE SELF

Remember that all divine Beings came to this planet to enlighten and inform us of our potential. You are unlimited in every direction. There is nothing holding you back except your mind. Release the mind and dive within, seeking only divine bliss.

You are a lovely spark of light. Allow yourself to embrace this aspect of yourself. Allow yourself to love yourself. Allow, allow, allow. When we bow to the divine in ourselves and others, we honor all of creation.

Stay positive, choose happiness, and always reach toward the light!

May All The Beings, In All The Worlds,

Throughout All The Realms, BE HAPPY!

Starting Your Day Right With H.I.I.T. Exercise

Fit woman completing a H.I.I.T Exercise

 

Fit woman completing a H.I.I.T Exercise
A Shutterstock Licensed Image.

Most people struggle to adhere to an extensive workout routine, and to be fair, it can be difficult to find time to drive to a local gym and exercise everyday. While most Gym-Rats will argue that heavy lifting and high protein is the only proven way to get in shape, there are many different exercises that can provide lasting benefits. Some of them can even expand your self-awareness, empathy, and consciousness. 

If you haven’t already read about Kundalini Yoga and its miraculous benefits, consider reading my article on how yoga can be used to improve your energetic-body and vibration. If you are already incorporating meditation, yoga, and a healthy diet into your life, but still lack energy later in your day, you might find yourself renewed by adding a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout to your morning. 

Not only will this workout provide a much-needed boost and mood-enhancement, the long-term health and life benefits are wonderful. 

You’ve Been Doing It Wrong

For years, industries have touted the benefits that can be derived from ongoing, endurance training. Running long distances and working out for extended periods of time has long been considered the gold standard for people who are trying to lose weight and get in shape. The truth is that drawn out repetitive exercises are great for developing muscle memory and improving those specific movements. 

Unfortunately, many people are not interested in running times and maxing out their bench press. Most are just trying to improve their health and recover the energy levels of their youth. Unless you are trying to perfect a specific workout, endurance training isn’t the best way to spend your precious time. In fact, for some, it can be damaging. 

Instead of running yourself ragged on a bike or treadmill for hours a day, beating the daylights out of your feet, knees, prostate, and ‘tuches’ (yiddish is so delightful!), consider turning your body into an energy producing machine! Train it to utilize the energy you’ve already stored. 

I’m talking about the stubborn fat sitting on your muscles, which is akin to that cousin who “stops by,” then stays for a year.

HIIT is a workout method that tricks your body into using leftover energy throughout the day – including all that presumptuous fat. People who start HIIT find themselves teeming with energy, replacing the need for caffeine and other stimulants, all of which can be addicting. 

That said, a little espresso and dark chocolate is good for the soul!

 The Exercise

Start the day by waking up and diving directly into an intermittent fast. Well, maybe diving is the wrong word, since fasting upon rising means you wouldn’t eat anything when you first wake up. 

In Ayurvedic medicine, you might start with a little fruit to start your engines, but for HIIT, we’ll focus on the procedures that seem to be working for thousands of people throughout the world.

If you feel wildly famished, consider having a light snack, something like half a banana, a cup of yogurt, or a protein shake. In this case, to honor the fast, you wouldn’t have 3 eggs and sausages. Keep the snack small and avoid unnecessary carbs and sugar. The goal is to keep your body in a fasted (or fasting) state when you start the workout. 

Keep in mind that if you fill up on food, especially bread and grains, the workout will only burn the energy from your last meal, rather than the fat stored, the latter of which will lighten your load and boost your energy throughout the day.

Finding a location to workout can be tricky. It can be difficult to separate your personal time from the children, pets, and spouses that tend to drift through the room from time to time. 

If the gym is the only place you can focus on working out, that’s fine, use it. Many personal trainers recommend working outdoors in a park or field, but HIIT can be performed in any space where there is enough room to lay down and stretch out. 

A quick search for HIIT exercises will reveal a plethora of fun and exciting routines to follow, but they all adhere to the same simple guidelines.

Here are the basics of a HITT workout routine:

  •       Continually perform a series of quick burst-movements for 30 seconds to 2 minutes
  •       Engage in a second series of unique movements for the same time period
  •       Allow for 30 seconds of active recovery
  •       Repeat the process 3 times, 4 if you’re feeling feisty

After the exercise is repeated, you are permitted to enjoy an additional few minutes to rest and drink water. Typically, this cycle is repeated with another few exercises to give attention to each muscle group. 

 

 

Here is a very basic routine to get you started:

    20 Jumping Jacks
 20 Mountain Climbers
30 seconds of Toe Touches (active rest)
Repeat x3

2 min of rest  

    1 min of Pushups (On knees if too difficult)
30 seconds of Star Jumps
30 seconds Arm Circle (active rest)
Repeat x3

2 min of rest

    20 Lunges
45 secs of Running in Place
30 sec of Butt Kicks (active rest)
Repeat x3

 2 min of rest

 

You might be thinking that Toe Touches, Arm Circles, and Butt Kicks don’t sound like much of a rest, but the goal of this workout is to cycle between moments of higher and lower heart rates. During these times of “Active Rests,” don’t over-exert yourself. Keep moving, while considering that the burst exercises the main workout. 

By engaging this workout (prior to allowing the heart to come to a complete rest,) the body starts to anticipate the next workout. When the body is tricked into being ready for the next burst of energy, it burns more energy – even while it a sedentary position! 

Imagine that – you burn calories while resting! Isn’t that awesome?!  

The beauty of HIIT is that it takes very little time, yet provides lasting benefits throughout the day. By the end of your exercises, your metabolism will kick-start and your body will purge stored fats, rather than cementing your massive breakfast into the linings of your stomach.

After you complete the workout, continue your day as usual. Have breakfast, you’ll probably be hungry, and notice the extra energy you have throughout the rest of your day.

What you might find is that your mindset, attitude, meditation, and relationships will all benefit from your HITT workouts. This leads to a happier and longer life. 

The Trifecta: HIIT, Keto, and Intermittent Fasting

While Keto can be difficult, and dangerous, for some. There is no denying the many remarkable benefits you can achieve by shifting your metabolism to burn fat, instead of carbs. If you do reap the benefits of Keto cycles, HIIT can help you recover quickly from the dreaded Keto-Flu. Burst-training in the morning will help flush your body of any remaining carbohydrates that are preventing you from entering ketosis. 

If you can’t follow a Keto diet, or just don’t want to cut out all the delicious carbs and starches, HIIT is still a great way to take advantage of the body’s natural sleep cycle. When waking up, the body hasn’t consumed anything in several hours. Residual glucose has been shuttled into cells or turned into adipose tissue, commonly known as fat. In the moment, you feel hungry because there is no readily available energy. By denying food before working out, muscles are forced to turn stored fuels into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In effect, HIIT exercises train your body to use the energy it has, instead of craving new food to provide more. 

The fact that HIIT helps your body run more efficiently is exactly the reason intermittent fasting boosts all those wonderful benefits. Fasting reminds the body that food isn’t always available, and in times of fasting, the body should look inwardly for energy. Anytime energy is required without food, weight loss is the result. 

While HIIT and fasting result in initial weight loss, it is important to avoid sending the body into starvation mode. Let’s not get crazy, okay? And if you’re not sure how healthy you are – or are not – please check with your doctor. Yes, science is real, unlike the boogie monster and Q. Okay?

Starvation vs. Success

 It can be tempting to deny yourself food to lose weight, but HIIT is only successful if the body is rewarded for the residual energy burned. 

If denied sustenance, the body can enter starvation mode. This is when the brain thinks there is no food in the future and chooses to break down muscles to produce energy. It can go into fight or flight mode. 

It does this to protect the essential fats in the system, keep in mind the brain is 60% fat. Which is why, if anyone calls you a fat-head – say THANK YOU SO MUCH!

With muscles degraded and estrogen levels spiking, fat cells are reserved for emergency stores. The result is a loss of muscle fibers and an increase of fat, something almost nobody wants.

 To avoid the starvation pitfall, and the possible health repercussions, consider eating only moderately sized meals after your workouts. Since it’s so quickly metabolized and relatively light in the system, this is the goal of the coveted protein shake. Because there is an energy deficit immediately following workouts, the body replaces the energy lost in our muscles, instead of placing it in storage, your tummy. 

 Like most things in life, moderation is key. Through training, the body will start looking to fat for energy, which increases the energy you have available throughout the day. This also suppresses overeating later in the afternoon. This means, at around 3pm, you might only eat 1 bag of potato chips versus 3!

Long-Term Effects of HIIT

 Many people who start HIIT report feeling more energetic that same day, but through continual practice, the changes can have a lasting, positive impact on heart health, libido, circadian rhythm, sleep, and levels of happiness.

 Starting the day with blood pumping action has multiple benefits. If the workout is done the same time everyday, you might find yourself throwing out the alarm clock. Without even one chirp from your Magic Bird-Watcher’s Alarm Clock, your body will be ready to move at the same time it did yesterday. The extra energy gained from burning fat will make you feel awake even if the day has barely started.

 Sure, HIIT focuses on retraining the metabolic pathways of energy, but it also teaches the heart to cycle effectively between moments of high activity and low activity. Any cardio conditioning results in a stronger, more efficient heart. A stronger heart and lower heart rate lessens the chance of heart attack, blood clots, and stroke. 

Together with a mindful diet, HIIT has allowed many older adults to recover energy and health thought to belong to only younger folks. If you’re ready to improve your health, attitude, relationships, and productivity, give HIIT a try! You might add 5 minutes of meditation and prayer to your HITT, both before and after. This will triple the overall energetic value you’ll be giving to your system. 

 

STAY POSITIVE AND LOVE YOURSELF! THANK YOU FOR READING! PLEASE SHARE!

 

 

 

What Happens When We Die

 

Everyone is fascinated by death. We’re entranced when we see it in movies, we anticipate it when thinking of our elders, and we wonder what might become of us, upon our demise. 

When I learned to consciously exit my body long ago, I remember feeling a subtle death upon every exit. Perhaps this was my body and soul remembering what souls do – they enter, interact for a time, and eventually leave. 

Exiting my body and moving through walls, wandering into other rooms, or jetting across the city, I would be conscious of the living, physical body that I had left behind. While in the midst of these out-of-body journeys, I would often crave my body and wonder if it was safe from harm. 

I eventually came to realize that our souls are incredibly pure and they love our bodies. After some experiences with other out-of-body spirits, I would understand that our bodies can easily be inhabited and controlled by other spirits. Our job is to protect our souls AND our bodies.

After sensing shadowy souls in my midst, I chose to stop exiting my body for sport and came to respect this life as a miracle. After many exits and journeys, I choose to never exit my body again. 

Going forward and through to today, I am fascinated by the notion of a physical form (my body) and a spirit (my soul) coming together, merging, and having experiences together. This is absolutely amazing to me. When putting these experiences into the hopper labeled Death, I am even more entranced by the notion. 

 

“The soul is unborn and eternal, everlasting and primeval. It is not slain by the slaying of the body.”

— Bhagavad Gita 2.20

 

While some of us think about death all the time (heck, I certainly do!), others wait until their physical bodies are failing them or moments prior to their final breath. 

You might be devoted to a specific religion because you fear death or hope your deity will protect you when you are thrust from your physical body. You might see death as a joke or a new beginning. You might view the life-death event as something that concludes upon your death or you might imagine the life-death cycle to continue ad Infinitum. 

Regardless of how you might imagine death or contemplate the temporary nature of your current, physical existence, passing beyond this life is inevitable. In some cases, it might even be enviable. And while death has a mystique that appears evasive and elusive, it is certainly something you can come to understand. 

Every major religion makes attempts at defining the course of activities and realities we’ll experience upon our deaths, but Hinduism seems to approximate death better than all other religions and ideologies. With no inherent judgment in the lingo or proposed persecution, like we might find in the world’s other most popular religions, and delivered in such a matter-of-fact manner, much of these writings appear more plausible and based on real-world experience. I love that about Hinduism. 

What Is Brahman?

Hindu scriptures teach us that Brahman is the ultimate and sole reality. It is the singular, undivided, living consciousness, embodying all aspects within and without, above and beyond, physical and non-physical, material and non-material, breathing and non-breathing, and throughout all realities and realms, inclusive of and far beyond spacetime. There is no “other,” there is only Brahman. 

The Journey Of Jivas.

A jiva is a soul, like you and me, and the embodiment of a distinct aspect within the eternal nature of Brahman. Brahman is pure and unchanging. Jivas diverge upon every birth. They are cloaked in Maya or earthly desires, and their derivatives, which means they are ignorant, or varying degrees thereof. 

The state of a Jiva or soul is such that each is generally unable to recognize its oneness with the All-That-Is or Brahman, yet they act within their realities like chaotic particles in three-dimensional space. Brahman is foundational to reality, as it IS reality. Jivas most often experience Brahman as a sideshow, an idea, rather than the ultimate expansiveness inherent within them. 

While liberated souls like Amma and other enlightened Beings will merge with All-Consciousness upon passing from this life, the rest of us will most likely have a different path. That said, anything is possible!

Amma, The Hugging Saint, found at Amma.org, says this about death: “There is a very subtle sheath covering our gross, physical bodies. All of our thoughts are imprinted in this layer. Like a tape recorder, this covering records all acts which we do mentally, verbally, and physically while we are alive. This forms a covering of thoughts.”

This cloak is durable and it’s energetically magnetized to our spirit, soul, or jiva. When we exit our bodies, this Maya or layer comes with us. As we rise out of our bodies and into the non-physical eternal planes of existence, we are still connected to and can interact with the physical planes. This means that, upon our deaths, we can choose to become traveling ghosts, off to seek adventures throughout the realms! I can imagine flying through the skies across eternity!

This might sound more positive than it is. If we’re wandering around like ghosts, we’re probably missing a well-formed, congruent, or elevated intention. Without this type of intention, we might continue to wander aimlessly and indefinitely. The same can be said for our real-world lives in this three-dimensional reality, here on Earth. This is why the Hindu and Buddhist texts encourage deep contemplation and spiritual exercises near to and just prior to our deaths. 

After we die to this physical body, rather than wandering, we might rise to a particular plane of existence that is akin to our actions during our lifetimes or in line with the vibration of our focus at the moment of our deaths. Wherever we might arrive in the other realms and planes, the soul, or jiva has no physical form. It is not recognizable to having recently lived a life in a physical body. While the outer layers of thought and Maya might appear in human-shaped forms, these forms are temporary and do not represent the nature of the jiva or soul. 

As a jiva, and regardless of whether or not we are cloaked in memorable forms, we still might feel thirst and hunger. This is due to the tendencies of our most recent lives. These can dissipate over time. 

“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our “biography,” our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… 

It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?

Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?”

― Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying 

If we have lived a spiritually-focused life and released many of our desires prior to our deaths, we might rise to beautiful realms where other souls equal to or more expanded than our natures might exist. 

In most cases though, when we are traversing from this life to the next, we tend to carry some of our unfulfilled desires with us. Since desires are imaginary and born from mind and ego (both temporary structures), the magnetic natures of our desires will attract and pull emptiness into our spheres. 

This emptiness will feel like a mid-ocean, where nothing feels real or possible. It’s in this space that we might feel direction- and purposeless. Given our spiritual tendencies from prior lives, we can move beyond these oceans. If we have been devotional to a master or guru, we will have better chances at evolving our souls when existing within or visiting the mid-oceans.

These jivas or souls are not innocents. They might even carry intentions and demands akin to our noisy neighbors and imagined enemies. To appease and exercise their desires and attitudes, they might attack other living Beings and people. They do this by moving within the breath of other individuals and life-forms. 

As the living Being breathes, the jiva-entities can move into and throughout soul’s that physical body or the soul itself. By doing so, disembodied jivas have the ability to destroy a weak-minded jiva’s consciousness. They might even push them to eat and act according to their wills. This type of attack is only possible when the living Being has no boundaries, awareness, or mental ability to protect themselves. 

“Two birds sitting in the tree (the body). One bird, the jiva is enjoying the fruits of the tree and the other the Paramatma is watching the jiva.” 

— Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (4.7)

The Soul’s Options Upon Death

Jivas (you and me after death) have options when we are living in the other realms and planes. Soon after our physical deaths, we might immediately choose another body to enter, thereby starting a brand new life. Upon entry into the new life form, we will adopt unique and new layers of thoughts, intentions, attitudes, and personalities. As we are born into and experience the cultural aspects of that body’s existence, our minds, hearts, and identities morph to appease the attributes of those cultural, societal, religious, and family-story projections.

Jivas do not often enter the bodies while the physical forms (babies) are within the womb. It is most often just prior to birth that the soul (jiva) infuses itself into the meat of the body. The jiva does this through the baby’s breath or the child’s first meals. 

In all, a jiva’s post-death journey, spiritual up-leveling, and new-birth potential will be dependent upon the karma they have yet to resolve during all of their prior lifetimes. A soul will continue birthing and rebirthing until all desires and energetic, karmic attachments are dissolved or eliminated. This notion should inspire us to live according to dharmic ideologies, whereby we remain unattached and unimpeded by life’s conditions. 

Upon our death, we can be uplifted, and our jivas can be healed through the rituals and prayers of those we left behind. By chanting certain mantras throughout our lifetimes and with the help of others chanting mantras after our deaths, we can receive higher levels of birth and more expanded planes of existence. Mostly, rituals, mantras, and prayers will help our jivas to stop their wandering – in this life and in the afterlife. 

“If the tip of the hair were to be divided into one hundred parts and each part was divided into 100 more parts, that would be the dimension of the Jiva (soul)”. 

— Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (5.9)

Catholicism & Christianity On Death

In Catholicism and many factions of Christianity, it’s less about the laws of nature and spirit, and more about judgment. Since consciousness is pervasive and comprises God (and all eternal Beings), the idea of judgment is obsolete. Nevertheless, many Catholics believe they are judged upon their death, all according to how they lived. Based on a life’s merit, a soul is then sent to either Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. 

When souls live according to “God’s plan” or the “bible,” then they go to Heaven. If they were dark and lived antithetical to God’s law, then they will go to Hell. Anybody sitting in the middle of the spectrum will be awarded Purgatory, a place where they can go so prayers and their own revised intentions can help them up-level or downlevel. 

While these teachings have remnants of the organic truths of spirit, they define God and Consciousness as predominantly judgmental, rather than loving. That said, even Hinduism notes that our actions and intentions will result in various forms of karma, all of which must be dissolved to achieve higher states of consciousness. 

Osho, Chogyam Trungpa, Yogi Bhajan, and today’s Amma all encourage people to express themselves through art and creativity. The reason they do this is twofold: to bring more bliss into the world and to express desires so they will eventually dissolve. It is absolutely true that all desires eventually dissolve. 

Unfortunately, there are so many desires to accrue, we might never work through all of them. This is why the goal is to reach beyond desire and into the bosom of the Divine. This is where we will experience our most expanded and liberated natures. 

“Neither fire, nor wind, birth, or death can erase our good deeds.”

— The Buddha

How Do Thoughts Form Layers That Surround Our Jivas (Souls)?

Every thought, intention, and action that we allow ourselves to participate in has an energetic footprint. This footprint is magnetic in nature and it actually carries some weight. Yes, it has mass. This mass is something that we birth each time we conjure a thought and every time we engage in an action. 

We’re all young wizards and witches trying to embody brews that lean toward positive vibrations. We can be sneaky and egoistic. Most of us, even amid our prayers are hopeful that the recent dirty deed we performed had gone unnoticed. We love to ‘get away with it’ or get our way with things. It’s a lovely dream, but it’s an illusion. 

We can’t get away with anything. The challenge is that our minds are so adept at creating confusion, projections, selfish desires, and a variety of sugary, soul-numbing sweets, we might continue like this for generations, if not, eons. 

The trick is to be mindful of every thought and then release it. Watch the thoughts bubble upward and then disappear. We need not take action on every little fart that homesteads in our tired, narcissistic noggins. We can just allow our minds to create and allow our spirits to watch these creations dissolve into nothingness. 

After all, we are nothing. We are conjured little movies that reside nowhere. While the Akashic Records can record details, once they occur, they no longer exist. Yet, while the past is like a canceled check, the remnants of our past, if mired in karma, will be seated at our dinner tables for lifetimes to come. 

What Can We Do To Continually And Lovingly Clear Our Souls In Preparation For  Spiritual Life & Eventual Conscious Death?

While we are here on earth to participate in activities and exhaust our desires, we are also here to have a little bit of fun. The challenge is to embody bliss and love while also never hurting ourselves or others throughout the process. 

Through the courses of human interactions, it becomes quite probable that you’ll fuck up. You might mess up so badly that you can’t imagine clearing that from your “permanent record.” 

Luckily, it’s all purgeable. Every thought, intention, action, relationships, and projection is extinguishable through prayer, meditation, devotion to the divine, and conscious action. All of these things will offset your bad deeds. 

You might say something horrible to someone, burn a bridge in technicolor, or perseverate on vengeance throughout multiple lifetimes. 

While living our wonderful lives, we might prepare for death in subtle and spiritual ways. We have many options when it comes to modalities that lead to liberation.  

     — Meditate for 10 minutes in the morning and evening

     — Pray for others. When we do this, the universe prays for us.

     — Invite Light-Beings & Masters to help you with your evolution.

     — Choose a living Master, a guru, to help you evolve during this lifetime. 

     — Do Kundalini Yoga, alone at home, and with focused attention.

     — Forgive everything as quickly as possible. 

     — Pray for your soul and ask others to do the same.

     — Remember God in everything you do. 

I know this list is a tall order, but it’s a lovely set of activities to invite into your life. Even a little effort will spark God’s reach to penetrate your heart and life with divine light. Allow Her/Him/Them to merge with you in your every thought and action. 

You Are A Limitless And Expanded Soul!

Once you realize your limitlessness, you can formulate the correct levels of hope. From there, you can create game-plans to up-level your jiva’s vibration. With every positive deed and intention comes an improved set of magnets. 

Reach to the divine, be devotional in every way, and afford yourself the forgiveness  you deserve. Afford the same forgiveness to others and release the details of events gone by. If you can move more fluidly throughout your reality, your life will become more effortless and your karma will dissolve according to that lovely, lightness of Being. 

 

God Bless You! Be Strong! Be Wild! Find Clarity! And Enjoy This Life With Love!

 

When Love Is Difficult To Find

We are always looking for experiences outside ourselves. We use these experiences to help us decide whether or not to be happy in any given moment. We continuously seek relationships, with the hope that each one will give us a missing part of ourselves. We buy cars, take trips, cut our hair, and work out. We run from place to place, hoping for at least one moment on this day, we will have a moment of unfettered joy. We might not even care about the joy at this point in our lives. We might simply be yearning for flashes of feeling free. 

Why are these moments of feeling joy and freedom so rare? Why does love and freedom escape us? Why can’t we find love and freedom – right now, right here? What is wrong with me?

First of all, there is nothing wrong with you. Love is the most difficult action we can take in this world. The problem is that we believe love to be a feeling. It’s not. Love is an action. Some of us believe love to involve romance. It doesn’t. There is nothing loving about romance. Romance is a projection that does not involve the other person. It involves what you are projecting onto the other person. It also requires that the other person give you something very specific. When this specific gift is no longer available, neither is the romance. Love is not romance. Romance is not love.

Romance involves neediness, demands, projection, desire, enabling, and passive aggression. Love is simply an action whereby we choose to serve and honor another person. Love is not demanding, needy, or hurtful. And while it’s never complicated, we often complicate it. Instead of looking for love within ourselves, we expect to only experience love from others. We might become so unreasonable that we’ll shame the other person into becoming the exact image of our unreasonable and unconscious idea of love. 

We prefer to objectify our lovers, manipulating them into servitude, rather than educating them by becoming an example of love. As we imprison others, we become imprisoned. 

So, where is all the love that’s available to me? 

Love is only available from source. You are connected to source. Once you become love, you’ll basque in it, which in turn will reflect onto the other people in your life. They still might not meet your secret expectations, but those expectations will pale in comparison to your embodiment of love. As you live in love, you’ll want to serve others – and all the details will fade away. You’ll obsess less, project less, and demand less. You’ll live in the moment more and more, and you’ll be satisfied. When you seek love from within, you achieve a durable, lasting love. It’s a river of love that continues to give – if you allow it. No matter who comes and goes in your life, this love can never be taken away from you. 

Some people believe that God is love. I believe that God is love. I believe that the whole Universe, and all the realms and Universes throughout our ever-expanding creation are one Being, all born from love. We were love long before our physical birth in this life. Some of us might bring former life memories and attitudes into this life, and potentially corrupt it. We might learn bad habits in this life and disconnect from love. Regardless, we can always return to our birthright – LOVE. It’s a choice in every moment of every day. 

What Does It Mean When We Say “No Excuses”?

Throughout our lives, we see many people succeed and many who fail. We might workshop those who reach the tops of mountains, and we might dismiss those who suffer defeat. As we wander the planet pursuing our passions and interests, we might secretly worship one of the world’s “winners” in our mind’s eye, hoping that one day we’ll achieve a status equal to theirs. Amid our own victories and failures, we learn what works and what doesn’t. We either improve, pivot, or die. If we’re honest with ourselves, we might admit that we rarely learn from our mistakes. Because we might be a little stubborn or addicted to behaviors and beliefs, we might never free ourselves from bad habits and misconceptions. It all comes down to our excuses. 

The idea of “no excuses” is simple. You either want to grow and improve your conditions, or you do not. You might want to expand your horizons or keep everything the way it is. If you want to truly change and advance your position in the world, it won’t be easy. It will not only require self-sacrifice and hard work, it will require you moving beyond your temporary self-identity and ego, and into a state of humility, honest, and wonder. If you’re too enthused with your identity and ego, you’ll continue to defend the notion that excuses are real. They are not. 

An excuse is a statement that we use to justify our inability to find pathways to improved conditions. It’s often contrived out of thin air and presented within ourselves in such a way that it brings us shame and lowers our electric vibration. When we have 4 or 5 excuses, we believe we have a legal, defensible case against ourselves and our potential. We then use our minds to take ourselves to spiritual court. Even with the best intentions and most innovative slights of hand, we’ll lose this battle every time. We are too smart for our own good. 

Here are a few reasons why your excuses are contrived fantasies that you’re using to defeat yourself and defend laziness:

1: You have skin, bones, a brain, a heart, and passion. With these elements, you can accomplish nearly anything. What most often happens is that we get distracted and depressed, and we refuse to shift our behaviors toward a more enlightening feeling or position. When you add our addictions to social media to the mix, you have a stew that can only breed mediocrity and complaints. 

2: Your ideas and passions are not that complicated. It’s not like your goal is to fly to a distant nebula on a magical, nuclear, cocktail napkin. Your desires are most likely based in reality, which gives you a fighting chance at bringing them to life. 

3: You have already tried sitting around, complaining, and building a case against yourself.

4: You already know which of the people in your life you no longer value. You’ve been keeping them around so you can feel validated. Its within this codependent model that we grow mental and emotional infections that can prevent us from ever evolving. 

5: You have made mistakes and you have created some unique, winning scenarios. Even with a predominance of failures, you still have enough data to thrust you forward with confidence. 

6: You’re sick of your attitude, so why not try something else?

Whether you believe in reincarnation or not, this life of yours is happening. It’s ON. It’s moving forward with or without you. Why not get over yourself, admit you’re blocked, and choose to change your daily routine so you can advance your life to the next level? Whether you’re in a wheelchair, convalescent home, army barracks, or depressing job, I would guess that all of your excuses are fabrications to justify your incorrect beliefs about yourself. 

Change your beliefs and you change your life. Go get em!

How To Set Boundaries And Sometimes Say Goodbye

 

We’ve all been there – stuck in a relationship with someone who drives us nuts or seeks to harm us. We don’t know how to free ourselves from the chains and bondage. We can’t seem to fathom a life without them, even though they impede our happiness. It’s a serious problem in the world today. With family constructs built upon foundations based on guilt and codependency, we all find it difficult to push back, draw the line, and break ties. But, haven’t you had enough? Aren’t you ready to reconstruct how to think about and enact these things? Do you want a change?

For those of us with big hearts and never-ending pools of energy, setting boundaries can be difficult. We might be in the midst of experiencing something deeply inspiring and truly wonderful, yet somehow we’ll allow an old flame, sibling, or arch-nemesis to mess us up. It’s an old story: “Life was going along so well – until ding-dong came along and hurt me again!” 

It doesn’t have to be this way. 

 

 

How To Set Boundaries With Confidence

1: When the other person is not around, write down how you feel now that you are separate from them. Continue to imagine other scenarios where they are not around and note how you feel. 

2: Make a list of the people who enable this relationship to continue. You know who I’m talking about: the tangential people who appear to be invested in you and the other person being connected. Write down their names and what you believe they continue to receive from you having this relationship.

3: Make a list of how your life would change if this harmful person was no longer in your life.

4: Make a list of the types of people you would prefer to have in your life. You can also list their attributes. 

5: Write an email, letter, or text to the person with whom you want to set boundaries. Share a clear list with them, nothing what the boundaries are, and what life will be like with these new boundaries in place. Ask that they respect your request. If the person is dangerous, send a copy of the communication to your lawyer and best friend. Send the communication and move on. If they have follow-up questions, that’s okay, but set a 24-hour time limit, then hold firm and move on.

6: Write and send emails, letters or texts and tell these people about the new boundaries you’ve set up. Ask them to either support you in this endeavor or remain detached and out of your way. 

7: Remain clear, firm, and positive. Stick to your plan. Release anyone from your life who is not supportive of this pursuit. They don’t deserve you and they might find other ways to trip-you-up in the future. 

Remember: Setting boundaries is about protecting yourself. It is not about offending the other person. While the other person might want to feel offended, it is their illusion to relish or release.

How To Say Goodbye To Someone (maybe forever)

1: Be very clear about how you feel about this person. Make sure that your decision to remove them from your life has come after a long series of events or over many years. 

2: Forget whether or not they deserve one more chance. They probably don’t. 

  1. Write an email, letter, or text to this person outlining (as briefly as possible) why you need to move on without them. In your communication, share what you learned and what you still have not learned. If you can sincerely say “thank you” for something they gave you, do that with an open heart. Don’t gush, just state something positive. Send the communication and move on. If they have follow-up questions, that’s okay, but set a 72-hour time limit, then silence. 
  2. Notify the people whom you both know in common. Ask that they respect your decision. If you need to cite a few reasons, that’s okay. Just don’t vomit all over the page when communicating with these people. Keep it simple and move on.

5: Honor how you feel, release our emotions, and pray for everyone involved. 

It’s difficult to make drastic changes to the relationships in our lives. As we get older, we realize that having 20 friends can be exhausting, but having 1, 2, or 3 best friends can be energizing and freeing. It’s all about freeing yourself so that you can attract and choose positive experiences that bring you clarity, joy, love, and happiness. You can do this. Be clear, honor your feelings, and move on. It’s time.

Is Anger Your Enemy Or Your Friend?

The human mind is so complex, it’s a wonder that we can feel anything at all. When an event occurs in our life, it doesn’t pass through us, it lingers, sometimes for decades. When we experience challenges, we spend more time obsessing over how bad we feel, rather than creating a plan and acting upon that plan. When our relationships change, we carry the related emotional fodder for far too long. For some reason, we’re not adept at having an experience, freeing ourselves, and then moving on. The same can be said for our lingering feelings of anger.

First of all, it’s 100% okay to feel anger, even celebrate it. You might want to throw a party for your anger or use it to fuel the birth of a new business. Anger can be extremely inspiring, provoking, and transformative. It’s like carrying a forest fire in your pants. 

If you’re feeling anger, it’s your friend. If, because of your anger, you’re acting outrageously or putting others in danger, the anger is truly your enemy. Keep in mind that your anger didn’t ask to become the enemy. It just came up. Like a bubble in a can of soda, it emerged as real, moved upward, and then rested at the top for a moment. What you might not realize is that anger has an expiry date – if you permit it. 

If anger is bubbling up inside of you, see it as bubbles of nothingness. Consider this: The anger was born from a prior experience, and provoked into existence. Since the event that angered you is longer happening, why hold onto the emotion that stemmed from it? Even positive emotions can restrict us and enslave us to the past.

Your anger was useful for a time. It helped you make some decisions. It assisted you in the evolution of your ability to discern. Your anger was an ally – until it began interrupting your experiences around happiness, connectedness, and love. 

If your anger is still causing you to disconnect from your goodness and heart, you’re giving it too much power. You might need to venture into the woods and pound the earth for a time. You might need to do a ritual or religious ceremony where you call upon your higher Being to heal and help you. You might simply need to find the tears beneath your anger so that you can soften your heart and reconnect with all the goodness around you. 

Don’t let your anger manage you. Don’t allow it to maneuver you into being someone you are not. Don’t invest in it or plan to use it for too long. Let your anger have its day – and then set yourself free from it. You’ll be happier and more successful if focus on the positive aspects in your life. Doing so, your anger will naturally dismiss itself from your field of view. 

Remember to be grateful. You are alive on a planet filled with beautiful trees, flowers, rivers, lakes, and creatures. You have enough health to be able to function in this world and experience some of its joys. You can communicate with other living Beings. You most likely have a place to life and have food in your fridge. You were also born with an unlimited capacity to think, feel, and experience. You are a miracle. Never forget that. 

If you have yet to forgive someone or own your part in a series of difficult events, it might be time to forgive yourself and everyone involved. This will put your anger in service to your evolution.