The Power of Sacred Places

 

Julianne Santini, John Mercede of Profound Life Wellness and Lauren Rainbow get together to talk about Sacred Journeys. Learn the benefits of visiting sacred sites around the world and how they can change your life!.

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The Power of Sacred Places
There are places all over the world that have power.  Each one of you knows what it feels like to be in a place that changes the way you feel or think.  When you go to one of these places, by just being in the presence of the location - you experience the power in your heart-mind-body.  There is nothing to do, you simply experience the place.  With that experience of being, the heart-mind-body begins to change in response to the energy through what can be called an impulse or an impression. That impulse will affect the life you are living – perhaps it will change the direction you are heading, or the quality, or the possibilities, of your life. 

Most people have come to learn that all places and things have energy.  Then, why is it that some places initiate a huge change and other places do not? Lets start by looking at the difference between power and energy.  

Many people can sense the energy of places (and things) and can experience "high vibration" or "low vibration" energy.  It is accurate to say that energy can be transferred from one object to another, and energy can be transformed from one form to another.  It is also accurate to say that "energy is what makes change happen."   

While the words energy and power are often used interchangeably, power is different than energy.

Power is the rate at which energy is transferred.  The amount and quality of the energy which is present at the sacred place is important, but the capacity to deliver energy is necessary to cause transformation.  Typically the power of sacred places is the result of years, or decades or centuries of cultivating and distributing the energy.  When you show up at a sacred place, you receive an instant "download" of the "energy of change" in a very efficient way.  

As a sacred place, I think that Egypt is one of the most interesting civilizations in history.  

The Great Pyramid at Giza has been calling my name for quite a long time.  In October, it will be amazing to experience this magnificent, extremely large and very precise structure.   How the pyramid was built is a mystery because of the precision in both its construction and its alignment with celestial bodies.  For me, traveling to Egypt is like going back in time to witness one of the places on the planet where what was thought to be impossible became possible.  When visiting a sacred place, I view that place as a portal into everything that ever occurred there.  What that view makes available is unique to each person.  What that view makes constant is the potential for profound transformation for each person. 

 

The Labyrinth

It’s no secret that I have a great love for travel which has been handed down to me by my mother, and her mother before her. As I dive into each culture, I have the blessing of new perspectives as well as discovering similarities to my own heritage and traditions.  What a gift! The diversity and oneness bring me home to myself again and again.

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I truly have a fondness for visiting sacred sites. I often experience a heightened sense of awareness as I step into a sacred location that has long been visited by pilgrims for centuries, or even thousands of years. I would also say that I have an unexplained longing for ritual.  Maybe that’s because the gift of engaging in ritual is transformation.  It is said that ceremony is a living symbol, and our focused intention is what brings it power.

In my preparation for travel to Mexico, I came across a profound ritual used within the Toltec tradition—the labyrinth.  Don Miguel Ruiz Jr, in the book The Five Levels of Attachment, explains how the Toltec tradition uses the labyrinth as a method for forgiveness.  The ritual allows for a letting go of egoic conditioning, limiting beliefs and associated emotional wounds.  One becomes aware of the pain that one has taken on and takes responsibility for absorbing and believing the words and actions of others. The exercise is an opportunity to see how one has contributed to one’s own pain, as well as a process to reclaim one’s own power through the simple but powerful practice of forgiveness.

Come walk the labyrinth as maybe you never have before…

Imagine yourself standing at the opening of a life-size labyrinth. 

A guardian ceremonially smudges you with copal.  The aromatic resin seems somehow familiar.

The maze calls to you. You note the carefully placed stones forming a single pathway.  It loops back and forth creating mesmerizing circuits surrounding the center. 

As you place your foot upon the path, it’s as though you step back in time.

The tradition comes alive. You are present, aware, and ready!

The Labyrinth


It’s no secret that I have a great love for travel which has been handed down to me by my mother, and her mother before her. As I dive into each culture, I have the blessing of new perspectives as well as discovering similarities to my own heritage and traditions.  What a gift! The diversity and oneness bring me home to myself again and again.

I truly have a fondness for visiting sacred sites. I often experience a heightened sense of awareness as I step into a sacred location that has long been visited by pilgrims for centuries, or even thousands of years. I would also say that I have an unexplained longing for ritual.  Maybe that’s because the gift of engaging in ritual is transformation.  It is said that ceremony is a living symbol, and our focused intention is what brings it power.

In my preparation for travel to Mexico, I have come across a profound ritual used within the Toltec tradition—the labyrinth.  Don Miguel Ruiz Jr, in the book The Five Levels of Attachment, explains how the Toltec tradition uses the labyrinth as a method for forgiveness.  The ritual allows for a letting go of egoic conditioning, limiting beliefs and associated emotional wounds.  One becomes aware of the pain that one has taken on and takes responsibility for absorbing and believing the words and actions of others. The exercise is an opportunity to see how one has contributed to one’s own pain, as well as a process to reclaim one’s own power through the simple but powerful practice of forgiveness.

Come walk the labyrinth as maybe you never have before…

Imagine yourself standing at the opening of a life-size labyrinth.  A guardian ceremonially smudges you with copal.  The aromatic resin seems somehow familiar. The maze calls to you. You note the carefully placed stones forming a single pathway.  It loops back and forth creating mesmerizing circuits surrounding the center.  As you place your foot upon the path, it’s as though you step back in time. The tradition comes alive. You are present, aware, and ready!

With best wishes,
Julianne and John

-----ooo-----
Allow Miguel’s own words to carry you through your journey. This is an exceptionally beautiful forgiveness ceremony that goes beyond any one tradition.  May this ancient Toltec ritual of the labyrinth bring you home to yourself again and again.  If it nurtures you, please share it.

This is a condensed excerpt from his book:
 
As you enter the labyrinth, imagine it is a road map of your past that leads to your present moment in life. With every turn, envision a person, a moment, or a belief that you have used in some way to [limit] yourself. What or whom have you used to subjugate your own will in order to be accepted by yourself or others?
 
When you hold that vision in your mind – a person for example – stop, envision him or her, and become aware of how their words have contributed to your [limiting beliefs] and say, “Forgive me. I have used your words to go against myself.” Although that person might have used his or her words and actions to [limit] you, or to cause you harm or pain, you are the one who ultimately said yes to the belief and allowed it to blossom in your mind.
 
Forgiveness happens the moment you say no to carrying this pain, this weight, this hurt, and let go of it all…Forgiveness is the action that allows us to move forward in the labyrinth.
 
Continue through the labyrinth, repeating the same action of forgiveness as new people and situations come to mind – whatever person or wound hooks your attention at that moment. That is the next one you are ready to face and forgive.
 
As you reach the end… you will find yourself at the entrance to the center of the labyrinth. Stop here. Look at the entrance to the center point and envision a mirror. Walk up to that mirror and see your own reflection. When you are ready, repeat these words: “Forgive me, I have used your words most of all to go against myself, and I will no longer use them to hurt myself again.”
 
The action of entering the center point of the labyrinth represents the moment you forgive yourself. This is the action of your own forgiveness and of reclaiming the power, or the impeccability, of your own word – of your own intent. You are worthy of your own forgiveness, as much as you are worthy of your own love.
 
At this point in the exercise, you have let go of the past by recognizing that the only thing that exists is this present moment. The labyrinth itself is now the past, and you can let it go as you forgive yourself. With awareness, you can now draw the knowledge from your past to make choices in the present moment.
 
The labyrinth expands as you live your life, but the only truth is in that center, that present moment where you are alive. The labyrinth ceremony ends when you recognize that you are worthy of your own love because you are alive in this very moment.

Don't waste your time on problems.  

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[discussion: Don't Waste Your Time on Problems]
[meditation: Be The Imagineer of Your Life]
 

Everyone faces problems in life.  One dictionary defines problem as “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.”  Regardless of the problem type, when you put focus on the problem you are wasting your time – because you are focusing on the problem. 
 
Once you notice a problem, shift your focus away from the problem and shift your focus toward the desired outcome.  This will take some discipline, because it is often simpler to talk about the problem.  It is easy to spend hours or days blaming the problem on people, places or things, or talking about what the problem is causing, or all the reasons for the problem.  If you must, take 7 minutes get all that stuff out of your system.  Then shift to a place where you can look only at what is happening - without blame or judgement!
 
Next, set your mind and emotions in the direction of desired outcome.  The key word here is desire.  Desire and fear are powerful attractor energies.  When you operate from a place of desire, you have access to a higher state of consciousness than when you operate from a place of fear.  Desire will always attract a higher outcome than fear.  Navigate toward the directions set by your desired outcome.
 
Remember, the desire must be “outcome based” not “thing based”. To know the difference ask yourself: "what outcome do I want to experience regardless of the things which I attain along the way"?  Experience will create a foundation for your life. Possessions will move in and move out of your life. Possessions will never build a foundation for life.  You can experience peace, gratitude or joy regardless of your possessions. 
 
When you focus on the outcome, you are not working as an engineer, you are working as an “imagineer”.  When you imagine, you are working with the builders in the higher realms of consciousness.  These builders are intelligent energies which you access through imagination and intention.  Imagine you are also building a bridge to the higher realms so that you can carry things back from the higher dimensions. 
 
You will not know how intelligent you are until you get out of your thinking mind.  Conscious focus stands in the way. Let your mind and emotions relax, and form a relationship with intention and expectancy. Once you focus on expectation, combined with intention and action, the intelligent energies will propel experience into existence!
 
Summary:

  • Drop the idea that there is a problem.
  • Identify what is happening without any judgement or blame.  
  • Set your mind and emotions in the direction of desired outcome.
  • Be an "imagineer" in the higher dimensions. 
  • Intend and expect your desired outcome to occur.
  • Build a bridge to the higher dimensions.  

 
Homework. Write down "the good life" experience.  Begin to create your world “out there” in the higher dimensions.  Remember that everything in your world today, is something you put out there.  Become an imagineer and a conscious creator. Put it out there, and bring it into existence! 

[discussion: Don't Waste Your Time on Problems]
[meditation: Be The Imagineer of Your Life]

Expectations - Dig for the buried gem!

For the last couple of weeks I have been working on a project with a group of people.  The work itself is going well and right alongside the accomplishments there are some strained interactions across the team while working together.  It has been interesting to see myself getting triggered by actions or non-actions of the people involved.  There is seldom one “reason” for stress, yet when we examine communication breakdowns, we will often find that there is an unmet or unexpressed expectation.  When we look at the word expectation, there are some really good clues:
 
ex·pec·ta·tion
noun
plural noun: expectations
a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
"accomplishments had not lived up to expectations"
More
a belief that someone will or should achieve something.
"s/he had high expectations for their future"
"her/his expectations were unrealistic"
 
synonyms:  supposition, assumption, presumption, conjecture, surmise, calculation, prediction, hope

 
This definition is from one online dictionary and when we examine the "definitions” (in bold above)  we can immediately see that expectations are, by definition, subject to interpretation.   So, the next time you find yourself stressed or triggered by a communication breakdown, examine for yourself what expectation you placed upon the person or situation.
 
When I examined my situation, I noticed the expectation I was holding was related to “how much I was being asked to do”.  Once I began the project, it became clear that I was being asked to do much more than I had expected.   This required that I would have to work more hours and with more intensity than I was prepared to offer.  This wasn’t so bad, I could work through it. Or so I thought. 
 
What I began to notice was that each time I worked more or longer than I “expected,” it began to feel like “they were doing this to me.”  Well, perhaps you canimagine how that worked out!  In case you can’t imagine, think about a time someone asked you to do something you didn’t want to do?  How did you feel? Maybe you noticed things like resistance, resentment, resignation.
 
When I was able to get some clarity about the situation, it was easy to see that what actually happened was my expectation was not met.  “They weren’t doing anything to me”.  With this realization, the situation had the opportunity for resolution. When you are facing a communication or relationship breakdown, look for the hidden expectation that you are holding.  Dig for that buried gem!

The SUNPAINTERS and the Solar Eclipse

[suggested meditation for this topic]

When my children were quite small, I loved to read to them.  With all the hype of the upcoming solar eclipse, I rediscovered an old friend, a story called SUNPAINTERS: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun by Baje Whitehorne.  I remember being captivated by the well-known artist’s illustrations and the rare glimpse into rural Navajo life. Whithome recounted life on the reservation and witnessing a solar eclipse at the age of 7.  He also shared a story that his grandfather told him of the Little People--the magical ones who knew how to renew the life of the sun, earth, and all objects. Over the last few weeks, that story within the story kept calling to me.  

Imagine Grandfather Pipa calling to his grandson, Kii, to come into the Hogan where he tells him that the sun "has died;'' a solar eclipse has washed the surrounding mountains in deep purples and reds. He explains to the boy that he must wait respectfully for the Na'ach'aahii, who come from the Four Directions carrying a paint brush and a can of paint, each responsible for replacing a different color of the rainbow.  Repainting the world after the eclipse, the Little Ones restore life and allow the rebirth of the sun.

When I first read that story to my children, we pondered over the elements of the story.  We wondered what would happen if the Na’ach’aahii didn’t come.  With much giggling and play, my children decided that if that ever occurred WE could become as the Little Ones and replace the different colors of the rainbow. 

I couldn’t help but to ponder in my morning meditation ...is that time upon us? Is this the time for the collective WE to pick up our paint brushes?  The Solar Eclipse is coming, and a grand, new canvas awaits.  It awaits our light, our color, our frequency. 

This total solar eclipse may seem fleeting lasting for only a minute or two, but what if that is all that’s needed?  This Monday, August 21st, I invite you to pick up your paint brush wherever you are when the solar eclipse crosses your individual path and help to paint the seeds of our collective dream. 

What's Our Abundance Story?

[suggested meditation for this topic]

How do we live our lives? Do we have faith and knowingness in Divine abundance? Or, do we live into the story of scarcity?

I am fascinated that the theme of abundance is found in so many religions.  When I look to my own background and open the Bible, I see that the story begins in abundance. Then, if I turn to the very last page, I can see that it ends in abundance as well.  God has created a land of plenty and has promised to restore us to that plenty in the end.

The media tells us that there isn’t enough, and the world may want us to focus on scarcity.  However, there is no lack of resources in the world, only a problem of distribution. Are we going to feed into the energies of fear, greed and selfishness that pit us against one other?  Or, are we going to become aware of the great abundance that is available for all of us?

It is our birthright to be in harmony with life and all of its beautiful expressions.  Our sense of scarcity doesn’t have to exist. Our economic gap doesn’t have to exist.  Our racial disparities don’t have to exist.  Our political inequalities and social injustices don’t have to exist. To elicit change, we must first start with ourselves.

  • What if we knew everything we had ever been given in life was an asset? 
  • What if we knew that we already had everything needed to change our lives and the lives of those around us? 
  • How would we choose to live?

Contemplation:
Visualize the sun shining through a diamond.  Notice the prism of light it creates for you to see.  Imagine abundance as one of the rays of light, one of the flavors of the Divine for you to enjoy.  As you accept this ray, you touch God.  As you accept this gift, you have access to all other rays of light, all gifts and virtues of the Divine.

Notice for yourself where you are resisting the light.  Where are you in fear?  Where are you in judgement?  Where are you struggling and in resistance? 

Bring these awarenesses to our weekly gathering, Mindful Monday.  We will work with these limiting thought patterns and meditate to re-center and re-enter the intrinsic worth that the Divine has placed within each one of us. 
 

The Prison of Materialism

Humanity has continually suffered due to its identification with materialism and the attendant qualities of greed, separativeness and aggression.  For generations, identification with materialism has led to confusion, conflict, and war.   However, segments of humanity aligned to the greater good.  Those pioneering people aligned to “spiritual principle” over “materialism” and created a movement toward harmony and unity. 

·    As you live your life, what evidence of harmony and unity do you notice in the world and in your personal life? 

·       As you live your life, where do you see the conflict between "spiritual principle" and "materialism"? 

Materialism is a prison which holds our discernment captive.  The bars of that prison are forged from attachment, judgement, objectification, and separatist forms of “othering”.  As we discern rightly and recognize true values, the bars collapse and we step into freedom.

Today we can see humanity’s increasing ability to discern between the lesser and the greater good.  This expanding ability to discern is moving ALL of humanity towards unity. Unity is evidenced by individual response and world response aligned to the greatest possible outcome.  As we un-burden ourselves of attachment, we are free to choose the greater good.  As we align to the greater good, all of humanity evolves to a higher state of consciousness and realization. 

Join our conference call this week.  We will enter mediation to align with the qualities for right discernment for ourselves and humanity.    With the freedom of right discernment, you can create a new experience of life for yourself and those around you. 

 

BODY TALK

[suggested meditation for this topic]

Communicating with the body, talking to it, listening to its messages has been a well-known practice for centuries in places like Tibet.

For most people, the language of communicating with one’s body is unknown or forgotten.   Medical science is only now beginning to realize what sages and mystics have always known--that the body and mind are not separate entities, but deeply related. Just as the condition of the body can affect the mind, so too can the mind affect the condition of the body.

What is the key to learning the forgotten language of talking to the Body-Mind?  Osho says, “People need to be taught how to make friends with the body.”

This week’s healing meditation is about making friends with yourself--with your body and your mind.  You will become aware of how your thoughts and feelings express themselves through your body.  Pain, disease and even the pattern of addictions can be addressed. Using this meditation is an opportunity to mobilize your self-healing energies and to relax deeply.

The Body Awareness Process has three parts:

1.           You will first speak to specific parts of your body and your whole body as a system.

2.           You will communicate with your unconscious mind about a symptom or issue that you are having with your body (ie, sickness, experiencing pain, being overweight, or simply desiring to feel more vibrant and healthy). In a relaxed state, you will connect with the part of your unconscious mind that is responsible for that condition, approaching it with a deep respect and friendliness.  For example, if you experience excess weight as a problem, the part of your unconscious mind responsible for this is a devoted servant and guardian.  By making you overweight, the guardian has been trying to help and protect you.  In a meditative state, the guardian can be guided to create new ways to fulfill its positive intention while allowing your body to be natural and healthy again. You will arrive at a new understanding of your body-mind connection and its ability to heal.

3.           You will experience a healing state, deepening the understanding that your body, mind and Soul are ONE.

This guided meditation of talking to the body has been developed by Osho’s guidance and taught regularly at workshops for over 20 years at the Osho Meditation Resort in India.

Once you start communicating with your body, things become very easy.  The body need not be forced, it can be persuaded.  One need not fight with the body—that’s ugly, violent, aggressive, and any sort of conflict is going to create more and more tension.  So, you need not be in any conflict—let comfort be the rule.  And the body is such a beautiful gift from God that to fight with it is to deny God himself.  It is a shrine… we are enshrined in it:  it is a temple.  We exist in it, and we have to take every care of it—it is our responsibility.  –Osho

Becoming your own best friend is the deepest learning of this healing meditation.  Join us this Mindful Monday for a body talk meditation, and be reminded of a language that most of us have forgotten.

Imagination is more important than knowledge

Conscious Creation

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  This is a wonderful observation which leads me to think that imagination is the impulse behind everything new which has been created. 

Imagination is an impulse which propels us to a new way of thinking, a way of thinking which ignores the question “how can that be done?” and invites us into a world of exploration which exists only in the imagination.  Knowledge can be a barrier to the world of imagination because knowledge will cause us to “understand” or “adapt” what we already know.  What we know comes from the past.  Imagination will bring us into the moment of now which puts us afloat on an infinite stream of moments of now, and now, and now. 

Using the imagination will free us from the concrete mind which we use for everyday thinking.  It will cause us to use our abstract mind which has a different quality of substance and a higher vibration.  When we use the abstract mind to imagine, we drop the notion that something can’t be done.  Every day, film producers drop the notion that it can’t be done.  In their world, “if it can be imagined, it can be created”. And so it is for you.
    Alice:  This is impossible
     Mad Hatter: Only if you believe it is.

Using your imagination happens consciously and unconsciously and the more you allow yourself to imagine, the better you will become at conscious creation.  Yes, imagination is the first step to conscious creation.

  • Set some time aside at least once a week for imagining.
  • Avoid distractions like computers, smart phones and “unplug” for a while.
  • Be open to having new experiences and emotions as you sit and imagine.
         Alice:  But, I nearly forgot, you must close your eyes otherwise
                   you won't see anything.
     
  • Be curious. As yourself “what if______?”
  • Imagine successful outcomes.  

Live a happy, healthy and meaningful life.

[suggested meditation for this topic]

For it is in giving that we receive
— this phrase attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi is well known.  I can imagine that most people have heard it stated at one time or another.  We are often taught early in life, that it is “better to give than to receive”.  But how can we step fully into the truth that lives within that phrase?

Start by directing your mind away from the problems in your life by putting your attention on something larger than yourself, and taking action to serve the greater good.   There is some validation regarding  the benefits of giving.  Scientific research, using functional MRI technology, show that giving activates the “feel good” parts of the brain.  A different type of study involving 3,500 caregivers found that, on average, caregivers had a lower mortality rate than their “matched non-care giving counterparts.” It could be that helping others is one of the secrets to living a happy, healthy and meaningful life.

Pause and take a moment and bring to mind a memory of when you had a good feeling after helping another.  What do you notice?      

This time of year, is a potent spiritual time in the different traditions.  In April, on the first full moon, the Christian tradition of Easter, which honors the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, was celebrated. This month, on the first full moon, the Buddhist tradition of Wesak, which honors the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha, is celebrated.  Wesak is a time for group effort that sparks the ambition and aspiration to be part of “one great cosmic magnet through which the spiritual energy of the Buddha can flow into human hearts and minds”

As we move in our daily lives this month, we are supported by this energy of Wesak and it lends an enhanced awareness to the phrase “for it is in giving that we receive”.  It is a perfect time to align your intention toward bringing good will and the will to do good into each action. Each smile, each Facebook post, each phone call, each interaction, include your intention to be a source of good will and the will to do good.

 One of the simplest ways to do this is through meditation.  Sit in meditation as a service to humanity.    [suggested meditation for this topic]