I don’t typically concern myself with being “normal”, but a couple of weekends ago I went out of my way to attend a NORML conference. It was the 38th annual NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Conference held in San Fransisco, and although I was only able to attend the last of the three days of the conference, I still found it quite educational and enlightening.
And I do believe that within four years marijuana will be legalized in California.
Continue reading State of Cannabis Affairs
It was almost three years ago, on September 2006, that by chance I heard a talk given by Swami Paramahamsa Nithyananda at a Hindu cultural program held in Cupertino, CA. It was in a relatively small auditorium and he – although obviously well-respected and revered – showed up with not much more fanfare than any of the other speakers scheduled to appear during that segment of the program.
This month I had another opportunity to listen to him speak, and this time the reverence and venue were kicked up a notch. Yes, this young enlightened master’s recognition had clearly spread in both intensity as well as numbers. Continue reading Paramahamsa Nithyanada Grows in Popularity
It happened again! That irritating co-worker made a snide remark to you and then walked off. Or maybe your roommate left for the evening without cleaning up the mess he left after eating dinner – even though he promised to be more mindful of it. Or maybe you had an argument with your spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. And so you stew over the offense and magnify the bad feelings by continually thinking of them over and over.
It doesn’t feel good. Nobody in their right mind ever wants to feel this way. And what makes it worse is that it affects how you deal with the other person, which further aggravates the situation and now you have a vicious circle. But believe it or not, it’s possible to change bad feelings into good feelings – and turn this into a fun spiritual practice! How? Continue reading When Feeling Bad Can Feel Good
Again I am struck by another of Snatam Kaur’s rendition of a spiritual prayer. The beauty of her voice as well as the musical arrangement truly convey the peaceful message of acceptance.
The words, “Aakhan Jor”, come from the first line of the prayer, and mean “no power in speaking”. It echos the message contained in the rest of the prayer – that we have no power inherent within us. All power comes from God, the Most High, the Creator, the Source. Anything that we accomplish we should credit to Him who watches over all and who has power over all. All that remains is for us to accept that fact, and in doing so work with the source of all power instead of against it.
How can we have no power and yet think that we can ever accomplish anything?
The key to understanding this paradox is to realize that the “we” who has no power is actually our ego, our separation from the source. The true Source of power is always moving towards creating, so we just need to realize our true connection with that Source and then, free from ego, accomplish what we wish without struggle.
He is risen in our minds, our hearts, our souls – there is no separation between him and us. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Christianity is not the only spiritual tradition that finds meaning in Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And I’m not referring to the pre-Christian celebrations that form the basis of many practices observed today – from the fertility egg and rabbit to the rites of Spring. No, I’m referring to the beliefs of yogis past and present, one being the Paramahansa Yogananda, who brought yogic teachings as well as the practice of Kriya yoga to the west.
And he had a few things to say about Easter and its importance to humanity. Continue reading Thoughts on Easter
This age of high-tech has had the unfortunate effect of favoring and fostering the practice of diverted attention. Young people these days MySpace their friends while checking out what’s on YouTube while texting while keeping an eye on the television … and we see and even experience the same flurry in the workplace.
On the surface it might seem as if this results in honing multitasking skills, but recent studies have shown that this is not true multitasking. This type of activity has at least two drawbacks – it actually adds time to the tasks and it also creates additional stress.
Now scientists have learned another lesson on the value of focused attention – this time from Buddhist monks. Continue reading The Value of Focused Attention
Encounters with strangers can be very enlightening experiences, full of opportunities for learning about yourself. But often times the overwhelming lesson I come away with is how connected we all are. A couple of occasions – synchronicities and strange encounters – definitely gave me the sense that there is a spiritual connection that is always there, even though hidden from normal awareness. Continue reading Synchronicities Help Us Recognize Our Spiritual Connection
Perhaps the biggest injustice in the US War on Drugs is the inclusion of cannabis, or marijuana, in that “war”. Because of the this, there is a stigma attached to marijuana and anyone who is known to use it. Michael Phelps has lost his Kellogg’s endorsement over one picture of himself taking a bong hit. And if you don’t react with shock and disapproval over the idea of smoking pot, then you risk being labeled a druggie, a loser hippie, or even in favor of the use of hard drugs.
What would truly shock many people, however, are the facts about cannabis that most people are unaware of. Continue reading We Can Talk About Marijuana