Ursi's Eso Garden
Your Competent Esoteric Guide
Tuesday, 11. November 2008
Inner & Outer Harmony
Beautiful nature scenes from around the world, accompanied by quotes from spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007) on peace, harmony and meditation. Jump into the sea of tranquility, experience your inner wealth and enjoy Mother Nature! Narration by Kaivalya Torpy from England. Produced by kedarvideo, Switzerland. Length: 17:30 min.
Saturday, 18. October 2008
My personal motivation in creating this work, however, was to heal from a decade of both physical and emotional trauma. Subconsciously, I arrived at the mandala form with the hexagram -- the Star of David -- as its organizing shape. I believe my choice of the hexagram was no accident. In many traditions, this star, composed of two overlapping triangles, represents the reconciliation of opposites -- male/female, fire/water, and so on. Their combination symbolizes unity and harmony.
In the Jewish tradition, the six points of the Star of David are also said to stand for God's rule over the universe in all six directions: north, south, east, west, up and down. Working with these forms by painting with light -- the literal definition of the term "photography" -- helped bring me back from the darkness into the light.
Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychology, believed mandalas are a pathway to the essential Self and used them in his own personal transformation. In a small way, as both mandala artist and psychotherapist, I carry on Jung's tradition. I hope these images will further the process of harnessing the power of the mandala to heal.
Making these images feels, to me, like I am in wordless conversation with natural elements far more profound than anything I could create myself. The experience of photographing and of editing is reminiscent of meditation.
Flower Mandalas by David J. Bookbinder
Saturday, 11. October 2008
Seven Steps of Forgiveness
Let’s face it - most people probably think of forgiveness as the last resort of losers. It’s what you’re left with after you’ve been victimized and can’t figure out a way to inflict revenge. If there’s no way to even the score, then you might as well settle for feeling a little better about yourself by becoming noble. And if you forgive what happened to you, maybe someday you can forget all about it. Or, maybe whoever hurt you will eventually feel guilty about what they did, and come begging for your forgiveness. Then you get to decide whether they deserve it. (Probably not!)
However much lip service is paid to the religious ideal of forgiveness, my guess is that this is how the majority of people think about it. And that’s a shame, because real forgiveness is the key not only to healing victimization, but to actually preventing attacks while reducing anxiety, increasing intelligence, and maximizing creativity. In a time when our politics is obsessed with the fear of terrorists, real forgiveness is the best tool we have for fighting terror where it actually starts: in our own minds.
One doesn’t have to be an acute observer of the political scene since September 11, 2001 to understand that fear makes people stupid. What’s less obvious is that forgiveness makes people smarter -- and thus better able to deal with whatever misfortune, attack, or outright evil they may encounter. That’s because forgiveness teaches you how fear, resentment, and terror work by progressively revealing these states of mind within yourself. When you successfully release a little grudge or fear (and guess what: fears and grudges are the same thing), you’ll see the next, bigger fear that was hiding behind the little guy. When you comprehend that bigger fear, you’ll begin to perceive the generalized anxiety behind it; as you begin to pierce the cloudy veils of anxiety and resentment in your mind, you may begin to see how you’ve been subtly terrorizing yourself for years. And you can rest assured that if you’ve ever terrorized yourself, you’ve intimidated someone else whether you meant to or not.
What we think of as terrorism for political purposes arises from exactly the same roots deep within the human mind; the symptoms are more violent, but the sickness is the same. When you personally understand how terror arises, grows, and feeds on itself within you, then you will understand how it works in other people, and you will be better able to spot where it’s taking root and help undo it without creating victims in the process. That’s why I don’t think we need a Patriot Act so much as we need a Forgiveness Act, but I’m no fool: that kind of legislation ain’t gonna get pushed through Congress anytime soon. That’s all right because forgiveness is ultimately democratic: it’s up to each of us to transform our hearts and minds, and then forgiveness will spread on its own.
Now I’m a provocateur at heart, so I wouldn’t leave you without a plan of action. Although you will soon discover that daily, ongoing forgiveness is an incredibly complicated process of unexpected revelation and personal revolution, the way into it is relatively simple. Over the years I have condensed my own discipline into seven steps that can be adapted to your own use, and they go like this:
2. Hold in your mind the image of whatever is to be forgiven - yourself, another person, a past event - and say, “I release you from the grip of my sadness, disapproval, or condemnation.” Concentrate quietly on this intention.
3. Imagine for a while what your life will be like without the sorrow or grievance that has been haunting you.
4. Make amends with someone you’ve hurt or someone who has hurt you; tell a friend about your self-forgiveness; or otherwise bring your inner work to your relationships.
5. Ask for God’s help to overcome fear or resistance at any step. If you do not believe in God, ask for help from nature, humanity, and the mysteries of your own mind. These are the channels through which aid is sent - and aid is always sent.
6. Have patience. Forgiveness induces healing which follows its own order and timing. Whether you think you have accomplished anything thus far is less important than the fact that you have attempted a radical act that will call forth change likely to exceed your expectations. Go about your daily business, but stay alert to unexpected shifts in your thinking, feeling, and relationships.
7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 as often as necessary, for life.
That’s it! You can fight terror today by forgiving the next little thing that bugs you - and then forgive whatever comes next. Rest assured that on your way to greater peace, sharper intelligence, and a true fearlessness, you’ll always find plenty of opportunities to forgive.
Exerpt from A Little Book of Forgiveness by D. Patrick Miller.
Available direct from the publisher at http://www.fearlessbooks.com
or at Amazon.
Friday, 03. October 2008
Mudra: Cymbals mudra (rol mo bkrol ba'i phyag rgya)
Mudras is a selection of photos of "mudras" (Buddhist hand gestures) taken by photographer Dennis Cordell.
These portraits, shot in black and white, are of young monks at Gyud Zin monastery in Ladakh, India taken during the summer of 2006. Each monk is presenting a "mudra" which represents an offering to the Buddha. The delightful juxtaposition of the religious iconography with the boyishness of the young monks makes the portraits in this project wondrously expressive and heart-warming.
Mudra: Annointing with Perfume mudra (dri byugs pa'i phyag rgya)
Sunday, 28. September 2008
Saturday, 13. September 2008
This is a very nice music play thing for a short meditation: Rain
Play around with your mouse ... and click ...
How to Create an Affirmation That Works
A positive affirmation can lift your life and help you achieve your goal. Such an affirmation sends your message to the Universe, and the Universe listens and responds in positive manifestation of your desires.
Use only positive words. The Universe does not acknowledge words such as "not" or "don't". So, instead of saying "I am not poor" (the Universe will only hear "I am poor"), say "I have enough money for all that I need".
Indulge yourself in the moment as your affirmation sinks in. Then, let it go. By not dwelling on how the change might show up, you let the Universe work her magic naturally.
Keep your affirmation short and specific. Focus on one key element at a time, without the clutter of many desires all at once.
Repetition of your affirmation means your desire can sink into every fibre of your being, settling naturally into your way of life.
First thing in the morning or last thing at night when you are your most relaxed are good times to use affirmations. Our minds are more open to absorbing behaviour-changing patterns then.
Generally, work with any single affirmation a maximum of two weeks. This isn't too long for staleness to set in, but long enough for the message to sink to every corner of your self-perception.
Dedicate your energy to every time you repeat your affirmation. To parrot your affirmation undermines its power and is a waste of time.
Source: Affirmations by Anita Revel.
Check also the hundreds of affirmations to help you achieve your goal in your career, love, health, parenthood, community and more ... or have a bit of fun with this Affirmations Generator. When you have your perfect affirmation that flows easily, fluently and often, prepare to receive what you are helping to manifest.
Friday, 05. September 2008
Ocean Air Meditation
Calm down or just relax ...
This self-directed meditation presents the ocean's beauty and peaceful images to enhance your meditation experience. Allow yourself to focus on the soothing music and calming imagery as you release the tension of the day. (10 minutes)
Here is the same meditation, but it's guided. You can connect with the life force that is within you on breathing. As you view images of the ocean and sea life, focus on your breath as a way to center yourself. (10 minutes)
Tuesday, 15. July 2008
Out-of-body Experiences and other Tricks of Consciousness
All In The Mind, presented by Natasha Mitchell, is ABC Radio National's weekly foray into the mental universe, the mind, brain and behaviour - everything from addiction to artificial intelligence.
There was a very interesting radio show two weeks ago:
Brain hijinks: out-of-body experiences and other tricks of consciousness
What happens when your brain sees the world not as it really is? This week, the scientific effort to simulate out-of-body experiences to probe the limits of the self. And, remarkable stories of vision gone heywire - what they reveal about our 'seeing brain'. Two scientists join Natasha Mitchell with extraordinary insights into how your brain creates your mind.
The guests are:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)
Olaf Blanke from Lausanne is using Virtual Reality to induce OBE-like feelings in healthy people. As a neurologist his preoperative examination (with direct electrodes) of the brains of people with epilepsy has also induced extraordinary OBEs in patients. Unhinging experiences to say the least.
Professor Melvyn Goodale, Director Neuroscience - University of Western Ontario, Canada
Melvyn Goodale from Ontario is a world leader on the neuroscience of vision and he'll tell us about the unusual experience of a woman called D.F, and what she's revealed to him about the mechanics and evolution of vision.
"Brain Hijinks: Out-of-body Experiences and other Tricks of Consciousness"
Duration 30 minutes
You may also like the transcript.
Experiment of Out-of-Body Experiences
Monday, 14. July 2008
Are Your Thoughts Killing You?
Are you aware of the thoughts that are detrimental to your health, your relationships and your achievements?
Do you know how to create the life you desire?
We all have this amazing centre of power - "Our Mind" - to use to create the good life we desire.
Most people do not know how to use it wisely.
This is why for some people life is a real struggle, while for others life flows smoothly. Why do you think this is?
Everything in life starts with Thought!
The minds job is to think and it doesn't filter what it thinks, that is our responsibility.
Do you think before you speak?
Once a word is spoken it cannot be retrieved; the damage is done.
Thoughts are real forces. What does that statement mean to you?
Read more ...
Thursday, 03. July 2008
How to Begin the Day
Be bright! Today is a new day!
Knowing how to begin a new day is important to make life more fun.
Here are 10 tips that have worked for me over the years:
2. Smile, and say "Good morning" to everyone you see.
3. Feel good about yourself and your qualities.
4. Say optimistic things about the day. By looking at yourself in the mirror and saying at least 10 good things about yourself, it will definitely improve your day.
5. Focus on your objectives for the day, and get them done as soon as possible.
6. Trust in your inner strength to solve any problem that day.
7. Remember this: "If life doesn't smile at you, tickle life 'till it laughs!"
8. Sing (or hum) any song with a positive message.
9. Eat breakfast. This is a healthy way to start the day and will help you throughout the day.
10. Exercise. It releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel better.
a) Remember no day is the same.
b) When your passing someone not so happy, smile at them and say "hi!" it can really cheer others up to make their day brighter.
Try it out. It works!
Monday, 23. June 2008
How to Find Balance
Finding balance is one of life's great goals, but it can be as elusive as it is desirable. Change your approach and its true nature will emerge.
When you're balanced, you can feel it. You get the sense that your life is moving along steadily. You take things in stride. You feel healthy and vibrant, challenged by your life, but relaxed enough to enjoy it; protected by the familiar, but excited by the possibilities ahead. So why does achieving it -- and maintaining it -- seem so difficult to do for so many of us?
Study balance a little closer, and you realize that what many of us perceive to be the ideal balance is in fact not balance at all. Unlike, say, a balanced scale, a balanced life is not symmetrical, still, or neutral. Like riding a bike, living a balanced life comes easier to you as you gain momentum. From that perspective, the myths and truths that follow can help you find a new understanding of balance -- and, finally, a way to get there yourself.
Myth 1: You must be even-tempered.
Truth: Balance encompasses the full range of emotions.
You may think the balanced person takes everything in stride, never gets upset or irritable, rarely gets depressed or overwhelmed. But that's simply not true. Balance is not about remaining placid and peaceful. In fact, by avoiding negative emotions such as anger, grief, or sadness, you are causing an unhealthy imbalance, says medical intuitive and neuropsychiatrist Mona Lisa Schulz, author of "The New Feminine Brain: How Women Can Develop Their Inner Strengths, Genius, and Intuition."
So go ahead, get angry. Have a good cry. True balance is achieved by understanding the nature of our moods and feelings, not by suppressing them.
Myth 2: Balance is effortless.
Truth: Balance is efficient.
In physics, equilibrium is a state in which all external forces cancel each other out, with no one force exerting dominance over the other. That's how balance can work, too; it's not that you're not exerting any effort, it's that you're providing just the right amount for each need.
When you're balanced, your exertion is distributed so well -- your big muscles doing the big work and your little muscles carrying a lighter load -- it feels effortless even though it's anything but. One way to tune in to your balance is to appreciate your physical balance, whether through running, walking, or doing yoga or any activity that calls for focus.
Myth 3: You must be in control.
Truth: Real balance means being in flux.
At the circus, all eyes are on the tightrope walker. Why? Because where there's balance, there's also tension and risk. The tightrope walker's talent and skill resides not in her ability to defy gravity, but in making the hundreds of subtle, incremental readjustments to account for imbalance. In the same way, our ability to achieve balance is in learning to reestablish it when forces put it to the test.
This is why stability alone is not balance. The more we cling to things (circumstances, people, possessions) to hold us in balance, the less we rely on our internal strength and flexibility to adapt. And because balance is not a fixed point, but always moving forward, we need to move forward, too. This can mean embracing change and allowing ourselves to evolve.
Moving to a new city, letting go of an old relationship, or losing a job are potential triggers for imbalance, and any one of them has the potential to throw you off your axis, causing stress, exhaustion, or anxiety. Balance comes when we adapt to change, rather than try to resist it. But you can start small: Encourage and practice smaller-scale changes in your life so that you're better prepared to handle the bigger ones.
For two other myths and five ways to change your brain: Read more ...
Thursday, 19. June 2008
Breathing Relaxation Exercise
In the hectic pace of modern life, everyone needs a way to avoid the mental and physical effects of stress. This exercise provides you with an easy self-help technique that is highly effective in battling stress and sleeplessness.
You'll be taking slow, deep breaths. With every slow, deep breath, you will become more and more relaxed. As you breath out, you'll discover that you can let the tension and fatigue flow out of your body.
Monday, 16. June 2008
Feeling Stuck? Eight Steps to Get You Moving Forward
"I know what I need to do, but I just can't get myself started." Who among us hasn't been caught in this scenario before? We know what to do, but we cannot seem to put knowledge into action. As a result, we feel frustrated and stuck. Common signs of being stuck include boredom, stress, increased focus on distractions, or a constant internal "should" voice.
When you know what to do but don't take action, it is because you have an inner conflict. One part of you wants to get started and move forward. Another part of you wants to stop or give up. As a result, you have an inner tug of war, and neither side is stronger than the other side. You know what to do, but you just can't seem to make any headway.
Moving forward into action requires not allowing these two parts to maintain a perpetual battle and keep you at a stalemate. You really are not jammed between a rock and a hard place, it just seems that way. When you bring your conscious awareness into the situation, when you become aware of your two opposing sides, you can lead yourself to success. Both sides of the conflict are your inner team players and it is up to you to get your team out of conflict and into a cooperative effort - moving forward together toward a specific destination.
Use the eight ideas listed below to move beyond complacency and start making your dreams come true:
3. Thoughts Determine Success
Earl Nightingale has a saying: "We become what we think about." So what do you think about? Are your thoughts centered on fear of failure, or the joy of taking action? Thoughts have a powerful impact on your attitude, and your ability to get started. Learn to focus more on the excitement of your goal or dream. Spend time thinking about the outcome you want. Play with your goal, have fun with it. Feel how wonderful it is to imagine yourself having what you want - exactly the way you want it.
4. Start Small
Sometimes it is difficult to begin taking action because you are overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies before you. Your goal looks HUGE . . . so daunting and complex that you freeze up. It helps to break down your goal into manageable pieces. You probably already do this in other successful areas of your business or personal life. You take something big and chunk it down into bite-sized pieces. You make a list of action steps, prioritize, and separate the "nice-to-have's" from the "need to have's". Then you work the first piece first, eventually moving on to the second, the third, and so on. Soon that overwhelming task doesn't look so insurmountable any more.
5. Change Your Routine
How long has it been since you have wanted to have the outcome of your goal, but you haven't moved forward? One way to get unstuck is to shake up your routine. Take a moment and notice the patterns of your day. Have they become predictable and dull? Now check out the goal you have in mind for yourself. Is there perhaps one step in your goal that sounds kind of fun, exciting, different? Not only could you begin taking action on something you have been wanting all along, but it could shake you out of a rut.
6. Reward Yourself
One way to motivate yourself to do something when you don't feel like doing it is to offer yourself an incentive. Don't wait until after you achieve your goal to reward yourself, start now. Give yourself small rewards on a regular basis. Take one teeny tiny step forward and reward yourself for 1) remembering that your goal is important to you, 2) for choosing an action, and 3) for following through. Rewarding your efforts and your successes can do wonders for your motivation. Find ways to make the change you are creating as enjoyable as possible. No one is forcing you to change; it's something you've decided to do on your own. Rewards don't have to be big or expensive, they just have to be something meaningful to you. Make a list of delightful rewards and link them with your actions!
7. Connect The Action With Pleasure Not Pain
When you find yourself lacking motivation, you may be associating the action with pain, rather than pleasure. For instance, when deciding to lose weight, you may be associating the experience with having to eat food you hate, feeling deprived, associating exercise with physical pain or embarrassment, or envisioning failure. Turn this negative cycle around by reminding yourself of your immediate and long-term positive benefits. Make a written list of the instant and future payoffs to working on your goal. What will you gain by choosing to work on the goal? Staying focused on the positive unleashes your internal motivating force and changes your attitude about the actions you are considering.
8. Act When the Idea Is Hot And The Emotion Is Strong
Eventually it's the right time to turn ideas into action. If your ideas have been nurtured and developed, you will know intuitively when it is time to begin. Be aware of when your idea has gained momentum. Notice when positive emotions are present and the idea is strong, clear, and powerful. When this happens, follow up immediately! If you hear about a motivational book that makes you curious, go out and buy it. Get the book before the idea passes, before the emotion gets cold. Begin the process. If five minutes of exercise sounds good right now, don't wait until tonight. Don't force yourself to do forty minutes. Go outside and walk five minutes. Tell yourself you did a great job. Feel really good about listening to your inner self and following through. When the time is right, take action.
Give these eight ideas a try and see if you don't find yourself pushing through feeling stuck into invigorating action!
Eight Steps to Get You Moving Forward by Dr. Annette Colby, RD.
Tuesday, 10. June 2008
What’s so Special about Gratitude?
We usually think of gratitude as something that our parents taught us as children – to say ‘thank you’ along with ‘please’. And so it became a habit – not thought about much, more of an automatic, rather than a considered response. As a result, we have lost track of just how important and essential having gratitude is.
So why is gratitude important?
Just for a minute, think of all the things you are grateful for, such as, loving friends, partners and family, pets who love you unconditionally, good health, great holidays you’ve had, as well as everyday items such as a comfortable home, electricity, TV, fridge, and clean water when you turn on the tap. The list, in fact, could go on and on.
We need to alter our perceptions – our view of how the world is and how things affect us. And if we can do that, then we can start to feel gratitude and as a consequence, start to feel good!
So here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Make a list of everything you take for granted in your life, and be grateful for them – clean water, electricity, telephones, computers, transport systems, rain, health, clothes, family, friends, work.
Start looking at the good in your life – see what’s right instead of what’s wrong.
Learn to be grateful for mistakes – see them as opportunities to learn and grow.
Smile and say ‘thank you’ to as many people as you can each day – the postman, supermarket cashier, bus driver, the car driver who lets you into the queue of traffic.
Send a ‘thank you’ note to someone who has helped you, even in a small way – make this a habit and your appreciation will grow.
Take a moment to appreciate the world around you – a sunset, a flock of birds, trees, blue skies, and the fact that the sun gets up every morning!
At the end of each day make a gratitude list – a list of all the things that have happened today that have made you smile and cheered you up: write down at least five, but aim for ten.
Realise that the more you concentrate on gratitude and seeing the good in everything, the more you will be surrounded and blessed with wonderful things to be grateful for.
Realise what a difference having gratitude can make to your life. That’s why gratitude is so special – use it to feel good!
Source: What’s so Special about Gratitude?, article by Linda McGrory.