Saturday, March 31, 2012

A "New-to-Me" Meditation Technique, Part 3

     As an empath, it really jolted my thinking when I read about the meditation technique described by Rabbi Cooper in Ecstatic Kabbalah. As I wrote about it a week ago, it involves taking in the hurts and pains and all the messed-up parts of our world as we breathe in "Weh," and then exhaling the transformative power of the Divine as we whisper "Yah."  Just thinking about taking in other people's stuff made me want to run in the opposite direction!

     But there are other meditation traditions which urge us to do a similar thing.  In Buddhism, the meditation technique for compassion asks us to breathe in the pain of this world and then exhale compassion on the objects of our meditation. 

     Christianity has had similar ideas in its history.  I just finished reading a biography of St. Catherine of Siena, and she believed that by heaping abuses on her own body, either by existing on a starvation diet or restricting sleep or wearing uncomfortable clothes or even painful items, that the acceptance of her own suffering somehow would transform the suffering of her world through grace. 

     Honestly, I find this a very difficult teaching.  We modern folks crave our comfort and abhor suffering.  Empaths have it even worse, because we often take in other people's pain, either physical or emotional, without meaning to or sometimes without realizing it.  To try to escape from other people's suffering becomes an instinctive reaction.  We close off, we shut ourselves up in protective spheres of light, we wear protective crystals, we escape into solitude.  To purposely take in an other's suffering is the last thing we empaths want to do.

      So, I asked my guides, and the answer came through Star Trek and a vision of mussels.  More on that to come.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Random Thoughts on Random Thoughts

     I was driving home today thinking about thinking.  That is, I was thinking about how all the really great books I've loved over the years have included what the different characters are thinking, and how it relates to all the thoughts I go through every day.

     I think that writers need to be hyper aware of their own thoughts.  Look at Anne Lamott.  She bares all her darkest thoughts, makes them funny mainly because we recognize our own dark thoughts, and then shows her thinking about how she overcomes them.  I love her writing.  It's so honest.

     I think that being an empath also teaches us to be aware not only of our thinking but our feelings.  Sometimes I find I'm picking up someone else's anger or irritation and then hear my own thoughts about why I should feel angry or irritated.  When I recognize that my thoughts are following the feelings, I know the feelings weren't mine in the first place.  This isn't to say, of course, that I never get angry or irritated.  Have you seen me in traffic lately?

    That was my thinking about thinking today.  What do you think?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A New Meditation Technique, Part II

     I realized just as I was writing the title that it's rather silly for me to say it's "new;" after all, this technique has been around for centuries!  New title:

A New-to-Me Meditation Technique, Part II

     There.  I feel better.

     There is a second part to this meditation technique.  As you may recall, the first part is one in which we take the Hebrew tetragrammaton which signifies the Creator, YHWH.  We inhale as we whisper "Yah," which represents the transcendent part of the Divine, and then exhale as we whisper "Weh," which refers to the immanent part of the Divine.  We breathe in the transcendent and then breathe it out into our world.  I've found it not only centers me, but helps me remember that I am just an instrument of the Divine will.

     Well, the second part of the meditation technique involves doing the opposite.  First, we breathe in as we whisper "Weh," taking in all the part of our world that needs Divine transformation, and exhale as we whisper "Yah," allowing the Divine to work in the situations and people we encounter.  Rabbi Cooper, in his Ecstatic Kabbalah, suggested not starting this part of the meditation exercise until we've practiced the first one for at least six months.

     As an empath, I was at first shocked that I should be asked to take in other people's stuff.  I already fight every minute of every day to keep from doing just that!  But then I encountered some spiritual practices from other traditions that corresponded to this meditation technique, and it made more sense to me.  More on that next time (don't you loathe cliffhangers?). 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Psychics and Synchronicity

     Did you read the "Dear Abby" column last Saturday?  A young woman, soon to graduate from college with a major in social work, was writing because she was psychic.  She wanted to know if, during a conversation with a child, she "picked up" on abuse happening to the youngster, whether she was required to report it.  Abby wisely replied that she should rather use her psychic intuition to guide her interview with the child, and then use whatever information she gleaned from that to guide her actions. 

     As I read that article, I was struck at how similar this was to Rissa in The Gemini Bond.  Social worker, psychic, wanting to be helpful and do the right thing -- that is so like her!  And then I thought of how sometimes things happen in a meaningful way, as in synchronicity.  You know, Jung's idea that coincidence is far more than that.  And then I thought of The Tipping Point, a book which explains how a certain few can put things together to move the many.  In one example, Gladwell points to the "Mavens," who are people who put together information which gradually affects many people's viewpoints.  And then I thought of my little novel, my "master's dissertation on Twin Souls," as I've called it, and how people might find their questions about Twin Soul relationships answered in a new way.  And then I thought . . .

     . . . . well, I thought that my brain had hopped and skipped about quite enough for one day and let it rest.  Om.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A New Meditation Technique

     I found a great new book on meditation techniques from the Kabbalistic tradition.  Ecstatic Kabbalah, by Rabbi David A. Cooper, presents several techniques for calming the mind, improving concentration, connecting with the Divine, and changing one's world.  The latter two are the ones I wish to share.  (If you want to check out the wealth of information in this little book, click  here to purchase it at Amazon).

     As you may know, the Jewish religion considers the name for what some call God too divine to be uttered aloud or even completely spelled out.  They believe that the divine concept is too large to be grasped by the human mind, and even trying to capture it in a word would necessarily limit it.  They use the letters YHWH, the tetragrammaton (tetragram = a word of four letters), as the incomplete symbol for the Divine. 

     The meditation technique I wanted to share today is one which connects us to the divine.  In this, we first inhale and at the same time whisper (on the intake of breath) "Yah," which is the first part of the tetragrammaton.  "Yah," according to Cooper, refers to the transcendent quality of the divine; the unknowable, the mysterious, the ineffable.  As we exhale, we whisper (on the outgoing breath) "Weh," which Coopers explains as the immanent, the apparent part of the divine.  We inhale, or pull in, the transcendent, and exhale, or let out into our world, the immanent.

     I have found that this meditation technique really helps me get centered and realize that I am an instrument of the divine.  I pull in the Spirit of the Source, allow it to flow through me, and then release it to work in the world.  Way cool.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Emotional Soup

     Do you ever feel like you're drowning in a barrel of emotional soup?  I certainly have lately, and I sense that I'm not alone.  It's the feeling that my emotions and other people's emotions are swimming together in my mind, and it colors everything I think and perceive.  It makes me want to hide sometimes.

     Still, in spite of the emotional soup sloshing around in my head, sometimes I'm called upon to do things for others.  And that's when I realize that the Universe will use me even when my vision and thoughts are clouded by what I'm feeling.  Hurray, Universe, for overlooking my lack of clarity and peace! 

     An angel or other being not susceptible to these crazy emotions would be far easier to work with.  However, the Universe chose us

     I guess this is the price we pay for being on the cutting edge of creation.  We get to swim in emotional soup.  Put your bib on!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mr. Golden Sun

     Have you been having some weird physical symptoms this week?  I sure have.  Yes, the job has its stresses, but that doesn't account for everything.  So, I put two and two together and came up with . . . five, as usual.  Or maybe not.  You be the judge.

     On a whim, I researched the effects of solar flares (which were really raging this week) on the human body.  An interesting list came up:
  • Nervousness, anxiety, worrying (yep, my hands are shaking)
  • Short term memory problems (um, what was that again?)
  • Heart palpitations (and I thought it was the coffee)
  • Nausea and queasiness (or maybe it was something I ate)
  • Head pressure and headaches (like a vise)
  • Body aches (oh, my back)
  • Insomnia (my eyelids are drooping)
  • Fatigue and lethargy (this list is making be exhausted)
  • Hot flashes (hey, watch it!)
  • Moodiness (where are the tissues?)
     Sure, any one of these can be explained by any number of factors.  But consider this -- we empaths are sensitive to energy in the form of emotions and body sensations, so is it too much of a stretch to think that we would also be sensitive to the energy of solar flares?  It's definitely a possibility.

      Meanwhile, let's hope Mr. Sun settles down and we can regain our balance. 


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Sad Twin Story

     I just read an online story about twin sisters, both in their 70s, who died at home within hours of each other.  They were found the next day by police who regularly checked on them.

     The sad part is that they became extremely reclusive in their older years.  They never socialized, didn't visit with the neighbors, rarely left their home, and even cut off contact with family.  People surmised that once one died, the other could no longer live without her twin and followed her in death.

     I realize that the twin bond is unique and very strong, but as a metaphor for the Twin Soul relationship, this is far from what it should be. 

     Many people think that Twin Souls become a world unto themselves, that they find complete fulfillment in each other, and that nothing else in the world compares to their relationship.  In some small ways that is true, but I believe that Twin Souls eventually find each other so that they can complete a work or act of service that exceeds their ability as individuals.  In The Gemini Bond, Rissa finds her Twin Soul for a greater purpose.  Similarly, my belief is that Twin Souls come together to better serve their world rather than escape from it. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dr. Seuss and Stars Upon Thars

     In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday, which was yesterday, I thought I'd reflect on one of his wonderful books, The Sneetches and Other Stories.   The Sneetches are these tall, bird-like creatures that are constantly trying to be hip by having stars printed on their tummies, and when they see that everyone else has stars upon thars, they get theirs removed.  After they see that everyone else's tummy is bare of decoration, they go back and have a star put on again.  After a while, all they end up doing is getting stars put on and then taken off their tummies, until finally they realize how silly it all is. 

     I guess what made me remember that story is that I was checking the review status of The Gemini Bond at and noticed that it has achieved a 4/5 star rating!  I was thrilled, and felt deep gratitude to my readers (thank you!).  But then I remembered the Sneetches and how ephemeral stars really are.  My novel came from my heart and from my experiences, and I need to stand in my own truth rather than focusing on what others think of my work.  It's hard though, in this world where branding and external affirmation is everything. 

     I guess I'll just be happy with my stars and keep focusing on my inner voice.