Striving to Make Spiritual Progress

During my devotional time, I try to learn about other spiritual healers that have accomplished incredible work in the past as well as study those who are doing amazing things for present day people. I don’t limit myself in studying just the ways of Christian healers, but of overall, God’s selected healers on earth. God speaks to all of us in different regions of the world in many ways.

Although my foundation is Christian, I don’t let the name limit the embrace and love I have for humanity nor of people from different religious beliefs. I embrace ALL and respect all. I study other people’s cultures, history, philosophy, theology and mannerisms. Its fascinating to see how much we all have in common. The language barrier among our races is just a reflection of the destruction and confusion in the Babylonian biblical story. However, I do feel that we are evolving into a more united species with the conception of the airplane and internet. I have hopes that one day we will all speak one language and have no color/race barrier among our people.

Today in my devotional studies, I learned of a woman called Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582) who wrote some amazing journals in her 20s. Two of her famous works are Interior Castle and Pilgrim’s Progress. In most of her literary works, she mostly speaks of the spiritual journey one must go through attended by obstacles and joys using illuminated allegory. In her writings, she cautions us not to fight temptations but rather “gently begin a time of prayer and recollection”. She states that little by little will prayer become a habit if we practice it consistently.

Teresa of Ávila’s writings overall reflect the scripture Titus 3:1-8 which states:

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

3At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.8This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

If I never experienced temptation, I would not have appreciated the greatness and goodness of God. The best way I can describe my theory on this matter is this: In order to know what love is, you must experience hate. Opposites in this world are needed in order to be able to fully experience God’s creation. This is the philosophical theory of duality.

There are five ways that we can keep ourselves in check from temptation everyday by using reason, faith, memory, will and understanding. Reason turns us away from sin because it allows us to analyze the cause and effect of our actions. It helps us to keep in check using the concept of karma. Faith turns us away from sin because it is the innermost feeling and belief that God will provide for us exactly what we need to learn and experience here on earth. Memory turns us away from sin because it allows us to retain those past experiences and learned lessons. It allows us to appreciate the good moments of life when we have been in tune with God. The Will keeps us from sin because it gives room for hope and change. And Understanding keeps us away from sin because it allows us to keep our spirit in sync with God and other human beings instead of making us feel separate.

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True Health vs Artificial Health

Everyday, I am amazed about what I learn on the body, the medical industry, the FDA, technology and old holistic ways of our ancestors that have existed for thousands and thousands of years. It almost seems as if we have been in the dark ages since the Library of Alexandria was destroyed by Napoleon. My assessment exists regardless of our superior technology. It’s as if humans are not spiritually ready to handle the technology that is available to us.

I would like to share some paragraphs from medical doctor, Alexis Carrel’s (1873-1944), “Man, the Unknown”.

“There are, as we know, two kinds of health, natural and artificial. Scientific medicine has given to man artificial health, and protection against most infectious diseases. It is a marvelous gift. But man is not content with health that is only lack of malady and depends on special diets, chemicals, endocrine products, vitamins, periodical medical examinations, and the expensive attention of hospitals, doctors, and nurses. He wants natural health, which comes from resistance to infectious and degenerative diseases, from equilibrium of the nervous system. He must be constructed so as to live without thinking about his health. Medicine will achieve its greatest triumph when it discovers the means of rendering the body and the mind naturally immune to diseases, fatigue, and fear. In remaking modern human beings we must endeavor to give them the freedom and the happiness engendered by the perfect soundness or organic and mental activities.

Artificial health does not suffice for human happiness. Medical examinations, medical care, are troublesome and often ineffectual. Drugs and hospitals are expensive. Men and women are constantly in need of small repairs, although they appear to be in good health. They are not well and strong enough to play their part of human beings fully. The growing dissatisfaction of the public with the medical profession is, in some measure, due to the existence of this evil. Medicine cannot give to man the kind of health he needs without taking into consideration his true nature. We have learned that organs, humors, and mind are one, that they are the result of hereditary tendencies, of the conditions of development, of the chemical, physical, physiological, and mental factors of the environment. That health depends on a definite chemical and structural constitution of each part and on certain properties of the whole. We must help this whole to perform its functions efficiently rather than intervene ourselves in the work of each organ. Some individuals are immune to infections and degenerative diseases, and to the decay of senescence. We have to learn their secret. It is the knowledge of the inner mechanisms responsible for such endurance that we must acquire. The possession of natural health would enormously increase the happiness of man

We have so far followed the easiest road. We now have to switch to rough ground and enter uncharted countries. The hope of humanity lies in the prevention of degenerative and mental diseases, not in the mere care of symptoms. The progress of medicine will not come from the construction of larger and better hospitals, of larger and better factories for pharmaceutical products. It depends entirely on imagination, on observation of the sick, on meditation and experimentation in the silence of the laboratory. And, finally, on the unveiling, beyond the proscenium of chemical structures, of the organismal and mental mysteries.”

Changing for the better

When we decide that we want to live a better life spiritually, physically and mentally, we must act at a pace in which our individual being allows. The biggest mistake is to change one’s behavior based on someone else’s measures or accomplishments. We all have different temperaments. If we do not, we will incur unnecessary  stresses to the mind, body and spirit. Also the most effective way to make changes in one’s state is by making gradual changes to one’s entire state. For example, if one does not make efforts to change his behavior of negative thoughts and actions towards other people while simultaneously wanting to go on a diet, the outcome of a healthier body may not be effective. How so? A person must work gradually and cohesively on his mind, body and spirit. The mind, body and spirit work together to create a healthy balance within the individual.

As Francis Bacon (1561-1626) stated in his Essay “Of Regimen of Health”:

“For strength of nature in youth passeth over many excesses, which are owing a man till his age. Discern of the coming on of years, and think not to do the same things still; for age will not be defied. Beware of sudden change in any great points of diet, and if necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it. For it is a secret both in nature and state, that it is safer to change many things than one. Examine thy customs of diet, sleep, excercise, apparel, and the like; and try, in any thing thou shalt judge hurtful, to discontinue it by little and little; but so, as if thou dost find any inconvenience by the change, thou come back to it again: for it is hard to distinguish that which is generally held good and wholesome, from that which is good particularly, and fit for thine own body. To be free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours of meat and of sleep and of excercise, is one of the best precepts of long lasting.”

Though begets action

I am not a preacher but just a woman who tries her best to live in God’s light and would like to share a Universal message to you found also in Christianity.

Note that, being spiritual, God usually does not respond in words, but by changing your perception, motives, desires, attitudes and actions. God gives power to live a truthful life. “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” (1 Cor. 4:20)

When we get angry at people, blame others for something unjust done to us, feel like others did us wrong so we criticize their actions, etc… let us just pray to God that (he) changes us and not the world. Changing our own perceptions, motives, desires and attitudes lead into a change of action. Thought begets action.

Meditation

Transforming Meditations

Meditation is a method for acquainting our mind with virtue. The more familiar our mind is with virtue, the calmer and more peaceful it becomes. When our mind is peaceful we are free from worries and mental discomfort, and we experience true happiness. If we train our mind to become peaceful we shall be happy all the time, even in the most adverse conditions, but if our mind is not peaceful, then even if we have the most pleasant external conditions we shall not be happy. Therefore it is important to train our mind through meditation.

Breathing Meditations

Generally, the purpose of breathing meditation is to calm the mind and develop inner peace. We can use breathing meditations alone or as a preliminary practice to reduce our distractions.

A Simple Breathing Meditation

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid. This can be accomplished by practising a simple breathing meditation. We choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. We can sit in any position that is comfortable. If we wish, we can sit in a chair. The most important thing is to keep our back straight to prevent our mind from becoming sluggish or sleepy.

The first stage of meditation is to stop distractions and make our mind clearer and more lucid.

We sit with our eyes partially closed and turn our attention to our breathing. We breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control our breath, and we try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. This sensation is our object of meditation. We should try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

At first, our mind will be very busy, and we might even feel that the meditation is making our mind busier; but in reality we are just becoming more aware of how busy our mind actually is. There will be a great temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but we should resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. If we discover that our mind has wandered and is following our thoughts, we should immediately return it to the breath. We should repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.

Benefits of Meditation

If we practise patiently in this way, gradually our distracting thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we will feel refreshed. When the sea is rough, sediment is churned up and the water becomes murky, but when the wind dies down the mud gradually settles and the water becomes clear. In a similar way, when the otherwise incessant flow of our distracting thoughts is calmed through concentrating on the breath, our mind becomes unusually lucid and clear. We should stay with this state of mental calm for a while.

Even though breathing meditation is only a preliminary stage of meditation, it can be quite powerful. We can see from this practice that it is possible to experience inner peace and contentment just by controlling the mind, without having to depend at all upon external conditions.

So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind

When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness and contentment naturally arises from within. This feeling of contentment and well-being helps us to cope with the busyness and difficulties of daily life. So much of the stress and tension we normally experience comes from our mind, and many of the problems we experience, including ill health, are caused or aggravated by this stress. Just by doing breathing meditation for ten or fifteen minutes each day, we will be able to reduce this stress. We will experience a calm, spacious feeling in the mind, and many of our usual problems will fall away. Difficult situations will become easier to deal with, we will naturally feel warm and well disposed towards other people, and our relationships with others will gradually improve.

Keep in mind that meditation will allow us to hear God’s words better. For example, if you are Christian, the meditation exercises will allow you to understand and apply the gospels in your life.

Recommended daily food intake servings

Many of us don’t know what should we should be eating to maintain a healthy life. I have learned the hard way. All throughout my 20s, I have had different health problems manifest. My regular medical interist could not help me recover. By the time I was 28 years old, someone recommended that I see a Keneselogist. (Dr. Bland , 200 West 54th St, NY, NY 10019 –  212-246-2330) He introduced me to a new way of life. By that point, I had no choice but to change my life around due to the multiple digestion problems I had. I recommend everyone eat organic foods for reasons I will address in upcoming articles. Please stay tuned.

In the meantime, here are some quick tips on everyday recommended servings.

Everyday you should have:
1. 5 portions of fresh fruits and veggies
• 1-2 servings of green, leafy veggies like spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, parsley, escarole, watercress, kale, collards, other greens
• 1-2 serving of general veggies such as broccoli, green beans, leeks, cabbage, cauliflower
• 1-2 servings of rot veggies such as carrots, turnips, squash, radishes, parsnips.
( Each meal should have at least 1 green veggie and 1 yellow or orange veggie)
• a few portions (up to 5) of sea veggies in weekly diet
• 2-3 servings per day of cooked or raw fruits.

2 3-4 servings a day of brown rice, oats, barley, millet, buckwheat, rye, corn, whole wheat, popcorn or bulgar, potatoes, yams.
(Avoid the squashy air-filled “cushiony” brown bread that says Whole-wheat. )

3. 1-2 daily servings of dry pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, seeds, nuts
• 1-5 servings a week of animal-protein foods, including eggs.
• 2 four-ounce portions per day of fish, poultry, lean meat or veggie equivalent.
• 1 portion a week of red meat (no more) – 4 ounce max
• Avoid luncheon meats like luncheon meats, hot dogs, processed sausages.
• 1-3 servings per week of fish: fatty- oily fish like mackerel, herring, salmon, fresh tuna

4. Good bacteria such as yogurt, acidophilus, miso or fermented soy products.

5. Dairy is hard to digest in adults, intake as “fun” foods.
• Don’t eat more than a few servings per day of organic raw or pasteurized milk.
• 1.2 ounce of free kale or spring beans give same amount of calcium as a cup of milk.
• Ability to absorb calcium depends on amount of phosphorus in your diet.