Tag Archives: spiritual practice

Soulbyte for Friday January 11, 2019

Stay connected to spirit as you travel your new path, as you notice that no path is without obstacles, without temptations, without enticements. No path is straight and narrow in the human condition, for you must contend with all that you are, light and dark self, inner and outer self, human self and spirit self. Ask for help, guidance, and wisdom as you travel on. Trust that it will come and it will. Trust your own high self within to guide and help you, and trust the greater universal guides and helpers too. A warrior knows and trusts that there is always help on the way. Be a warrior in this manner. Trust spirit, within and without.

-From the Soul Sisters, Jan & Jeanne

Soulbyte for Tuesday January 1, 2019

In this new time of learning and growth, learn to sit quietly, learn to breathe deeply, learn to walk slowly, learn to wait patiently. Learn to open your heart, open your mind, and open your spirit, so that you may be available to guidance from all around you, in the world and beyond the world. Make these inner practices your spiritual practices. Learn also to respect fully, share equally, consider others, even as you turn more inward and get yourself in order. Let this adjustment, this New Year, manmade marker that it is, be the catalyst you have longed for. Take care of yourself in a new way and let this New Year be the one, the marker granting you permission to finally just be you again, the real you, inside and out, matured and honed in a new compassionate way. And know that all other beings seek only the same, to just be at peace, within and without. Keep it simple.

-From the Soul Sisters, Jan & Jeanne

A Day in a Life: Three Ring Circus

I'd been swimming along when I decided to stop and look around. All of a sudden I noticed that things had changed! - Art by Jan Ketchel
I’d been swimming along when I decided to stop and look around. All of a sudden I noticed that things had changed!
– Art by Jan Ketchel

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog called Silent Meditation, about my experiences in the presence of a female guru. I had gone to the silent retreat seeking to jolt my yoga and meditation practice to a new level. Now, two months later, I am beginning to string together the unfolding of that intent, coming in many forms of support—in dreams, in continued practice, and in the never-ending experiences of life.

The female guru was known not only for her teachings but also for her singing of the sacred mantras of India. From the time she was a young child she had been recognized for her unique ability. During the meditation session at the retreat, she put on some music and instructed us to focus on the vibration as we silently chanted our mantras and sought inner silence. She hoped that we would find her voice pleasing.

I have always meditated in silence, so it struck me that we would be listening to music. But as I thought about it, I realized that in my weekly yoga class there is always music. There is even a specific vibration in one song that rattles my bones, or at least that is how I experience it. Every time I hear it, the sound vibration seems to enter my body and go right into my teeth and bones and before I know it I’m vibrating. It’s not unpleasant at all, though it has always felt a little strong to me.

The music of the female guru was beautiful, the vibration extremely pleasant, and I found that I could connect to it. Unlike the sound vibration of the music of the yoga class that I also connect with in a different way, her music melodically flowed right into my physical body. I noticed how my muscles and skin responded by going completely relaxed.

Since that silent retreat, I have listened to music during my own practice of yoga and meditation. I’ve tried a few different types of music—drumming, chanting, and melodious singing, as well as other styles. I have settled on the chanting of a Buddhist monk, a man, who like the female guru, was recognized in his youth as being especially gifted in the singing of the sacred music. The vibration of his music strikes in yet another place, right in my heart chakra, matching the energetic vibration of my own heart. His vibratory energy soars right through my organs and then takes me with it, out of my body and into other worlds.

As I look back on these three experiences of musical vibration, I am struck by the three responses I experienced within my own body self. First, there is the skeletal vibration, which I experience each week during yoga class, representing the core of the physical body, the strengthening of which ensures physical stability. Secondly, there is the vibration of the female voice, much like a mother’s soothing touch that my muscles so responded to. The training of the muscles enables physical prowess and fluidity in this world. Thirdly, I find the vibration of the male voice, the Buddhist monk, so deeply penetrating that my heart and emotions immediately respond. Here, in the organs of the body, are the other aspects of the physical self that require honing if a spiritual practice is to be deeply meaningful, fulfilling, and freeing.

As I study these three experiences that have so aligned with my intent to strengthen and deepen my spiritual practice, I am reminded of dreams unfolding simultaneously. One Sunday night, a few weeks ago, I dreamed of a tall man in tails and top hat, the Master of Ceremonies at a three ring circus.

The first night I dreamed of him, I asked for advice. He told me that the first order of business in achieving a balanced spiritual practice was to get the physical body in tiptop shape. This I see as aligning with the yogic vibration of physical prowess. He also encouraged good eating habits and moderation in everything.

The second time I dreamed of him, exactly one week later, also on a Sunday night, he instructed me in establishing a firm spiritual practice and sticking with it. This I see as the meditation practice as encouraged by the female guru, which I have been deepening.

The third time I dreamed of the Master of Ceremonies, last night, I asked for more advice. “Teach me something,” I said. I dreamed of a woman I had known a long time ago. She told me that her mother had died, but that she was always with her, that they connected all the time. This I see as the awakening of the heart chakra to the truth of our vibratory existence, the kind of experience that I have every time I meditate with my chanting Buddhist monk. He takes me soaring. I am one with the vibration, the vibration is one with me, I am one with the energy of the universe.

There are many roads to the sublime... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
There are many roads to the sublime…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

When I woke up this morning, I knew that the Master of Ceremonies had shown me the third ring in the three ring circus of this life, as we endeavor to reconcile our human/spiritual dilemma. The third ring of a balanced spiritual practice is to recognize that we are all comprised of energy and, as such, we are fully capable of existing in many realms simultaneously. It is our job to strengthen our awareness of this and open up to it. It is what the Shamans of Ancient Mexico teach as well, that we are primarily beings comprised of energy. We come from energy and we will return to energy. In the meantime, however, we must bear the tension of navigating life in the physical bodies that we inhabit.

Our job is to become aware of our energetic abilities and find a practice that will train us in the use of all that we truly are comprised of. The Shamans of Ancient Mexico offer the Magical Passes. I have always found yoga and mediation to fit my inner vibration most compatibly. There is music, there is art, there is dance, there are sports, and all kinds of other activities that can lead us to experience the transcendent. Joseph Campbell speaks of running track when in college and twice having experiences of the sublime, when he achieved complete and total alignment with the energy of the universe that he just happened to be flowing in at the time. We can enter the flow of such energetic alignment by happenstance, or we can train ourselves to enter it volitionally, as I work to achieve in my own spiritual practice.

As my vibratory experiences with three types of music point out, if we are seekers, if we are open and aware, we will eventually discover just what strikes the right chord with our own vibration. And then the universe will join in our endeavors and help us out in a myriad of ways. It may take some time to discover just what the right vibratory chord is. I stumbled upon what I needed by opening to some new ideas and challenging myself to have some new experiences.

By setting the intent to find our way to our energetic selves, we open the door to going beyond the three ring circus of life to vibratory experiences in other worlds. In fact, it was what the female guru was suggesting as we listened to her music. She was asking us to connect to the truth of our energetic reality. It is the key to everything, to the mystical and the mysterious, the awareness that we are first and foremost energetic beings, vibratory beings. Whether we exist in the here and now, or whether we have passed on into other dimensions, our connection to everything is energetic.

I thank the people who teach me, my dream teachers, the people that have intersected my life, the seekers who teach about another reality beyond this so solid one. I am thankful for all that comes to me, for all that I experience, energetically and otherwise!

Thank you too!
Jan

A Day in a Life: We Are The Change

Change is constant... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Change is constant…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

We are in the midst of great change. I see it all around me, in the people closest to me and in the world. No one has not changed in some way over the past few months, and even going further back, because change is constant. So, yes, we have all been changing for a long time. It is, however, most apparent right now.

Change comes to us in many ways, in many forms, in the apparent challenges we must face on a daily basis and in our not so apparent core issues. How we decide to react to change is what makes our journey what it is. Do we embrace change or do we hide from change? Do we go with gusto or do we hold ourselves back? Do we pretend it’s not happening, fearful of having to change, or do we seek it out, eager to get our lives going in a new direction?

The events of our lives, our dreams and our waking dreams, the things that happen to us, the signs and synchronicities that shape our experiences, come to guide us, to show us what we need to work on, how to go about it, and what direction we should take. We are constantly being shown who we are and who we have the potential to become. It’s in waking up to this bigger picture, to the oneness of it all, that we finally grasp that our journeys are orchestrated so that we may one day flow easily with the changes that come to greet us. For there is no denying that life is in constant flux and that our biggest challenge, our biggest anxiety-reducer, is to learn to flow with it.

Take nature for example, predictable in many ways—the seasons, the tides, the sun and the moon, the repetitive cycles of birth and death—yet within nature there are other factors that are unpredictable, constantly interweaving within and through the known, yet they are still part of what nature is all about. Storms and winds, earthquakes and volcanoes, are unpredictable. They can be expected at certain times and under certain conditions, but they do not necessarily adhere to a timetable, nor can they be controlled.

Our lives too are like this, our days laid out for us, but within our daily lives come the harbingers of change, the sudden shifts that can knock us off our feet or propel us to spread our wings.

Easier to look outside of us... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Easier to look outside of us…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

It’s easy to look outside of ourselves and see how the rest of the world is doing. It’s easy to see where others are just not getting it right. But our real challenge is to turn inward, to stop focusing on others and pay attention to what is happening in our own nature, in our inner world. In so doing, we become partners to change rather than opponents to the changing nature of things. We become like the wind and the clouds, more easily flowing with what life brings us. We become more consciously aware of the nature of our personal lives.

We begin to see that as we learn to flow with our lives, our lives flow more easily with us. We are not so shaken up by the events in our lives, whether in our personal lives or what is happening in the world, for we see the bigger natural picture, the constantly changing picture. If this happens, then that happens, then something else will come as well, in an ever-unfolding series of events that help us to grow and understand life in ways we had never imagined we could or should.

My inner nature has been pushing me to more firmly ground myself in my spiritual practice, to keep taking it to new levels, going deeper and higher. At times I am more successful than at other times, but what I do notice is that every time I go into my sanctum, my space where I do yoga and meditation, it is easier and easier to tune out the world and tune into my inner world. My persistence is paying off.

Physically there is less resistance, and mentally there is less intrusion. My mind knows what I am asking it to do, and it stands aside. It knows that this is sacred time and that there will still be plenty of time for it later. In fact, for most of the day I fully accept its presence. “At this moment, nothing is more important,” I tell myself. It’s been established: Nothing, at this moment, is more important than this practice.

As we all face the tension of now, of what is happening in our world, as others make decisions that we may not agree with, we must turn inward and ask ourselves where we too are doing the same things to ourselves. What decisions are we making that are just not that good for our well being? It’s not someone else’s problem either, it’s a problem that we all must deal with personally, on an individual level. If we all dealt with universal issues on a personal level perhaps they would no longer arise in the world outside of us—there would be no reason.

Inner practice leads to great change... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Inner practice leads to great change…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Your inner nature may be pushing you in its own unique way. The first step in beginning a spiritual practice it to begin listening to what is being said and to begin looking around at what you are being shown. The eyes and ears are a sure means of exploring just what is being asked or shown. Then a real dialogue can begin.

Your spirit will always find a way to connect. You just have to be open. Watch how nature unfolds in your daily life, in the storms and gentle breezes both, in the turmoil and the calm. Life is leading you, naturally, in waking and dreaming.

In oneness,
Jan