Soul Retrieval: The Past and The Present

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First of all, I want to say thank you to Tracy for her follow-up comments about her recent experiences which she said resulted from her soul retrieval. When I read her comments I was surprised. I didn’t realize a year had already passed. That fact got me to thinking about the difference between ancient times and our ‘modern’ time. I remember reading about that difference. It was in something Sandra Ingerman wrote. I thought it was in her book Soul Retrieval: Mending The Fragmented Self, but I was wrong. Stuck in the book as a kind of bookmark was a copy of her monthly newsletter from January 2013. That’s where I read her comments comparing present and past.

And so I quote Sandra from that newsletter: “I am not trying to over romanticize indigenous cultures. But in indigenous cultures people from birth were supported in the gifts they were born with to share in their communities. And Soul Retrieval ceremonies were performed right after a trauma occurred in someone’s life. People in indigenous cultures were taught to live a harmonious life and also knew what caused any disharmony resulting in illness.”

“Life is not so simple in Western cultures. We are not always supported to live a life filled with meaning. We often cannot ‘connect the dots’ to how our lifestyle has created emotional and physical illnesses we are dealing with today. People lose parts of their soul at very young ages and show up to shamanic practitioners for Soul Retrieval work many years after a trauma has occurred in their lives.”

“I truly believe that the reason shamanism has survived over 100,000 years is the ability of the helping spirits to evolve the work to deal with the needs of people in different cultures and different times.”

Sandra’s comments are spot on. At different times in my life I wondered, how did someone deal with this in the past? When I was six and my mother died, my family didn’t take me to a Psychologist. That profession was still in its early years of development. I kept my feelings inside and didn’t learn how to let them out until after I was married, in my thirties. And it wasn’t until after I was taught Soul Retrieval that I recovered part of myself that had gone away.

I’m not complaining. I believe this is how my life was supposed to evolve. I was supposed to go through the struggles. It helped make me who I am today. But that’s not the way it has to be for everyone and I am thankful to Sandra Ingerman for teaching Lauren Torres, who in turn taught me, so that I can help others.

Soul Retrieval: Follow up from Tracy

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Hey Paul,

I couldn’t find the original link to my soul retrieval, but I had another breakthrough I wanted to share. A year later and I am still having breakthroughs… Thanks again. This is a combination of meditations and dreams over the last couple of days.

The last three weeks have been quite a whirlwind. Drama at work, an amazing vacation and psychic reading in Sedona, a desperate escape from my job, lots of worry and reconnecting with the root chakra, having an amazing heart chakra moment with my boss, and me in complete, dumbfounded peace.

I went into the work meeting with an objective script about my perspective of some recent issues, had a mirror shoved in my face… though I didn’t know it at the time… about how my heart chakra has been closed off. How I perceive their behavior towards me, I was irritating to them…. Yet she says I make those others feel the exact same way. The people around you are a reflection of you.

I saw the beams of light interconnect. A sudden look towards the sky with glowing green heart chakras. One connection is made and thousands respond to the call. They accept, they love, they embrace you with compassion. One tiny speck, in a thousand points of light. I had a constructive conversation with someone who would be the only person right now I consider a long shot mother figure, and there was no yelling, no screaming, no passive aggressive exchange, no humiliation.

I told her my grievances and she provided some back. We discussed it, shared in some recent traumas in each other’s lives, and she was worried about how I was feeling. HOW I WAS FEELING! I told her I needed to clear the air about a few things, told her how upset I was during recent interaction in the office and she said I had every right to be upset about it. I HAD EVERY RIGHT. I finally chose to stand up and tell someone, who is in an intimidating hierarchal role for me personally and she worried about my feelings, telling me I had the right to feel them.

I have barely slept since Thursday night. I looked at dark ceilings processing the emotions, crying, tossing and turning, mulling it all over, seeing another truth, reworking it, seeing another and then waking this morning to peaceful clarity that I hadn’t felt in a long time. My mother made me feel that way. Like crisp, white linen eyelet dresses. The peace of morning light seeping through leaded glass panes, the rainbow prisms scatter, you see the dust play its way through the beams of burning white light. It was stark, but peaceful. It was innocent, playful, uninhibited. Goofy, silly, giggling. I believe this was the final merging of the inner child aspect I gained back last February during my Soul Retrieval. I gained back my childlike wonder. I know I was always very chatty, wanted to know everything about everything.

On the other hand, my stepmother had a black heart. Later, when she came on the scene, she took sport in emotional abuse. I was a wrench in her perfectly laid out life plan, but I came with a social security check so she kept me around. Last night, those wounds healed and this morning, I don’t feel the black heart anymore. Just white, blinding light…. Leading me somewhere. It’s amazing all we go through to experience the human condition. The contracts we sign before the next incarnation. I finally understand that my karmic issue this time around is healthy boundaries. I am an empathic healer. I have always known, but really would hate to admit it before. I looked at it as a negative instead of a positive. See as I was brought up with the black heart, I felt that I had to feel and internalize others pain. It was my duty. I was the emotional dumping ground. If I didn’t, I was made to feel guilty for not accepting each spoonful. It’s true… deep pains always find their way to the surface. The black has bled from my heart and I feel the burning white light pulse through once more. Namaste.

Native American Concept of Religion

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I’m reading God Is Red, by Vine Deloria, Jr., a well-known Native American scholar and author of several books about Native Americans and their beliefs.

Something I have just realized, from reading the above book, is one of the most significant differences between Western religious belief and Native American religious belief: Time and Space. In fact that is the title of chapter 4 of his book. The easiest way to understand the difference is to look at each group separately.

Since the first explorers came from Europe, our Western European ancestors were mostly Christians, with some other groups mixed in. Christianity started two thousand years ago and spread from the Middle East into Europe where it became the prominent religion. It didn’t matter what European country you were from, you could be Christian. And when the Europeans migrated to the New World, Christianity came with them. For those of us who grew up Christian, this seems as a natural course of events. This, according to Mr. Deloria, is the Time view of religion. No matter where you are or where you go, your religion is with you.

For American Indians, however, their land had the greatest meaning in their spiritual beliefs. All of their beliefs included the land as the place where they experienced their relationships with other life forms. Their spiritual experiences, through rituals and ceremonies, were associated with place. In some cases a place was set aside as sacred ground. This has never changed. American Indians still hold some locations as sacred, even though they may be forbidden to live there. Sacred places were where they could go to communicate with spirits; places their tribes had occupied for thousands of years. This is why they refused to move from their lands when settlers arrived. It was not just the issue of ownership. It was the also the importance of their spiritual beliefs.

This was the cause of much misunderstanding and conflict when Western Europeans arrived. As Mr. Deloria writes (pages 61 and 62), “When one group is concerned with the philosophical problem of space and the other with the philosophical problem of time, then the statements of either group do not make sense when transferred from one context to the other without the proper consideration of what is taking place.”

Native American View of Death

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Information and quotes provided here are from Healing Secrets of the Native Americans by Porter Shimer.

When Native American warriors prepared for battle, they dressed in their finest clothes and best headdress. They did this to prepare themselves in case they died. They wanted to be ready for their funeral. Rather than fearing death, they welcomed it.

While early Native Americans did not believe in heaven in the Christian sense, they did believe in an afterlife. They believed they were immortal and would go to a spirit world where they could interact with animal spirits, plant spirits, and earth spirits as well as human spirits. They were glad to leave their bodies behind because they believed they would be reborn onto earth in a future time. It was all part of a continuous cycle of life. Death was the end of the present physical life, a gateway to the spirit world, and eventually the way to rebirth on earth.

Native Americans buried their dead with their prized possessions because they wanted them to enjoy the spirit life. The spirit world was viewed as similar to our physical life, but mostly as a non-physical world in another dimension; one that is pleasant to inhabit.

To Native Americans, death was not an ending, but a gateway to the next world. Dying was as natural as being born and the two activities were interrelated; like two sides of the same coin. The author quotes Robert Blackwolf Jones: Everyone should yield to death and die gracefully, he says, because in some ways it is the most noble thing we’ll ever do.

Journeys and Meditation

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The first time I used the CD from Awakening To The Spirit World my intention was to go to the Lower World, see the cave that I had imagined as my entrance to that world, and meet my first power animal. I had read the directions on how to journey and followed them. Track three on the CD began to play. I pictured myself traveling to the cave’s location. It was easy. I was surprised. And before I could walk up to the cave an animal came along and I knew instantly it was my first power animal. I reached down, petted it and we walked into the cave together. My power animal led the way and showed me two other animals which also became my power animals. It happened just like the book suggested it might. When the journey ended I petted each animal, said goodbye, and returned to what we know as normal consciousness. I was amazed at how easy it was and how clearly I saw the cave and animals, and how I immediately understood what was happening.

When I told this to my teacher, Lauren, three years ago, she said it was probably easier for me because of all the meditation I had done. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. As time has passed I know that, for me at least, this was one of the unanticipated benefits of all the hours I spent meditating. I might have done OK without it, but I know it helped.

The first time a person tries journeying to the spirit world, they have mixed feelings. They aren’t sure they will succeed. And even when they do succeed, it is easy to have doubts as to whether they really made contact or just imagined it. Sometimes I still wonder about this myself. I get a satisfactory answer when I ask myself two questions: ‘Did everything go as I thought it would?’ and ‘Did I accomplish what I set out to do?’ When the answer to the first question is ‘no’ I understand that my journey was real. If I was imagining it, it would have gone as I thought it would. The second question is a little trickier. Sometimes, rarely, the spirits decide I should not journey in a certain way or to a certain place and they refuse to help, probably for my own benefit. On the other hand, perhaps I needed to spend more time defining what it was that I wanted to accomplish before attempting the journey.

As you can see, journeying is not something I take for granted. I believe these reality checks are what keep me performing the journeys. I am keeping an open mind. In the case of soul retrievals, the feedback I get from my clients is both positive and encouraging.

Meditation: Fish versus Pond

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This is a follow-up to the two posts I recently wrote about meditation. Hopefully, meditation will help us make better decisions in our lives. It should help us discard information that is inaccurate or biased. In keeping with this idea, I decided to share something with you about choice of college. It shows how our beliefs can sometimes mislead us and cause us problems. For example, we think the school with the higher scholastic rating is best for our kids. It is, isn’t it?

I am reading David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, by Malcolm Gladwell. In chapter three he talks about attending college and our perception of the advantages of attending the top institutions. I say perceptions, because he found there was also a serious disadvantage. On page 81 he writes, “More than half of all American students who start out in science, technology and math programs (STEM, as they are known) drop out of their major after their first or second year.” He raises the question as to whether they were not smart enough to get the degree they desired or whether there were other reasons. He found a study a couple of sociologists had done in the 1990’s that had stunning numbers. They had compared average SAT scores with the ability to get a degree by breaking the student SAT scores into three groups: high, medium and low. Then they compared the groups to see what percentage of each group got their degree.
Here are two colleges which are rated at different levels of academia: Harvard, and a smaller college in upstate New York, Hartwick. Here are the three groups of Math majors, SAT scores and percent getting a math degree:
SCHOOL        Top Third    SAT     Middle    SAT     Bottom    SAT
HARVARD    53.4%            753       31.2%        674      15.4%       581
HARTWICK  55.0%           569      27.1%        472       17.8%       407
You can see that I used bold numbers for the bottom Harvard group and the top Hartwick group. That’s to show that, even though the lowest Harvard group scored higher than the highest Hartwick group on their SAT scores,  55% of the Hartwick group got math degrees while only 15.4% of the low Harvard group got math degrees. This was in spite of the fact that the low Harvard group exhibited a higher (average) SAT score than the high Hartwick group. At the same time, the percentage of students getting a math degree was similar in each category regardless of which school they attended.
The reason so many students in the middle and low SAT score categories drop out of the math major? They see how much smarter their classmates are, become discouraged, and decide they just aren’t smart enough to get the math degree. Gladwell lists a total of 11 universities on the same table and the success rates are virtually the same for each one.
Conclusion: It’s better to be a big fish in a small pond.  I love stuff like this and Malcolm Gladwell is one of my all-time favorite authors.

Ancient Wisdom: The Heart

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The quotes which follow are from The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols (pages 566 and 567) by Adele Nozedar, published by Harper Collins, 2007.

“The heart symbolizes the very center of being, both physical and spiritual, and has been twinned with the soul since time immemorial – even before the Egyptian “heart-soul” was weighed by Maat, the Goddess of Truth. As the last organ left in the mummy, the ideal heart was meant to be as light as a feather – Maat wore the ostrich  feather that has equally-balanced fronds as a symbol of justice. The heart should not be weighed down by misdeeds or untruths.”

“In the Hindu faith, it is called the Brahmapura, or House of Brahma.”

“In the Jewish tradition we find that the Holy of Holies is the heart of the temple of Jerusalem, which is the heart of the world in Judaism”

“The idea of the heart containing the ‘home’ of God is symbolized by the Kabbalistic image of the inverted heart that contains the letters of the tetragrammaton, the secret name of God.”

“In Islam, the heart is symbolic of the inner life of a person, of meditation and contemplation.”

“To put your heart and soul into something is to invest a project with as much energy and commitment as can be mustered. When we make a vow and we put our hand on our heart, this shows our sincerity to keep the promise.”

“The heart became associated with love recently, in the Middle Ages, and today the stylized heart symbol is synonymous with both the word ‘love’ and the concept, and is most prevalent around the time of St. Valentine’s Day on February 14th.”

May we open our hearts not only to all human beings, but also to all the elements and other beings, spiritual and physical, who share the benefits and abundance of Mother Earth.    HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Dream: A Black Cobra Snake

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Monday night I dreamed I was outside in nice weather with other people. Suddenly a woman screamed and the crowd of people started moving quickly. I looked on the ground and saw a black cobra coming through the grass. It was three or four feet long and had spread its hood. I was frightened. I don’t mind snakes; I’ve even held them a few times in the past. But this time I was nervous. The snake came right up to my feet and I reached down quickly and picked it up. It seemed to become smaller once I grabbed it. I didn’t hurt it and it did not bite me, but wiggled in the grasp of my hands. I awoke from my dream wondering what that was all about.

I forgot about the dream until last night and made a mental note to read Animal Speak by Ted Andrews to see what meaning it might have. This morning I checked it out. Andrews wrote that since snakes adapt so well to their environments, it could be an indication that the person who has this for a totem is also very adaptable. While adaptability is good, an adaptable person needs to be conscious and cautious of the groups with whom he or she associate. They must choose their friends wisely.

Andrews also wrote that the snake has been considered a God symbol as well as a symbol of evil, depending on the culture. Because of the fact that it sheds its skin, it is also a symbol of death and resurrection; the same capability is also seen as being able to move between the realms of the living and the dead. He said snakes are also symbols of change and healing.

On page 350 Andrews states, “Some people will acquire reptile totems as they grow older or go through specific changes in their life. Such changes can be very dramatic – a kind of death/rebirth process – or they may gentle assertions of new opportunities. When a reptile comes into your life, look for opportunities to assert yourself and develop self-reliance on some new level. The unfoldment of self-sufficiency will begin to occur.”

I have printed out a picture of a black cobra and put it in my computer room. I’ll let you know what, if anything, happens.

Thought Control: Take This Test

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As promised, here is the simple test you can try to see how well you control your thoughts:

First: Sit in an upright position on a couch or chair, feet flat on the floor, hands folded together in your lap. Be sure you try this at a time and in a place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.

Second: Relax for a moment. Close your eyes. Take three relaxing breaths at your normal breathing rate. All breathing throughout the test should be at your normal rate. Do not force your breathing.

Third: After the three relaxing breaths, start counting your inward breaths and outward breaths. Example: breathe in, ONE; breathe out, TWO; breathe in, THREE … and so on until you get to TEN. If other thoughts distract you and interrupt your counting, START OVER at ONE.

The goal is to get to the tenth count without having other thoughts interrupt your concentration. This looks easier than it sounds. My guess is that less than 5% of the people who try this for the first time will get to ten without starting over, probably many times. Please feel free to comment on how the test went for you and ask questions. I will be glad to answer your questions and I’m curious to see how many people try it and how many succeed the first time.

For those of you who want to try meditation, this test can be used as a meditation technique. The counting will help you track your progress and give you a method of seeing how well you are doing. But don’t look on this as a contest of some sort. Depending on a person’s state of mind, even an experienced meditator might have trouble getting to TEN even once during a 20 minute meditation, on a given day. When you do get to TEN, congratulate yourself and start over again. Keep meditating for ten minutes.

The real importance of meditation, regardless of technique, is that, no matter how many times you have to start over, you simply begin again. You should not get frustrated with yourself. You should simply think, ‘ Oh, I got distracted. I’m not counting. OK. I’ll start again.’ The process is more important than the score. The process, realizing you are not counting, is the only important part. It is when you once again become aware of what your mind is doing and you gently and lovingly return its focus to counting your breaths. One meditation teacher said it was like learning to bake bread. You do it over and over again until you know how to do it so well that it becomes second nature.

I sincerely hope you enjoy this experiment. Let me know how it goes!

My Spiritual Path: Realizing My True Self

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I started meditating in the 1980’s, continued periodically into the 1990’s and in 1997 started a daily practice that lasted until 2005. At first I meditated for twenty minutes, twice daily. From the summer of 2000 until mid-2005, I increased my meditation time to one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening seven days a week, 365 days a year. During that time I rarely missed a meditation session.

Before I started meditating, I thought it was like going off to la-la land on a mental vacation. Once I started, I found that meditation was a difficult, highly helpful way to train my mind to be present in the here and now. So why did I stop? That’s hard to say; I think I was looking for something that was more ‘active’ as a spiritual path. Perhaps one hour twice a day was too much and I got burned out.

I have since begun meditation again because I realized I missed the benefits of twice-a-day, 20 minute meditations. Once I got back into it I found I was calmer, more focused on what I was doing, and less worried . The worry part is important. I’ve read that 85% of what we worry about never happens. Worrying is a waste of time and, more importantly, emotions. I am more productive when I meditate than when I don’t. I’m amazed at the difference. Once I had been meditating again regularly for a month or two, I began to pay attention to my thoughts and not let them run away with my emotions. Why is this important? Because worry is a big distraction. It keeps me from focusing on my main goal in life; realizing my True Self.

There are only two things that exist: God and God’s creation, which is a reflection of God. I believe that our destiny as humans is to realize the divine which exists within us. We are here to learn to become more like God. The better we learn, the closer we move to a reunion with God. That reunion is our ultimate destiny. Meditation is the best method I have found to help me set aside the mundane concerns of my ego and help me focus on realizing not only what my personal destiny is, but also how to get there. Meditation is a method of seeing and following the road map to my True Self.

Next blog: How well can you control your thoughts and worries? Try this quick, simple test!

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