By Jennifer Carter Avgerinos
Currently, there are some places in my life that feel like they exist purely as tests of will and mental endurance and other places that feel like huge gaping voids that I can’t seem to fill. I won’t elaborate on what those places are because when you’re manifesting, you aren’t supposed to talk about it. I also know people that are dealing with much larger challenges than mine and it’s always good to keep things in perspective. A good friend of mine is reeling from the implosion of her marriage, I have friends looking for work, and I have friends that struggle with depression and loneliness and chronic pain. Staying positive can be a challenge sometimes.
I bought this t-shirt that says TAKE ME TO PARIS and my husband jokes that it should say TAKE ME TO INDIA instead. We have been talking more and more about going there sometime in the near future. I occasionally fantasize about quitting my day job Jerry McGuire style and going there for a couple of months, to see Amma, the Hugging Saint and leaving all my worries behind. It’s good to have a dream, but we all know that sometimes the only way forward is by practicing acceptance of what is and finding some way through it.
I received an attitude adjustment when I learned about a defiant statement of faith that was scrawled on a cellar wall in Cologne, Germany by a Jew hiding from the Nazi Gestapo during WWII. American soldiers discovered it below the Star of David when searching the bombed house. This poem is now a haunting anthem by Mark Miller. Here’s the poem:
“I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when I do not feel it.
I believe in God, even when God is silent.”
How this person could be so hopeful in the face of destruction is amazing to me. It puts everything into perspective very quickly doesn’t it? Suddenly, even our non-insignificant problems seem insignificant in comparison. I am a continual work in progress and life is like all things truly worthwhile, an art. So, I’m keeping my day dreams of India and I take it all one day at a time, valuing all things with such an openness as to provide not only the proper balance, but to allow for proper action when needed. What helps you get by when life gets rugged?
I found the following post by Sava Tang Alcantara, eHow Contributor to be very interesting and wanted to share it.
Puja is an Hindu form of ceremonial worship or ritual that honors one or several of the gods and goddesses in the Indian pantheon, as well as those who believe in a singular god. Puja is done as a form of bhakti yoga which means “devotion.” Puja can be done at home daily and also as a much more elaborate ceremony to ask for blessings or to ask for support to help a certain group of people. There are as many as twenty-seven separate steps for formal puja ceremonies that include offering water to symbolically bath the honored deity, offerings of sweets and fruits, and a light ritual called aarati wherein water is poured from one small vessel to another and a small bell might be rung. A very simplified and informal version can be done with sincerity that will convey your devotion and respect for this ritual and invite the blessings and guidance for which it is designed.
1 Begin by understanding that puja is a tradition that dates back thousands of years. If you are of Indian descent, puja is very likely a part of your cultural fabric and a familiar ritual you may have witnessed your father or other family member perform. Taking such specific rituals from one country and transplanting them to another country is entirely acceptable. However, the idea is to honor its gravity and spiritual importance. Do not disrespect this time-honored ritual. It is powerful and profound
2 Understand the basic elements of a puja. There is meditation on the divine (dhyana), practicing tapas (austerity in terms of an attitude of gravity), reading a religious or spiritual passage to encourage svadhyaya (self study) and several offerings of flowers, fruits and foods (thaal). Traditionally, people bow or kneel or even kiss the image of the Divine during a puja. At the end of the puja, people might affix a vermilion dot on their forehead between the eyebrows, the site of the anja chakra or the third-eye center.
3 Gather the basic components to perform a puja. Start with a small table or mantel upon which you can spread a white cloth. Place an image or representation of the deities or gods or God to whom you are offering this puja on your altar. It can be a small figurine or a small painting or other image.Traditionally, two lamps made of cotton wicks are set in oil or ghee (butter with the milk fats removed). These are not lit until the actual start of the puja. These symbolize the light shining within yourself and that inside the deity you are honoring.
4 Set up a small plate made of some kind of metal, stainless steel or silver and place on it several small thimbles of water for your aarati, turmeric, sandalwood paste, vermilion (called kum kum) and a dozen sticks of incense (these represent our worldly desires—that can be burned).
5 Prepare a second plate by filling it with fruits and several flowers and decorative leaves. The fruits represent self-sacrifice and detachment (which is offered in this ritual). Set up a small container of raw, unbroken rice in which turmeric has been mixed and not cooked. Called akshata, it is an offering.Prepare several small quantities of sweets and other foods that are covered. A white cloth to symbolize the male is set on this “altar” and a more colorful cloth to symbolize the female.
6 Select a deity, or god that is the focus of this puja. To whom are you offering these fruits and asking for blessings? Select a mantra or prayer or religious or spiritual passage that is appropriate for the intention of your puja. Your puja may be one of seeking protection, seeking guidance, or expressing gratitude.
7 Clear the immediate area of any distractions such as loud music or ringing phones. Set your intention mentally by visualizing in your mind’s eye the form of the deity or gods that you are offering this puja to.
8 Light the candles and say the mantra or prayer or in your own words state the purpose of your puja: blessings, expressing thanks or seeking guidance. Offer the fruits and flowers and set them near the image or picture on your altar. Light the incense sticks to represent you are burning your worldly desires and detaching from them.
9 Repeat the religious or spiritual passage you selected, adding what your intentions are: to bless a certain group of people or to seek specific guidance.Close your eyes for several moments of silence and affix the vermilion mark on your forehead (tilaka) using a small “wand” that is dipped into sandalwood paste and then a red-colored powder. If this is not your custom, you do not have to do this.
Read more: How to Do Puja | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4525140_do-puja.html#ixzz1xVRCJCeD
The following is a SHARING by one of my favorite teachers and a dear friend- Mary Beth Canty, owner of innerfairy- www.innerfairy.com.
I asked her if she wanted to give this short excerpt from one of her newsletters a title. She reminded me to use all the spacing she uses to represent breath... thought... and purpose. And... she decided to call it...
"Let's keep it real."
"I sat down to write this missive on 11-1-11. That's a series of 1's. New beginnings. Anybody who follows pop spirituality will hear about gateways from time to time. Hint: watch for numerology alignments and planetary alignments for gateways -- and take what you read or hear about them from others with a grain of spiritual salt.
Lately, it seems every time I get on the internet, someone is talking about a gateway. I'll open the link, read about 3 sentences and then my head starts swimming.
Anyone who knows me knows that I value practicality with my spirituality. I am, in many ways, about as "out there" as you can get, but I'm very careful about how I share the information I access.
What good is information if it sounds dismissible at the outset?
Sometimes I have to wait weeks before sharing. Sometimes months. Sometimes years.
And then there's the stuff I just have to sit with. (And that's the fodder for ALL of my work.)
But let's face it... And be honest about it... When you start poking around and through the dimensions, you can access Crazytown. :)
No doubt about it.
Suffice it to say, that my credo is, if you can't bring what you detect back into 3-dimensional reality in a way that is listenable, you need to keep working on it.
But back to 11-1-11. Yes, I know we're erasing the 20 in 2011, but that's how we write the date in America. (In Europe, it would be 1-11-11.)
That, my friends, represents an alignment of the numeral 1. The first integer. One of the components of all 1 O data. 1. A symbol, that once upon a time, was channeled to represent an idea, a concept. A symbol that impressed enough people that they agreed to use it together to express, in written form, something that they collectively intuited or felt to be true.
Symbols are powerful things. And we seldom stop to think that the Arabic numerals we use to express counting, the letters in the alphabet that we use to create words -- were once channeled to solidify and represent something previously intangible.
Really, seriously, have you ever contemplated why a 1 looks like a 1? The form of it expresses something.
And that something is in the breathless place of pure idea. And that takes you somewhere."