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Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guides in Hypnosis (Visit 3)

Visit 3: Walking on Water

To read the first Tess Chronicles installment click here, the second installment is here.

I arrive at the place I was at the first time I visited here and met David. I don't enter through any gates this time. It is windy, as it is each time I am in this place "on the other side." (Tess later interprets the ever-present wind to be a sign of constant energy.)

I am standing by the tree where I first met David. But instead of going into the wooded area, I am drawn to go the other way, towards the water's edge. On the other side of the water, Jesus appears. 

He says to me, “Come over here.” 

I respond, “I can't. I'll get wet if I have to swim through the water.” 

I then think to myself, “Why can't he just come over here?” 

As if reading my thoughts, he says, “You can walk on the water.” 

I find this idea utterly silly, but to my surprise,

as sure as I can walk on solid ground, I walk across the water. Jesus meets me half way, and we walk to the other side together.

We climb up a small hill, and I laugh to myself because I think it's really funny that Jesus is climbing up a hill in his open-toe sandals and white robe. At the top of the hill are two big rocks, perfect for us to sit on and from which to look over to the other side. The surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful—trees and grassy areas abound, all lush with vibrant color.

We talk and I start to ask the questions I have prepared.

(Note: I, Cynthia, had asked Tess to come up with some questions to ask for this session, questions about anything that she wanted--the world, herself, life, and such.) 

Somehow I’m finding it difficult to speak the questions out loud. I also have a hard time staying in the present moment. I am told by a voice in my head to concentrate. 

Jesus tells me that I already know the answers to these questions, and that next time we meet, Cynthia needs to come up with the questions instead.

(Note: Those questions and answers are in the next installment.)

Then I say, “Where is David? How come I never see him anymore? I thought he was meant to be my spirit guide.” David instantly appears. But he sits slightly below us on the hill. I ask him, “Why are you sitting down there?" Come up here,” I say, “Sit with us.” David says, “I am your humble servant and would be happy to sit up there.” 

His response is very unsettling. 

I say to Jesus, “I thought David was my

guide. He should be showing me what to do, not being my humble servant.” I can’t remember my reaction or his, but I do remember Jesus saying, “You are my queen.”  I think this is all really strange and I say, “But am I not David's wife?” It makes no sense.

Then I wonder, at this point, how much my conscious mind is interfering with the information I am receiving. As if reading my thoughts, Jesus tells me, “You will get better at this (communication) with time.” I am told that it’s time for me to go.

*******

This session was disturbing for Tess, especially when David said he was her "humble servant" and Jesus told her, "You are my queen." It's rightfully unsettling, but once I break it down, it really isn't that out there.

Our spirit guides are those who are more advanced than we are, often they are people we have known and been close to in past lives. Now they've become our teachers. It is said that when we finish our reincarnation cycle, meaning we have paid our karmic debts and learned the lessons we are meant to learn, then our job, so to speak, becomes that of serving--being of service.

Some of these advanced souls reincarnate to serve in the world, others help from beyond the world as spirit guides, and others yet are teachers to those on the other side. So it's actually fitting that David would say to Tess, "I am your humble servant." Even though the traditional idea of a servant is one who is "less than;" in this case, it would be one who is "wiser than." David has completed his reincarnation cycle and is now available to simply serve, and to serve Tess in hypnosis, specifically.

I think Jesus saying, "You are my queen" may be related to the incident that Tess had when she was a child, which we chronicled in the second installment. (She was told that she was Mary by an older woman Italian shopkeeper.) The historical Mary is referred to as "The Queen." Does that mean Tess is the incarnation of Mother Mary? Not necessarily. She is probably tapping into the collective unconscious of the energy of the spirit of the one who was Mary.

Also, Tess asking the question, "But am I not David's wife?" could be because in a past life Tess was his wife, not necessarily during David's life as David, but in another one of his lives in which they were together. She could access that information in hypnosis, as all of our past information is stored in the subconscious. Out of hypnosis she never would have said such a thing. But in hypnosis, that was her natural quick response. It could also be that she is bonded to David, as he is a spirit guide to her, and a symbol of that bond is the idea of a "wife."

What stands out to me as well in this session is the walking on water part. I think it's a metaphor for all of us to learn from. Tess gives reasons why she can't do it, but Jesus simply says, "you can." Once she trusts him and makes the effort, she is able to perform this seeming miracle, and Jesus meets her half way.

You don't have to believe in the biblical Jesus to benefit from her experiences in hypnosis. You don't have to believe in any of this, actually. Even if you looked at the messages she is receiving as metaphor, or at Jesus and David as symbols of love, truth, divinity, spirit, or whatever, it is still very helpful. The idea that there is one within us (perhaps, our higher self or even our own spirit guide) that knows we can do what we set out to do, that we do have mastery over our physical reality, all we have to do is trust that voice, and then make the effort. Once we take those first steps, Jesus, God, the whole universe meets us halfway.

Every effort in the right direction has great strength that rises up to walk us the rest of the way.

Listen to that still small voice, believe, and make the effort. 


Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guides in Hypnosis (Visit 2)

Visit 2: A View from Above

To read the first Tess Chronicles post click here.

Though this session was done a couple of years ago, the profound experiences Tess had in this session have never left my mind.

I’ve come to understand that this particular hypnosis visitation was really a teaching about death. I hadn’t thought of that right after the session, or when Tess was relaying the experience back to me, nor when I wrote it out and read it through a couple of times, or even when I reflected on it. It wasn’t until just now while posting this that the thought occurred to me. I think her spirit guide wanted us to see that, in the words of Robert Monroe, “We are more than our physical body.”

 *******

As I am floating up higher and higher on what Cynthia calls my “cloud mattress,” I think of a guy I had driven by the day before who had been in a car accident. I had witnessed him laying motionless on the side of the road, and thought he must be dead. It was unsettling, and I thought about him a lot since I last saw him. 

From my cloud mattress, I now see this same guy rising above his body on the side of the road performing somersaults and backflips in the air. I think, “Why is he doing that?” As soon as I think a question, the answer usually just comes. I understand it is because it’s what he wanted to do (somersaults). He seems to be enjoying it.

Later, he is on another cloud just above me. I can’t see him but I know he is there.

Once I reach my destination, I come to a hilly field with long lush grass. There are vibrant green trees to each side. I lie on the grass, it is so nice and soft; the sun is shining on me.

Up to this point in the hypnosis session, I am experiencing something unusual. My physical body is feeling like I am going completely sideways. The sensation is disturbing enough that I think I will have to take my self out of the hypnosis to stop it.

David, my spiritual guide, tells me (via a voice) to stay calm. He says once I meet him I will feel okay.

Cynthia says. “You are now aware that you are not alone.” I see spirits walking and peeking out from amongst the trees alongside the grassy hill, and then David appears, looking exactly as he did before with the long beard, wearing the same white glowing robe. At this point, my physical body feels upright and normal again. I no longer panic about my physical self.

As I stand up to go towards him and he moves towards me, we become one.

It’s hard to put into words and explain, but there is no sensation that this is a moment, it just is.

I see light around the environment, but other images around us are hazy. Once I join David in his light, a sense of calm envelops me. It’s as if we melt together.

David says, “We are one. We are the same.” I find that hard to comprehend and he explains that even though he is David and I am who I am, we are still part of the same.

He tells me that when he guides me, I also guide me.

I can’t remember the order of questions and answers that I have prepared to ask him today, and I can’t even remember if I ask the questions or just think them.

I ask questions about money again, nothing specific. “Will I have enough?”

He answers that I should not worry about money and all those other sorts of things. 

He tells me that it has already been decided—that I never need worry about money and such things, that I will always have enough. He says, “I will take care of all of that if you trust that I will.”

In my day-to-day life, I have often wondered if I could win the lottery. I do not ask this question when I am with David, but he tells me that I will not win the lottery. He says, “Because that would be too much money and would bring only another set of worries.” H

e explains that I will have it just so, so I will not have to ever worry.

I have some other questions about things – an important potential job my husband is waiting to hear on. He says, “Yes, it will happen.” He tells me this almost in passing with no importance attached to it whatsoever. (Later I come home and learn that it is true, my husband got the job.)

Then David says, “Come this way.”  We walk over the hill and see the other spirit guides from the first visitation. Again they are sitting in a circle around a tree stump, but they’re less clear to me this time. I notice in this hypnosis session that I am receiving less images, and they're blurry, but the feelings and sensations are much stronger than other hypnosis sessions.

I then ask David who he is and how they are a part of all of this. He says (referring to me, as well), “We are all one. We are a group. We are the chosen ones.”

I am taken aback. I think that is completely embarrassing and egotistical to think of myself in that way. He says, “That is exactly why you are who you are. It is better to be humble.” He tells me I choose to come here for us all to learn and that I am very brave and courageous. It makes me uncomfortable.

I ask, “Are you King David?”

He answers, “Yes, I was.”

I am curious, “How am I part of the group?”

He says, “It is not important who you are or who you were. You do not need to know this now.”

I surprise myself by asking, “Am I Mary?” *

No answer.

* (I believe Tess asked this question because of an inexplicable experience she had when she was ten years old. Her family was vacationing in Taormina, Sicily, Italy when she and her mother walked into a market. The shopkeeper, an older woman, ran up to Tess, wanting to touch her. She said, "She is the Virgin Mary" and explained that she had seen her (Tess) in a dream. Tess' mom was shook up by the experience and quickly left the shop. Tess does not remember the experience, but her mother relayed it to her a few years ago.)

David tells me that we are all a group, but he has been chosen from the group to be my guide. He says, “It is an honor and a privilege to guide you.” This makes me feel very emotional. I have tears in my eyes. 

He then motions me, “Join in the group.” We all join our hands together again; we are one.

Cynthia’s voice tells me, “Your guide has something special to show you.” He laughs and says, "We are already one step ahead of her."

He takes me farther down the hill to an edge. What I see is hard to describe. I see the earth below, but the view is like a map of lights above a dark blue world. The lights below are in fast motion, crisscrossing over each other.

I am only now aware that above us are only to be described as shooting stars of light and air that arch above our heads from the world below, moving really fast, and then shoot behind us. There are lots and lots of them all the time, all traveling at great speed. It is something spectacular to behold.

I don’t know where they are going to, but then

I am made aware that they are other spirits (souls/people) leaving earth. They are spirits returning Home.

I wonder, “Why aren’t they coming over here, to where we are?” I receive no answer. I giggle to myself because I find it funny that they travel so fast. I would have imagined that they would be very slow and deliberate. The feelings I have are of calm serenity; I have no fear.

Cynthia says, “It is time to come back now.” David assures me it is time to go now and I can come and visit any time.

As I am guided back down to earth on my cloud mattress I think about Locked-in Syndrome (which I have reading up on a lot recently) and I have the thought that if researchers tried hypnosis on Locked-in Syndrome patients, it may wake them up.

One more thing, at some point during this time David tells me that Cynthia is my guide on earth, so I can always reach them and she will show me the way forward.

 *******


Tess Chronicles: Messages from One Woman's Spirit Guide in Hypnosis (Visit 1)

Visit 1: Meeting

On August 6, 2008, I met a client I’ll call Tess. She is an attractive, uber-stylish thirty-something wife and mother, who is also a successful Hollywood creative type, transplanted from Europe. Tess contacted me to help her overcome anxiety and a fear of flying. She told me that she didn’t believe in hypnotherapy; she was admittedly just desperate to heal her phobias when someone referred her to me.

Tess was raised in Catholic schools, though she questioned their tenets throughout her schooling and eventually abandoned religion all together. From then on, Tess was agnostic. She didn’t really give it much thought.

Maybe it was her Catholic European upbringing, but Tess showed very little emotion in or out of hypnosis. It was unusual. Hypnotherapy at some point can make people emotional, but not Tess. Yet she took to hypnosis exceptionally well. We did six sessions and the anxiety and phobias began to disappear.

Tess continued to come in every couple of months for what we called maintenance sessions. One day while we were talking, I had the feeling that Tess needed to receive some “higher” guidance. I suggested that we do a session to meet her spirit guide. I rarely, if ever, suggest this type of session to a client, so I was surprised to hear myself say that, but something about it felt important. Tess didn't know anything about spirit guides, but she had developed a trust in me and said she was game.

Her first session was so remarkable that we decided to continue to meet with her spirit guide every so often. We’ve done about eight or nine over the last couple of years, and we continue to do these sessions today.

Over a year ago, her spirit guide asked us to share this information for others to learn from, which I'm obviously just now getting around to doing. The messages went pretty quickly from personal messages to Tess to impersonal messages to all of us.

With her permission, and as instructed by her spirit guide (and guides), I am sharing some of the more interesting sessions with my readers, as recalled by Tess. I will list them in chronological order, as that makes the most sense. Tess and I just had a fascinating session last week, which I will post soon. Please continue to search this blog for updates on what I call “Tess Chronicles.” I hope you enjoy these installments.

 

*******

Cynthia is guiding me to a place far above this world. I don’t know where I am going or what it will look like. She tells me the intention is to meet my spirit guide. I have no preconceived ideas. I don’t know what a spirit guide is or what he or she might look like. I am floating up higher and higher until I arrive at a place by a beautiful lake. I swim in the lake and then sit on the water’s edge, leaning against a tree.

I am in a lush wooded area, but there is a lot of light coming through the trees. It is extremely peaceful. I am alone at this point, but prior to that someone was swimming in the lake with me and lying next to me by the lake. He left, and I am not aware of who he was.

As I sit by the tree I am alone, knowingly waiting to meet someone.

Then Cynthia says, “You are now aware that you are not alone.”

That is when someone appears in a white robe with a long beard carrying the Bible. He is all light. He stretches out his hand to mine and I stretch mine out to his, as our hands touch they blend together and become one. I am astonished that our hands become all light together.

Cynthia tells me to ask my spirit guide his name. He answers, “David.”

I have prepared questions that I want to ask, mostly about money, like “Will I have enough?” He tells me that money is not that important.

I agree and say, “No, it’s not.” He says, “Then do not to worry about it, you will always have enough.”

I ask him about my work. He replies,

“Everything you want is within your reach. All you have to do it reach out and get it.”

He says, “Now it is time to meet the others.” I’m confused, there are others?

He guides me through a small trodden path in the woods a short distance to a clearing where there are men (spirit guides) sitting in a circle. 

They are sitting around a tree stump holding hands. They all have Bibles, too. I realize they are the Disciples. I say to David, “You are all really real.” (I had always thought the Disciples were fictional figures in the Bible meant to tell a story.) I feel excited and surprised that they are actual people.

I see them as light, no faces, although I am aware that they are all men. 

David tells me to join them. David and I sit in the circle and we all join hands. I don’t hold David’s hand, as he sits away from me. When we join hands, we all become one. I don’t have a feeling of holding any one man’s hand in particular just an overwhelming sense of knowing that we are all completely joined in a circle.

As we are still in the circle, something strange begins to happen. My physical body starts to feel constricted. My chest feels heavy, and I can’t breathe. I can’t catch any air. David tells me that it is time for me to go back. As my chest becomes heavier and heavier, I start to panic. I wake myself up out of hypnosis, scared that I may die—a terrifying feeling of leaving my body for good.

*******

Fairly quickly after “waking up” from hypnosis, Tess was able to shake those feelings and find her stability, because her consciousness was back in her body. She was amazed at how real the meeting with her guides had been. I too was surprised at the ease and detail of the session. I knew something special had just occurred.

Tess has an uncommon ability to vividly connect and recollect her hypnosis sessions in this “other” place. It’s what makes these visitation sessions so unique. Tess is also quick to point out that she doesn’t easily believe in “all this.” That’s what makes her, in my opinion, the perfect subject for these visitations. Skepticism aside, Tess was excited to continue this journey, and so was I.

In the next post, I will detail an experience she had that I still talk about to this day. Stay tuned.


"You're Already Hypnotized: A Guide to Waking Up" book release!

 

My new book is now available! And digital versions are just $1.99! Visit my website to buy the book. I hope you'll take a few minutes to watch this video trailer for the book that my husband Brad made.

 

We Eloped! A Joshua Tree Elopement

 

We knew we wanted our wedding ceremony to be just between the two of us, but we also knew that we wanted to share our special day with friends and family in the form of a video (that my husband Brad made). It turned out to be the most beautiful day of our lives. For more information on "our story" and "wedding details," etc. visit www.BradandCynthia.com.

 

 

My greatest spiritual lesson, still yet unlearned.

I have a temper. It doesn't come out very often, years can go by without it surfacing. It takes what I consider a huge injustice for it to emerge. Most people never see it. Most people never suspect I have it. A few unfortunate people have been in its fiery presence: my fiance, a couple of my close girlfriends, an ex-boyfriend of a friend, a guy who kicked his dog in front of me. I inherited my temper from my father. My brother got it, too. It's the most unattractive thing about my father, and it's the most unattractive thing about my brother. And I suppose it's the most unattractive thing about me.

The deal with anger, or other ego qualities, is that we don't necessarily see them as unattractive in ourselves. They are our defense mechanisms. We are blinded by our justification of them. We think we are right. Therefore, our anger, or vanity, or greed, or cruelty, or jealousy, or conceit, or lies, or whatever, can't be wrong. But what isn't love is wrong. It's a mistaken choice, based on fear. Love is eternal. Fear is not. Therefore, fear is an illusion. When we are in fear, we are not in reality. And the way I see it, when we are not in reality, we are wasting time floundering about in illusion. Meaning, we are not serving our highest purpose or the world. We're in a dead space. We're ineffective.

I've been thinking a lot about my anger lately, because it surfaced recently. I don't lose my temper driving or anything mundane like that. And I'm calm in crisis. I lose my temper when I perceive I have been betrayed or when there is an injustice against animals. I've narrowed it down to those two triggers.

Being involved in animal rights, seeing the massive widespread cruelty going on every day, isn't easy. It wears on you. It breaks you. Protesting any social injustice will do that to a human being. It's a slippery slope into disillusionment, sadness, depression, and anger, if you're not careful. I will say that I believe that underneath even angry social protesting, like for human and animal rights, is usually a pure intention, stemming from a belief that something isn't right, that there is a better way for us to coexist, and that belief spurs people into action. That's not a bad thing. I've never believed that love is passive. I see love as a very

active

force. The problem is that that message can turn from a healthy sense of needing to say NO into rage.

Gandhi is my hero. Gandhi pretty much singlehandedly freed India and started the animal rights movement in his country. Yet he did it with peace. I wouldn't expect myself to be joyful if I had surveyed the holocaust, and I don't expect myself to be joyful surveying the holocaust that is going on with animals today. I do believe, however, that I can walk through it with peace. It's a great spiritual practice to be able to walk through the horrors of the world and remain at peace. It's my greatest spiritual lesson.

I can only think of one way to do that and that is through daily meditation and prayer. A daily connection to my highest source, that which I call God, and the ability to bring that with me wherever I go. I believe in reincarnation. I believe we keep coming back until we get it right, until we learn those lessons that are ours to learn. And I don't want to come back. I'm pretty sure I didn't want to come this time. But I am committed to learning this lesson in this lifetime. It's mine to learn. And it's doable.

When I lose my temper, we all lose--the animals, the world, as well as myself. My anger binds me to the consciousness that perpetuates cruelty. In those moments, I am strengthening fear. I need to strengthen peace instead. I need to hold the light, not just for the animals, but for the perpetrator of violence against them. I need to hold the light for my clients who come to me everyday to heal. I need to hold the light for my beautiful, brave fiancé; I need to hold the light for my animal companions in my home. I need to hold the light for myself. I need to hold the light for the world.

It's not about backing away from what is scary or difficult or dark, it's not about denying what is happening on planet earth or in my own life, it's about going deeper into it with the light of God shining by my side.

As I write this, it just happens to be Easter morning. It is the day of my resurrection. It is the day of taking off the thorns of anger I have placed upon my own head. It is freeing myself from this cross I have beared my whole life. It is the day I stop crucifying myself and others and the world. It is time to resurrect into the light, where God would have me be. If Jesus can do it, so can I. It is a Holy day, indeed.

Growing into My Animal Rights Activism and Spirituality

 

                                                             

Twenty five years ago on any given Saturday afternoon you could find me on the street corner of Martel and Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, standing behind a beige card table with stacks of anti-vivisection brochures, mostly on cosmetic and household product testing, photos of bunnies with their heads in sockets and their eyes being burned, the usual stuff. I was there representing LCA (Last Chance for Animals, a LA based animal rights organization) encouraging passer-bys to sign my petition and boycott Proctor and Gamble, and the like.

I don't know how I got there. Meaning, I don't know how I got involved in animal rights. There was no defining moment. No person or animal who inspired me. No book I read. No movie I saw. No revelation. Nothing. I don't even remember deciding to become a vegetarian at that time. I just made a sign and showed up at a protest that I somehow heard was taking place. It all happened organically, as if I had no choice but to be carried along the winds of destiny that was my life. It was what was supposed to be.

Growing up, we had tons of pets: unneutered and unspayed cats, constantly having kittens (gasp!), a dog, a bird. I loved them all. But I wasn't obsessed with them. I didn't like animals more than people. Though I do remember becoming abnormally distraught because my brother accidentally ran over a bird with the lawn mower. It wasn't love that ignited my passion, it was injustice. And maybe that is love. I don't know. At a young age, I knew something was unjust when it came to the treatment of animals. I'm a Libra, the sign of scales and justice, so perhaps it was bigger than me, after all.

My grandma worked in a slaughterhouse in Omaha, Nebraska where I was born. I remember the unforgettable stench of death wafting through the air. You could smell it on Omaha back then. It was like the whole city had B.O. The slaughter houses were smack dab in the middle of the town. Today they're hidden away, inconspicuously, on the outskirts, so consumers aren't reminded of the horrors behind the slaughterhouse walls, animals discreetly transported at night when no one can see them. Omaha was smellier back then, but more honest.

I spent formative years in Wisconsin, home of cheeseheads, dairy cows, and hunters, like my dad, who eventually became the Head Editor of the Agricultural Department at Kansas State University. (Go figure he'd have a vegan animal rights activist daughter.) It wasn't unusual to come home from school to find two huge deer hanging from the rafters in the garage, blood dripping from their beautiful majestic bodies into dark red puddles on the concrete floor below. I stepped around the blood, trying not to look at them, trying not to feel anything. We ate frogs, squirrels, fish, quail, rabbits, deer, anything he hunted. I hated it all. I didn't like meat except turkey. He never hunted turkeys. Had I grown up on McDonald's or Taco Bell or processed roast beef deli slices and hotdogs I may have loved meat. But I grew up on a different kind of meat. Meat that tasted like the dead animal it was.

The wind eventually shifted directions, and animal activism took a back seat to my first love, spirituality. I had begun Transcendental Meditation in childhood, and had already been a student of A Course in Miracles for four years by the time I was standing on Melrose. As I delved further and further into the teachings of the Course, I continued to eat vegetarian, phase out dairy products, leather, wool, down feathers, donate money to animal rights groups, and shop cruelty-free, but animal welfare was no longer at the forefront of my consciousness. A Course in Miracles was. I lived and breathed the Course for ten years. It somehow required all that I had. It wanted my full undivided attention. And I gave it to it. So much so that it led me to becoming a hypnotherapist.

Then, about four years ago, the winds of change began to blow again. They gently picked me up and set me down someplace I hadn't been before, somewhere between animal rights and spirituality. I'm no longer solely focused on one or the other. I am laser focused on both. My life isn't about animals or people, it's about animals and people. To me, it's all the same. There's really only one of us here and what we do to the smallest of us, we do to all of us. Likewise, when one of us heals, we all heal. I've come to realize that I had to tip those Libra scales one way and then the other in order to find my perfect balance. I now feel more equipped to tip society's scales toward healing and justice for ALL.


Catching the Small Fish: Meditation, Procrastination, and My Ego


I honestly thought it'd be easier to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes each sitting. After all, I was only going to do it for 30 days. How hard could that be?

Well, I've come to find out it's much harder than I thought. At least for me. I am halfway through My Thirty Days of Transcendental Meditation Challenge and I've missed one day, completely. Just skipped TM all together. Didn't forget, mind you. Just CHOSE not to do it, even when I remembered.

What I realize is that I don't want the peace of God as much as I think I do.

I mean, I do want some peace. I've done a lot to attain some peace: I've gone through the lessons of A Course in Miracles four or five times; I set up this TM challenge for myself; before this challenge, I TM-ed a few times a week; I read many of the great spiritual texts; I spent my life seeking spiritual teachers who could impart wisdom; so I know that I want something other than what this world offers me. But by the internal struggle I'm experiencing in meditating twice daily, it's clear that I don't completely want peace. More than anything, I am acutely aware of the vice grip my ego still has. It easily convinces me that sleeping in is better than meditating, even after 8 hours of sleep. I'm what it would call "a pushover."

I think the value of any spiritual discipline is not in doing it, but in realizing how much you don't want to do it. Noticing how invested you are in the world, in other people, in things, and in doing stuff to try to make you happy and fulfilled, rather than looking within.

I know why we don't meditate. The ego, our primary source of identification, dies in meditation, in stillness. And no one wants that. That's why very few people meditate. Because if "I" go away, who am I? What am I? Am I not all the things I have spent my life identifying with? And have worked hard to attain? Am I not a mother, a father, a daughter, a son, a banker, a teacher, a wife, a husband, a woman, a man...a human being? Outside of this illusion, who am I, really?

Besides all that, the only other thing I've noticed about myself after meditating 40 minutes daily, is that I'm more productive. Oh, the irony of sitting still and doing nothing each day! As opposed to David Lynch who wrote the book Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, I catch small fish. I haven't yet had any big ideas in meditation, but loads of small ones come swimming by--things I need to do, people I should contact, edits I can make on my book, a type of hypnosis session to do with a client. When I come out of meditation, I am more effective in my daily life. My mind is sharper and my time more laser-focused. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of TM, likened meditation to archery. He said that the technique of shooting the arrow is in pulling back. In other words, the arrow doesn't go anywhere unless you first pull back. Meditate and act. Pull the arrow and shoot. That's how you hit the target.

So I may not have as much of the peace of God as I thought, but I do have that.

We'll see what changes occur after a month. I'm hoping by then meditation will trump sleeping in.

I'll leave you with an short video of David Lynch talking about how and why he got into TM. I have no doubt he already caught a big fish today.

 


My Thirty Days of Transcendental Meditation Challenge


Did you see "America's Most Unusual Town" on Oprah's "Next Chapter"? It's about Fairfield, Iowa, a town in which people collectively practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day. As a result, the community experiences no crime, but rather peace and robust health.

I was initiated into Transcendental Meditation when I was seven years old. My father had our family initiated into the practice. At seven, I received a "walking mantra" whereby I would repeat the mantra while walking--to school, on the playground, etc. At ten, students can then practicing sitting meditation. I assume it's too hard for kids under ten years old to sit still for twenty minutes a day.

Meditation stayed with me over the years. Teenage years saw me meditating less. As I grew older, I realized the need, value, and purpose of it in my life. I would call myself a sporadic TMer. I try to do it each week, sometimes I'm on par every day, other times meditation takes a back seat to self-hypnosis or listening to a Robert Monroe CD (another form of transcendental consciousness, much like guided hypnosis).

There are people like David Lynch who began practicing TM at the same time I did and has NOT MISSED ONE DAY of twice daily, twenty minute meditation. I am floored by his discipline. My dad has that kind of discipline. I don't. I have periodic discipline. Here is a wonderful little book David Lynch wrote on the influence of TM in his life and film-making: Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.



The only thing I take issue with is that in some ways TM has become elitist. It's expensive, about $2,000.00 to get initiated and receive a mantra.

Guru Dev, an enlightened Indian yogi, began transcendental meditation in order to bring a simple form of meditation to the masses. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the face of TM) was a university physics student in India when he heard about Guru Dev. He became a devotee. Guru Dev told Maharishi that his assignment was to bring meditation west. And so he did. That's when the Beatles got involved and it really took off.

I believe the intention of both Guru Dev and Maharishi were pure. I also believe most people involved in TM have pure intentions, but when our family got initiated, it cost us $25.00 a piece. Two thousand dollars is simply too expensive, in my opinion. As a hypnotherapist, I understand the value of charging enough so that people take their practice seriously. If I charge too little, I notice that clients are more inclined to cancel, not show up at all, "forget" to do the homework, and basically, put little effort into their healing. But there has to be a happy-medium. To be fair to TM, there are scholarship programs available, so anyone who sincerely wants to be a part of TM, can be. That's good.

The David Lynch Foundation, for instance, is teaching TM (giving scholarships to) inner city school kids, war veterans, homeless people, and those imprisoned, with great success.

After watching the Oprah special, I was inspired to up my TM practice to the twenty minute, twice-daily routine. My boyfriend Brad, also a TMer, is on board, as well. We particularly enjoy meditating together.

So I'm going to blog about my journey of the next thirty days of TM and let you know what changes I see in myself when I practice this technique regularly. I am hoping it motivates me to keep going for the rest of my life.

I'm sure the OWN network will be airing the segment again, and it's just a matter of time before they put the entire episode online, but here is a sneak peek at "America's Most Unusual Town."




Off to TM. Day 1. 

For more information on TM, the most scientifically studied form of meditation, visit. www.tm.org.


Meatless Monday Recipe: Peanut Butter Dog Treats: "Kookies."

 

Photo: Brad Klopman

Did you know that the world's oldest living dog is a vegan named Brambles? If you'd like to check out this amazing being who could teach us all a thing or two about food, both for ourselves and our pets, click here.

My previous dog, Mason, died of kidney failure, and with 20 fatty tumors plaguing his poor body. I have no doubt it was because I fed him commercialized dog food.

When I adopted Kansas he had degenerative back disease and hip dysplasia from the get-go. He walked like an old man, even as a puppy. I began researching, and found that not only was the cause a lack of proper nutrition, but the solution was also to be found in nutrition.

In fact, there were no cases of hip dysplasia in dogs before commercialized dog food, like 60 years ago. And dogs' ancestors, like wolves, do not have hip dysplasia either. Interesting, no? I wrote a blog post about it. Check it out here.

The post also contains a recipe for stew that I make Kansas each week. His diet is 75% vegan. And although I was told Kansas would not live a long life, he's going strong at 7 years old. (Update: Kansas died January 4th, 2015 from heart failure.)

As Hippocrates, the founder of medicine, said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Not only do I make Kansas his food, but I also make his treats. I've adapted this recipe from others and added flax seeds for extra nutrition. I've made these many times without flax seeds though. And I have yet to meet a dog who doesn't love them!

Peanut Butter Dog Kookies (K for Kansas)

1/2 cups peanut butter (I use all-natural.)

1 cup water

2 Tablespoons oil (Dogs naturally love refined coconut oil, but you can use vegetable or canola oil.)

1/8 cup ground flax seeds

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cups white flour

Preheat oven to 350. Mix peanut butter and water and oil, add flax seeds, then slowly add the rest of the ingredients. Knead dough.

I roll the dough out to 1/4" and use a cookie cutter. But you could also just make the dough into a long cylinder shape and slice pieces to flatten. (I mark them with a "K," because I'm ridiculous like that.)

Bake for 25 minutes on ungreased cookie sheet. Let cool on cookie sheet.

The flax seeds make this a bit gooey because flax seeds by nature are an egg substitute that I use in baking. I usually bake the kookies a bit longer when I use flax seeds.

The treats do go bad so I usually leave about 10 out and refrigerate the rest.

Here's Kansas eating a kookie this morning. A happy peanut butter loving dog!

 

Photo: Brad Klopman