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The Greatest Gift You Could Ever Give Yourself

The Greatest Gift You Could Ever Give Yourself 86

In my life coaching practice, whenever I am able to help a client to understand presence, the entire conversation takes on a new shape. Suddenly, there is an anchor point to which the conversation can moor itself. A context can be created whereby problems, grievances, obstacles, and negative emotions can be seen as being the product of a mind that has wandered into regrets from the past or fears about the future, far away from the present moment.

Often the coaching conversation itself serves to create presence for a client. A particular problem or concern from the client is heard, and with poignant questions from the coach, the client is able to examine the roots of the ‘problem’ and strip away the illusory ideas and false beliefs that are holding that problem in place. The client’s own realization that the ‘problem’ is not connected to the present moment, along with the emotional relief that comes as a result of that awareness, reinforces the notion that connecting to the present moment–which is actually the only moment we can ever truly connect to–is all that is needed.

Surrendering To The Moment

When working by ourselves, the Zen koan, ‘What, in this present moment, is lacking?’ can be helpful to ponder. Indeed, it is impossible to truly be in the present moment and actually object to something that is present–all things of that moment are accepted and taken as part of the perfection of that moment. To feel the harmony of all things that make up that moment is to be one with the moment. A sense of peace is an inevitable consequence.

The motto of spiritual teacher Ram Dass is one of my favorites: Be Here Now. A phrase so simple it belies its own profundity. Ram Dass emphasizes that presence is surrendering power and control over then moment, and detaching ourselves from any ‘preferred’ present state and simply aligning with the present state that is.

The most exquisite paradox… as soon as you give it all up, you can have it all. As long as you want power, you can’t have it. The minute you don’t want power, you’ll have more than you ever dreamed possible.

If we are able to follow the imperative to be here now every hour of every day, we would no longer experience guilt, suffering, regret, judgment, grievance, or any other negative emotion.

Rising And Falling

Alas, learning to be present is not usually a one-shot deal, although a few people, including some who have had near-death experiences, have had a sudden and significant shift into presence that imbues their daily experience.

For most of us, learning about presence is a gradual experience that comes and goes like waves rising and falling on the shore. To even be seeking presence in our lives, many of us need that first, seemingly random magical experience, often in natural surroundings, in which we intuit a tremendous connectedness and oneness with everything around us, and feel a great sense of peace, well-being, and compassion for all things.

When the feeling fades, sometimes after many hours of bliss, we seek a reunion with this experience for the rest of our lives. This becomes an incentive to forge ahead on our spiritual journey, where we search for how we can reunite with this experience, and hopefully more permanently.

Awareness Beyond Thinking

Eckhart Tolle, one of the pre-eminent speakers on the subject of presence, explains it this way:

Presence is the arising of a dimension of consciousness from where you can become aware that there is a voice in the head. That awareness is beyond thinking. It’s a space of consciousness where you can be the observer of your own mind—the awareness behind the thought processes.

For human beings to discover this dimension is extraordinarily important. It is in fact, as I see it, the next step in the evolution of humanity.

Tolle discusses practices where you simply sit silently and pay attention to the next thought that comes to you, and then the next. With focus, it becomes possible to notice that we are not really thinking most of our thoughts–often they are thinking us. The realization that we are more than our thoughts creates in us a more authentic identity, one that frees us from many of the addictive thought patterns we otherwise consider an unavoidable part of who we are:

When you no longer look to the mind to provide you with your sense of identity — because your sense of identity now comes now from a deeper place — that’s the shift that changes everything, dramatically. It is the most important thing that can happen in your lifetime.

As Presence arises you’ll find in many areas of your life enormous improvements. One is that the voice in the head that before created such anguish and unhappiness no longer has that power over you.

This is a bit of a different way to arrive at presence: recognize that we have an egoic ‘mind’ that can only reside in the past or the future, and see that who we actually are transcends the thought patterns of that egoic mind. Essentially, when we catch ourselves in states of distress and anxiety, we can remember that we are in this state because we give credence to the thoughts we are thinking as representative of who we are. Moving away from these thoughts and our habit of identifying with them opens the gates of presence.

Developing A Trigger Into Presence

Like most, I still get caught up often in distraction and judgment and feel the negative emotions that come with it. Sometimes I have enough awareness to ask myself the rhetorical question, “Did you forget that everything, in this moment, is perfect?” Because I deeply believe this to be true, this reminder often has the power to snap me quickly out of a state of negative emotion and more fully into presence and the acceptance of the moment.

We each have to develop our own triggers that help us to re-enter presence. But these triggers cannot be mere words, they must be deeply held beliefs which, through your own critical thought and experimentation, you hold to be true.

When we look at this critical thought and experimentation as the foundation of the journey of evolution that spans our lifetimes, we no longer have to be in any ‘rush’ to find presence. Indeed, when we stop rushing to find presence and experience inner peace, that’s when we find it.

Part of my own critical thought and experimentation has been enriched by regular and ongoing digestion of great writings and oral presentations on the matter, from traditions such as Zen Buddhism, and from spiritual teachers like Ram Dass, Eckhart Tolle, Dr. David Hawkins, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, and a great list of others.

You will find that all great thinkers on the matter of presence are saying almost the same things using different words, and you will recognize the words not as truth themselves but as pointers to the truth. From there you gradually hone your own truth, which could be put into a phrase like I do, or could just be an inner knowing that, when remembered, allows you to move into presence at your leisure.

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Why does Satan’s name mean “light-bearer”?

Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 87

In modern languages, Lucifer is one of the names of Satan. However, from Latin the word lucifer literally translates as “luminiferous” and comes from the words lux (“light”) and phero (“carry”). What kind of light is this that the infernal ruler carries?

Franz von Stuck.  Lucifer
Franz von Stuck. Lucifer

The ancient Romans called the planet Venus by the word Lucifer, that is, the “morning star”, which is better than all other celestial bodies visible in the morning (as well as evening) firmament. By the way, this name is “tracing paper” from ancient Greek: the ancient Greeks called this celestial entity Phosphorus (from Φωσφόρος – “carrying light”).

Lucifer means ‘that which brings light’. From φῶς (phôs, “light”) +‎ -φόρος (-phóros, “bearing”), from φέρω (phérō, “I carry”).

Venus in the morning sky in January
Venus in the morning sky in January

Why did the name of the star become the name of Satan? This happened as a result of “translation difficulties”. The Bible, in the Book of Isaiah, contains a prophecy about the death of the Babylonian king – a terrible enemy of the ancient Jews. It looks like this:

“… You fell from the sky, morning star, son of the dawn! He crashed to the ground, trampling on the peoples. “

“Morning star” and “son of the dawn” here are nothing more than magnificent oriental titles of the ruler. When Jerome of Stridonsky, the first translator of the Bible into Latin, translated this passage, he translated the Hebrew word הֵילֵל (“heylel”, “morning star”) as lucifer, because that is how the morning star was called in Latin.

Caravaggio.  Saint Jerome
Caravaggio. Saint Jerome

However, Christians, contemporaries of Jerome, associated this passage not with the king of Babylon – the embodiment of evil for the ancient Israelites, but with their enemy – Satan. And the word “lucifer”, which was just the title of the Babylonian king, began to write with a capital letter. So the innocuous name of the star became a terrible hellish name.

Jerome’s other translation error led to an amusing misunderstanding. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, European artists and sculptors depicted Moses – the main biblical prophet … with horns on his head! Why?

Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 88
Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 89
Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 90

The Bible says that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his face was radiant. In Hebrew, the words “ray” and “horn” are similar. So Jerome got it: “His face became horny because God spoke to him.”

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There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 91

Everyone has their own hobbies. Some are passionate about collecting, others are gardening, and still others are passionate about sports. But the hero of this article has a special passion. Ra Paulette is an American sculptor from New Mexico who burrows into hillsides and caves to create intricate artistic spaces within mountains. Maybe he is now the only one in the world.

You might think that he is a professional architect or sculptor, but no, it’s just that this person has a hobby. Although talent is undoubtedly present, he creates real works of art, sculpts caves like shrines, like sacred places.

He describes his places of work as “a sanctuary for prayer and meditation,” while others describe his caves as works of art. The caves are decorated with “scallops, patterns, smooth curved lines, smooth cornices, crisp ledges and inlaid with stones”. Its caves attract tourists from all over the world.

He has been hiding in a cave in New Mexico, USA for 25 years and has now decided to showcase the interior of his home.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 92

What he did to the inside of the cave is almost impossible to describe in words, as if we are entering the world of fairy tales.

In ancient times, people made dwellings in caves or dug new rooms in the sandstone, but only for the purpose of living. The works of this artist are more for soul resting.

All this beauty is made in white sandstone cliffs just an hour from Santa Fe. Has anyone from you seen this beauty in real?

Tired of the whims of his bosses and customers, the artist, who was bored with art, began his personal and independent project.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 93

The results of the project, as well as the process itself, are very impressive. Ra Paulette, who spent the last 25 years in the cave, completely alone, apart from his dog, away from society, spent time carving out walls.

He spent his time carving the sandstone cave he found, transforming it into a wonderful underground space full of light.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 94

Paulette created different designs and styles for each cave, giving each one a distinct quality and texture.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 95

The goal of this gigantic piece of art is to create an environment that inspires “spiritual renewal and personal well-being.” It will also serve as a venue for artistic events when its project is completed.
Ra Paulette works exclusively with hand tools, a pick and a shovel. First, he digs in various halls and vaults in any form, not forgetting about ventilation. The artist himself called his style – “dances of the digger” . When he likes what he gets, then he proceeds directly to creativity: decorates the halls and vaults with mysterious carvings and patterns.

In some places, his works look like real natural caves, and in other – like a completely civilized housing

Ra Paulette Cave
That is, you can wander and relax there.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 96
When Ra Paulette made his first cave, it attracted connoisseurs of beauty and tourists. But it was made on state land and, in addition, he could not guarantee the safety of visitors. The cave had to be filled up.

Only later, when he began to make safe projects and all legal issues were met, it was possible to create endlessly. At the moment, 15 underground palaces exist for sure.

A documentary film “Cave digger” was even made about him and this man became even more famous.

In the video below, you can virtually take a trip through one of the caves decorated by the artist.

We can only be surprised by such people who just alone create beauty with which, we become kinder and better beings.

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Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe 97

According to Hindu records, Christians believe that the earth is the center of the universe. In contrast to this belief, the Hindus consider Mount Meru as the universal center and home of their gods.

In the eyes of the Hindus, Mount Meru is quite large, its height is about 84,000 yojanas (about 1,082,000 km). Since Hindu and other Eastern religions idolize Meru, it seems to them that the sun and all the planets of the solar system revolve around it.

According to Jain mythology, Meru is surrounded by two suns, two moons and two “sets” of stars. When some of them are in sight, others hide in the shadow of a mountain, which they believe is about 100,000 yojanas wide.

For the Hindus, Meru is the axis of the earth. Without it, the planet will not be able to rotate. In addition, they see the mountain as the home of the gods, with their kingdoms spread across all of its inconceivable height.

Followers of each of these important gods travel to these heavenly realms to rest and await their next reincarnation.

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe
A fresco depicting Mount Meru (left) and a painting (right) from Jain cosmology

For the Javanese, Mount Meru contributed to the origin of the island of Java. According to their legends, Batara’s guru ordered Brahma and Vishnu to fill the island with people. At that time the island of Java roamed and was not tied to any solid land. To stop the movement, the gods moved a part of the sacred mountain from India and attached it to Java. This new anchor was Mount Semeru, now the highest volcano in Java.

For Buddhists, the importance of Mount Meru also lies in their belief that it is the center of the universe. Unlike the Hindu version, Buddhists believe that the mountain was surrounded by a body of water and believe in 31 levels of life on Meru.

Since Mount Meru is the ecumenical center and sacred site, many mythological characteristics are attributed to it. First, it is so high that the mountain touches the sky, and the pole star shines directly above the mountain, giving it a sacred appearance. Secondly, it is said that the Ganges comes to the mountain as one river, and, having reached Meru, is divided into 4 separate rivers.

Third, there are 4 cities filled with residents, one on each side of the mountain. Ancient myths say that these inhabitants constantly see the sun at its zenith, and they always work. The sun rises and sets only for those who do not live on the mountain.

In addition, there is one lord of the heavens, God Indra, and he lives at the top. There are also four heavenly kings on Mount Meru, one on each side. The mountain extends to Jambudwip, which itself is divided into 4 continents. The southern continent is where Buddha was born and his teachings are followed here.

Many famous Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples were built as symbolic images of this mountain. The basis of the style is a characteristic feature of Chinese pagodas.

Although ancient Buddhists believed that the mountain was real, European visitors began to express other thoughts about the earth, which contradicted the Buddha’s teachings about Meru. Modern Buddhist scholars have decided that this is an allegorical story, and not a description of a real mountain.

However, many Buddhists still refuse to change their beliefs about the sacred mountain. For them, belief in the existence of Meru is the same as belief in Buddha.

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe

If you plunge into reality, Mount Meru is a volcano located 70 kilometers west of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, 4562.13 meters high.

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