Do you wish for fewer guns to be accessible to all? More justice when it comes to the lost lives of young African American males? Do you want to see people of all life choices to feel accepted and safe?
Whatever are those deep inner thoughts, I am aware more than ever why Meditate The Vote is so timely and invites us all to a call for action.
We can sit in outrage in front of our televisions and telephones. Or call our neighbors and ask if they heard the latest news. We can worry endlessly about our future and our children's futures. Or, we could do something to create the change we wish to see in ourselves and watch it manifest in our world.
If members of Congress have the courage and determination to push back against a system of least resistance and not break until some clear steps of progress have been acknowledged, how do we as citizens of this nation not make our voices heard? This is why it is the prefect time to Meditate The Vote. Launched in May, through conversations in community spaces, and special events such as tea with a Princess from Saudi Arabia, I am seeing in its unfolding how important it is to strengthen our consciousness from within.
It is time to think deeply, not only about our complaints of a broken world, but of our own state of limitation. To explore solutions for a better self that can influence our Nation and the world. I believe we are being called to become responsible for how we treat our mind, relationships, body, and finance. It is not up to a leader who can do that; it is up to each and every one of us.
Today, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron resigned! Just a few days ago members of congress in the United States waged a sit-in, to hold themselves to greater accountability. Our world is shifting. Are you?
Today, we launched a new version of the National Anthem for Meditate The Vote. As you listen to it, do you hear your own opportunity calling you, despite the angst and fear that typically holds you back? This is not the time to wait for anyone. We are the ones we might be waiting for!
Consciousness is being revealed in a variety of ways. Whether it is through a superseded energy of dark thoughts, or a powerful readiness to make a change, we have to Vote. We must choose which side we wish to feed the most. That which you feed will travel with you in all that you do, so let's truly begin to Meditate the Vote, remembering that our own actions create our happiness or sorrow.
It is not for someone else to do this for me. It is in my hands to make my changes and know that does change the way the world revolves around me. So, make your choice and keep listen to your inner voice. Be invested in the story you have always wanted for yourself.
Courtesy, Meditation Museum
She: The HRH Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
They: Disadvantaged youth from the slums of Colombia.
The Meeting: The Meditation Museum for an afternoon of music, healing and peace.
48 Hours Later: The Colombian government has agreed to a bilateral ceasefire with FARC rebels, a historic agreement that could move towards the signing of a peace agreement.
Several private organizations and individuals from Colombia joined forces to sponsor the youth to visit America. Ranging from 12-18 years old, they are the winners of the singing festival, Cantando y Educando (Singing and Learning). They are students from the poorest public schools in the crime-ridden city of Cali, one of the most violent cities in the world. Each brought such a unique voice and sound. Some played instruments, many sang from their hearts. Together, they are Voices of La Paz (Voices of Peace).
HRH Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia came to America to participate in diplomatic meetings and to share her new book, The Fourth Way Law. From different worlds, they crossed paths outside the nation's capital. I first met Princess Basmah during a private event hosted by author and civic leader, Reverend Marcia Dyson to share the Meditate The Vote movement with her. We had a lovely time and I learned how much we have in common in terms of our love for humanity. I could feel that our story together was not yet finished.
The next day, I observed the incredible group of youth in concert. I was so moved by their talent, courage and determination to transcend their stories of struggle in their home country of Colombia. As I offered a moment of silence and blessing to wish their future to be brighter than a thousand suns during their program, I knew that their voices must be heard much further than that moment.
Our purest thoughts come from silence; when we can pause the details of our schedules, and hear the purpose of why our paths cross with another. I invited both HRH Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia and the Colombian youth to the Meditation Museum, as it is customary in my tradition to welcome guests into our spaces that are so carefully nurtured with remembrance of God. Destiny was created for them to attend on the same day, at the same time. A magical moment emerged for the youth to meet a real life Princess, a scene perhaps only known to them through a Disney movie.
The youth arrived in the Meditation Museum with a quiet exhaustion. In two vans, with guitars, drums, and rain sticks in hand, they filed in to the Meditation Museum. First, they were guided on a tour. Although they had visited the museums of Washington, DC the previous day, they didn't compare to the exhibits of One Light, Who Am I, and Soul and Body Awareness. All are intended to wake up a deep memory within each of us, and feel our destination Home.
Then we gathered in a circle, greeted each other and began to share. Through a demonstration of crystal bowls, we experienced how our thoughts create vibrations; it is always our choice as to what kind of vibration we wish to spread. It is so important for each of us to recognize the negative thoughts we are holding, and find a way to release them. The youth each wrote a painful memory or experience from their lives in Colombia, that they were still holding, as a means to formally let them go. It is only then that each can truly believe in their power.
As the moment approached for Princess Basmah to arrive, the youth lined up, each holding a red rose for greeting her. She greeted each youth member individually, and then took her seat at the front of the Meditation Museum. The youth began to perform, and the atmosphere filled with a heart-felt energy. When a young woman began to sing, "I Will Always Love You," the Princess turned to me and said, "How did you know?" "Know what?" I asked. "This is my favorite song," she said with awe in her voice. "Our purest wishes are fulfilled here, it is what the space represents," I shared.
Princess Basmah then offered a message and blessing to the youth. "Your life is for purpose," she deliberately shared with the youth. "Never let anything distract you from that." She and I excused ourselves for a private meeting, while the youth and their guides enjoyed a home-cooked meal, continued touring the exhibits, and shared their experiences of the trip with the volunteers of the Meditation Museum. Slowly and naturally, they returned to playing music, singing and dancing. It is their art, their way of healing, their purpose.
"I have never felt so much love before," one of the youth shared while receiving her blessing card. It was a rainy Tuesday in Washington, DC. Amidst a hostile political climate with Democrats waging a sit-in on the floor on Capitol Hill, the aftermath of a tragic event in Orlando, and countless struggles around the world, The Princess and the Poorest not only met, but also experienced the same peace and momentary perfection of life. When the intention is to love all of God's children the same, that is exactly what is felt.
Courtesy, Colombian Embassy
Then, just 48 hours after that profound meeting, on June 23rd, after 70 years of war, the Government of Colombia and its largest guerrilla announced a definite, bilateral cease-fire. Generations of Colombians have never known one day of peace in their country. These youth may be the first generation in decades whose children will be born in a country at peace. I believe that they truly are The Voices of Peace. They are certainly ready to walk the talk with the flag of Colombia. They will return to their home country with renewed peace for themselves, their country and the world. I believe our thoughts have the power to create this vibration.
A sweet, yet sometimes pungent aroma of change is wafting in the atmosphere right now that is affecting us as individuals, communities, and collectively as a country. There are cries for change in many sectors.
And, in the midst of all of this is the remake of the epic and iconic miniseries ROOTS! Ironic? Paradoxical? Is it relevant at all in this climate that we are experiencing? What is its relevance? Yes, unprecedented progress has been made since it first appeared in 1977, yet in 2016, there is a reemergence of a hauntingly familiar unpleasant time.
For me, the television series ROOTS has always beckoned us to get back to the very genesis, the root, of our soul's power, our deep sense of being. A depth of being that fundamentally transcends color, the party I vote for, the language I speak, my faith, and whom I choose to love.
I think that ROOTS invites us all to remember, to question, and to act. To remember what is at the very root, the core of each and every one of us-that root that connects us to God, the Seed. It also invites us to question, that if connected, what would be an example of rising up from our past? Historically, we have always been called to rise-to rise from deep within the Spirit. This remake of ROOTS reinforces this universal push for all souls to rise, to evolve from any "form"of slavery or bondage of the mind and body to true internal and external freedom.
Humanity is being called back to the remembrance of Spirit, to God who is our Seed. We are the roots, and our expressed divinity will be the proof, black or white, that we truly all come from the same Seed. And, through our past or current sufferings, we, the roots, are being directed to remember the Seed. Does the remake of ROOTS raise pivotal questions...Is it a nudge, a reminder for us to remember the Seed and to rise? At our screening in the White House, a lady in the audience stood up and shared, how barbaric was the treatment by the slave owners. For me, I saw how void of the Seed they were and perhaps they need the Seed the most...Interesting, don't you think?
Could it be that we are being forced comfortably or not, to return to our remembrance of the Seed? And, the expression emerging from that remembrance compels us to not only rise ourselves, but, to act to empower our brothers and sisters to rise. As a faith leader, student of life, friend and companion to all my brothers and sisters, the expression of my divinity is to remember, to question, and to act from my soul's power, which are God's qualities. It is to lean toward engagement in areas that will foster a higher level of thinking and doing for ourselves, country, and world.
When we align with our real identity as souls, children of God, as a first step, we are rooted in an understanding and willingness to engage in an open, authentic, and empathetic way with each other for the common good. If we hold this awareness of being a soul, we might recognize that as souls we carry imprints of a past, present, and future. And, it is this eternal story or stories etched in our souls that is being played out. So, maybe if we were to hold this view, I believe our approach towards our country's challenges being grounded in soul and God consciousness could shift the trajectory of the world we see today.
Meditate the Vote, a campaign for raising the conversation and energy around the way we are showing up in our nation marries well with this remake of ROOTS. At the core, both compel us to humbly remember the Seed, to transcend our own tribal limitations and circumstances and to align with the truth of our interconnectedness as God's children. King and Ghandi too, years after the slavery depicted in ROOTS, triumphed in aligning with universal values. I was struck by Senior Advisor to the President of the United States and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement in the Obama administration, Valerie Jarrett's sharing how she stood on strong shoulders that provided her with the roots for the powerful work she does today. And, Knuta Kinte played by Malachi Kirby, also meditated upon the value and roots of his family that gave him the endurance and strength to rise above what was obviously a Seedless link. His inner strength and connection to the Seed was clearly witnessed by his power to endure.
How incredible it was for us to be at the White House screening of ROOTS in such a complex political climate! We are witnessing a promotion amplifying racism, separation, exclusion, which for many feels archaic and unimaginable! The election of the next president is offering us new opportunities to inwardly dive deeper than we ever have before... to empower the disenfranchised to vote, to encourage others to Meditate the Vote, to encourage deliberate thoughtful reflection, and dialogue on the necessity of choosing within our spheres of influence what is best for ALL. Claiming our divine power through remembering, questioning, and acting through Meditate the Vote could ultimately elevate those who have moved far away from the Seed and guide how best we choose to live our lives. Voting is power and when we vote from this level of introspective thinking, divine values and goodness will be the catalyst to move us towards a greater level of equality and acceptance. Our divine purpose and power are far greater than our problems. ROOTS reminds us of that truth. And so in closing, perhaps what ROOTS is calling us all to do is meditate at the root of our being till we naturally begin to remember the Seed.
At the base of any positive transformational work has to be an understanding of the relationship between one's awareness and actions; through that becomes an impact on our world. When we speak of change in our environment, systems, cultures, and more, we look towards long lasting change. Therefore, the many deals among nations at conferences and summits are not truly effective until we implement methods to shift our awareness and feelings at a deeper level. This is the element of newness we need.
For the first time, rich and poor countries across the world have agreed to take steps to limit and adapt to climate change -- from reducing their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to helping one another adapt to rising seas, devastating droughts, food shortages and other impacts of global warming.
We have all inherited the current conditions of our world as well as contributed to its decline of resources needed to sustain generations to come. The state of our climate condition has become so complex. We are essentially at an intersection of very human values verses spiritual values. Our attitudes alone have been a huge precursor to the decline of the world's treasures. We have traded a healthy, breathing earth for bigger cars, faster planes, fancier clothes; even fruit from the earth is bigger and greater in multitude, with chemicals instead of flavor. It is all about the choices we make, which are rooted in our attitude and attachments to unfulfilled desires.
The issue of climate change is both one of individual and collective karma. Our individual choices have led us here, and our collective decisions are creating the future. Climate change is now every person's responsibility. The elements that make up everything we see smell and touch are in need of pure vibrations and a peaceful energy that can restore rather than consume and destroy.
I share congratulations to meeting a historic consensus on climate change and I invite us to integrate a spiritual dimension to climate change. We must include the voices of spiritual leadership that have proven their commitment, through work from the inside out. The Brahma Kumaris, with the largest solar cooking system, is now focused on the first of its kind in the world, thermal solar power plant (solar only), using dish technology with direct steam generation mode, with full thermal storage for 16 hours of continuous operations. Imagine that... A spiritual group whose meditation practice and integrating spiritual wisdom into their daily life is at its core, leading a progressive shift in environmental resources.
I deeply believe that the success of climate change will be in amplifying an awareness on consciousness and lifestyle choices that conveys the behavior of citizens who are driven to give more than they take from relationships and their earth. Observing the movement of the Brahma Kumaris, and witnessing a culture of creating a system of trust and service within their own body of thought, I have seen the sustainability of its fortress, and their traditional pillars consistently holding authenticity and purity. When we hold a similar purpose and are very invested in making our lives and world a better place, I feel quite confident that a new era is approaching.
COP21 might have initiated a bold and realistic deal, and we know every citizen will have to show up from inside out to match and surpass it with his or her own deal of inner responsibility. We need to begin by holding a positive attitude and consider our own soul to be the earths' natural resource that fuels the body and environment. Can we raise our awareness to a level of "us" rather than I, me, and mine, so we can shift the downward trajectory of our planets' condition and turn it around towards an uprising giving us glimpses and best practices of a new era for many generations to come? This is one challenge we must take.
It is January 11, 2015 and world leaders from over 40 countries gathered in Paris, linked arm to arm to march in peace for unity. In the twentieth century alone an estimated 160 million of our brothers sisters died because of war. We have over 60 countries engaged in some kind of conflict. And then there is the battle within our own minds, where some would argue all war begins. This means our entire world is suffering not only from a lack of inner peace but also from a loss of awareness as to how much love actually resides inside every soul. It seems to me that our holding on to old stories of the past with bitter interpretations percolates more hatred, and prevents us from walking into a new one.
The solidarity of world leaders in the aftermath of a three day terror attack, beginning at the newsroom of Charlie Hebdo, totaling 17 lives lost, makes me optimistic that goodness does indeed remain in us. We are all Charlie. As more than three million people participated in unity marches throughout various places they proclaimed their solidarity with the phrase, "Je Suis Charlie," "I Am Charlie," also translated as "OM Charlie."
OM, while translating to "I Am," is also a sacred sound, connecting all through a vibration of peace and love. Perhaps turning more to this meaning of "I Am," will bring us back to who we truly are, beyond our excuses for war. Will the escalation of tragedy eventually become a means for us to review our humanity and recognize that we all come from One God, and we will all return to the same one? To date, I've never seen a record of God saying, "I am Muslim... Jew, Christian, Hindu." So is it man's attachment to these labels that creates the conflict? What if we really did come from the solidarity of 'We are all Charlie?' Not only post-terror, but every day.
I showcased an incredible short movie, Admissions at the Meditation Museum during the holidays. Like our guests, I came away with a deeper encouragement to get the knowledge and experience of Je Suis, OM, I Am, out and in to our communities worldwide. What if we all considered ourselves to be souls, belonging to the same God? What then would be our excuse to impose hurt on another and justify acts of violence as one's expression of God's will?
Please do share your thoughts, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is it about the coming of a new year that makes us reflect at a deeper level than we do in the middle of the year? We start to take a mental account of what we have done and what we have yet to do. I am of the firm belief that "should haves" don't serve us. Our lives have played out the way they were meant to, and now we're in a powerful position to consider how we would like to steer them from this point on.
The new year is about more than ritualistically setting resolutions before the clock strikes midnight. This annual transition of time is an opportunity for our stage of consciousness to transition from dark to light; to let go of our past and invest in our future by living fully and lovingly in the present.
As many make plans to toast the new year with carefully selected dates and parties, I'm reminded of my former life, prior to becoming fully dedicated to living from the inside out. When I was in my 20s, I was managing two nightclubs in South Beach, Miami. I was at the top of my game, living the high life in a beautiful, oceanfront apartment, with a brimming social life. I was in a good place, not searching for anything.
Then I had a deeply profound experience of silence, pure love, and the light of God that awakened something in me. It took me on a path of giving more than taking, it took me into real living. This entry of a new consciousness was so significantly more meaningful than my nightclub lifestyle that I had no choice other than to surrender to it. Looking back, I realize how enormous a transformation the soul went through; it shifted my way of speaking, walking, dressing and essentially being.
Now perhaps that level of change is not on the horizon for you, though letting go of something likely is. We may not all surrender to God or living more from inside out, what I tend to say, "paying attention" instead of living from tension, but to think of surrender as breaking our attachments and finding the courage to love more, we could all make that a resolution.
There is a continuous, subconscious habit of competing with attachments, expectations, resistance, and the ego, and all takes a toll on the soul. When we take an honest look at our inner thoughts and feelings, we slowly begin to accept the reality of this habitual pattern. We realize that we are more often in a state of illusion than truth. The path of spirituality is about examining the percentage we spend in the consciousness of our truth.
My role as a spiritual teacher is to be so curious about my own self transformation that it just might inspire others to examine this practice for themselves and find the courage to let go and give into the experience of true intoxication. I believe when someone is intoxicated about self realization, there is a faith that naturally moves the soul to make the impossible possible. It has the wisdom to release old patterns that no longer serve the betterment of the soul or the folks that revolve around them.
At this time, it seems my part that's unfolding in front of me and the world, is to offer a portal to a different kind of intoxication than my earlier days in the clubs, it's the intoxication of spiritual wisdom. There is something in the taste of realizing your worthiness, your capacity, your purity. And this drink of knowledge holds no fear of driving under the influence where you might hurt yourself or someone else. Instead, you might feel strong enough to pick someone up who is down and share a thought that will awaken them for the new year. There is no hangover, just the happiness of being ready to continue your journey, renewed and lighter.
So, for this new year, our ability to surrender opens an opportunity to break the illusions of the mind that are holding us back from forging forward and really living a life of pure freedom. Instead, we gracefully, and powerfully glide ourselves into a new year with eyes that sparkle with enlightenment, a smile as soft as a child, and heart of pure gold.
My gift for all of you is my Letting Go Meditation.
PaniPuri with Sister Jenna
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