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Theresa F Koch M.S.




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Enlightenments

A Guide to Living Your Life Consciously

A life lived of choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived of chance is a life of unconscious creation.
- Neale Donald Walsch

As much as possible, I try to live my life by bringing to my consciousness what is bubbling up from my unconsciousness.

I try to clear the fog through which we often drift, to see where I’m going, to make conscious choices instead of automatic ones.

Do you ever have a feeling that you’re drifting through life, and not going where you want to go? Or that you don’t know how you got where you are today?

Living consciously is about taking control of your life, about thinking about your decisions rather than making them without thought, about having a life that we want rather than settling for the one that befalls us.

If you’re drifting through life, or feel out of control, or don’t know how you got here … deciding to live consciously could be the single most important thing you do.

Are you living unconsciously now?
Ask yourself the following questions … if you find yourself saying yes to many of them, you might want to consider trying conscious living:

1. Are you in a job that you fell into rather than the job you want?

2. Are you doing things that are given to you rather than what you love to do?

3. Are you spending your time doing busy work rather than what you want to do with your days?

4. Do you wish you could spend more time with loved ones?

5. Do you find yourself overweight because you’ve been eating the food you’ve been eating for years and stuck in a rut of not exercising?

6. Do you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck or in debt, not knowing where your money goes?

7. Do you find yourself wasting your time doing things that aren’t important rather than focusing on completing the things that are very important?

8. Do you go through your days not thinking about what you want out of life and how to get it?

If you answered “no” to all of these questions, you’re probably already living consciously, and you don’t need this article at all. For those who would like to live more consciously, read on.

How to Live Life Consciously
It’s not something you can change overnight. Living consciously is a lifestyle, a skill, an art. It’s not something you do just once, but a habit that you can form for the rest of your life.

But it is deceptively simple: Be conscious, and think about, everything you do. Make conscious choices rather than doing things without thinkings. That’s all.

It sounds simple, but it’s amazing how few people actually do this, and it’s amazing how easy it is to live life on autopilot, and just do what we always do because that’s what we’re used to doing. And it’s easier that way, even if our lives are difficult.

It’s not easy to changes our lives, to break out of our routines, to begin to live the lives we want.

It takes willful effort, energy and constant vigilance to think about our choices … all of them.

Here are some key tips that have worked for me:

1. Make reflecting on your life a regular routine. Whether you keep a journal, or make reflecting on your day part of your evening routine, or have a weekly session where you review your life or take some time away from the office to reflect on everything … it’s important that you give things some thought. Regularly.

2. At least once a year, set or review your life’s goals. What do you want to do in life? What is important to you? What do you want your life to be like? And how will you get there? Write it down, and keep it somewhere you will see it often, and take action.

3. Also review your relationships. The people we love are among the most important things in our lives, if not the only important things. You need to think about your relationships. Do you spend enough time with them? Do you show your appreciation for them? Is there a way you can improve your relationship? Do you need to forgive or apologize about anything? Are there barriers that can be removed? Communication that can be improved? Also review your relationships with others, such as co-workers.

4. Consider your impact on the world. How does what you do, what you consume, and how you live, impact the environment? How does it impact poor people in Third World countries? How does it impact the poor, the powerless, the voiceless? How does it impact your community? Your life has an impact, whether you think about it or not. Being conscious of how your decisions affect others is important.

5. Consider the real costs of each purchase. We often buy things without really thinking about what we’re doing or what they really cost. Sure, it’s just $30 … no problem, right? But that $30 might represent several hours of your life … hours that you’ll never get back. Do you really want to spend your life earning money for trivial purchases? Is that what you want to do with your life? Worth some thought, I think. Read Your Money or Your Life for more.

6. Consider the real costs of the things in your life. Our lives are filled with stuff … our houses, our offices … and beyond just the cost of buying the stuff, this stuff takes a toll on us. The stuff in our life must be arranged, cleaned, moved, taken with us when we move … it takes up the space in our life, it is visual stress. Later, we’ll have to get rid of it, sort through all of it, take time to throw it away or recycle it or donate it. If having the stuff is not worth all of that, then get rid of it.

7. Review how you spend your time. Until we do a time audit, and keep a log of our day, even if it’s just for one or two days, we don’t really know how we spend our time. And if we do audit our time, it can be very surprising. And if we know how we’re spending our time now, we can make conscious decisions to change how we spend our time in the future. For computer-based time tracking, try Rescue Time.

8. Explore yourself. Not in a dirty way. Take some time to think about what kind of person you are. What your values are. Whether you live your life according to those values. How you treat people. How you treat yourself. Think about this: what do you want people to say about you when you die? Read more: The Key to Dying Happy.

The Labyrinth
 

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love."
Caroline Adams

We are all on the path... exactly where we need to be. The labyrinth is a model of that path.

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. The Labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools.

A labyrinth is an archetype with which we can have a direct experience. We can walk it. It is a metaphor for life's journey. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space and place and takes us out of our ego to "That Which Is Within."

Labyrinths and mazes have often been confused. When most people hear of a labyrinth they think of a maze. A labyrinth is not a maze. A maze is like a puzzle to be solved. It has twists, turns, and blind alleys. It is a left brain task that requires logical, sequential, analytical activity to find the correct path into the maze and out.

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

The most direct path from A to B is a straight line. The most indirect path from A to B is likely to be a labyrinth. Not to be confused with a maze, which has several dead ends, a labyrinth is a unicursal voyage that leads from a point outside the design towards the centre of the labyrinth.
Though the labyrinth of the Cathedral of Chartres is likely to be the most famous, labyrinths are of all times and civilisations; they might be as old as civilisation itself and have been found on rock art dating back thousands of years. A labyrinth carved on a piece of mammoth ivory has been found in a Paleolithic tomb in Siberia. The site is more than 7000 years old.
But what message do they convey? Though their interpretation has changed and been adapted over time and by individual civilisations – whether intentionally or not – in origin, the labyrinth might be explained by its very shape. In the 1990s, Paul Devereux established a relationship between straight lines and the flight of the soul in its disembodied state. In folklore, across the world, it is said that the soul travels in a straight line. A labyrinth, however, is anything but straight and it was therefore said that a labyrinth could both catch the soul and keep it in one location, or instead create a void, in which the person visiting the centre, will be “clean” of any outside spiritual influences, as these energies cannot penetrate. No wonder therefore that some see the centre of a labyrinth as a point outside of time, an observation which was recognised by the Hopi of North America, who use the labyrinth shape as the symbol of a place of emergence, where access to this – and other – realms becomes possible: a sacred space that creates a gateway through time, to communicate with the Creator God.

The birthplace of the labyrinth is often ascribed to Crete, with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. The Minotaur is normally described as part man, part bull, a hybrid being, an abomination for which King Minos of Crete needed an enclosure. This was designed by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus. Most identify the site of Knossos as the location of this labyrinth. Though the palace held many puzzling compartments, this would clearly be more of a maze, rather than a labyrinth. Hence, if there was a labyrinth here, it has so far not yet been uncovered.
Most interpretations of the Knossos labyrinth, however, favour the story of a maze, as it more easily seems to explain the legend. The key role in the story is that of Ariadne. She is the one who reveals the secret of the structure’s layout to Theseus: that he needs to tie a rope to himself at the start of the labyrinth, so that he can find his way out once having located and slaughtered the Minotaur. But as labyrinths are unicursal, most have thus concluded Knossos was a maze, if only because a labyrinth could not hold a beast, as it would simply follow the single corridor and come out.
Of course, this assumes the labyrinth was a real, physical structure and the Minotaur a “normal” beast. But if a soul were to enter the labyrinth, and knowing souls can only travel in straight lines, a cord would indeed be required for a wandering soul to enter the labyrinth and for it to find its way out again. Remarkably, there are thousands of years of shamanic tradition that speak of such a cord: the famous silver cord of the shaman, through which he remains connected to his body while he journeys in the Otherworld, so that he can find his way back. And, as such, it is therefore more likely that the Cretan labyrinth was indeed a labyrinth, but not the palace itself – perhaps not even a physical structure.

Other myths that involve labyrinths underline the link between the labyrinth and a priestess or a virgin. The Greek poet Homer remarked that the labyrinth was Ariadne’s ceremonial dancing ground and she is obviously a key figure in guiding Theseus into the structure.
In fact, when we look at the story of Theseus, we find many shamanic connections. After slaughtering the Minotaur, Theseus became king of Athens, but would enter Hades in an attempt to rescue the soul of Persephone. Hades, of course, is the Greek underworld and in Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas found a labyrinth at the entrance to Hades, separating the living from the dead – once again underlining the psychical role of a labyrinth. Furthermore, Joseph Campbell speaks of how many myths relate that the approach to the Land of the Dead was halted by a female guardian, thus explaining the role of Ariadne in the story of Theseus killing the Minotaur.

The connection with Troy is equally of paramount importance. In Celtic tradition, there were Troy Stones, which were handed down by wise women from one to another and were used to communicate with the underworld. Nigel Pennick notes that “the wise woman would trace her finger through the labyrinth, back and forth, whilst humming a particular tune, until she reached an altered state.”
According to Virgil, after the fall of Troy, Aeneas popularised a processional parade or dance that became known as the “Game of Troy”. This may have been identical to the Crane Dance, which is said to have originated with Theseus and his party after escaping from Knossos. The crane was the sacred bird of Mercury (Hermes) and rock carvings found at Val Camonica in northern Italy, dated ca. 1800-1300 BC, depict a crane standing close by a Cretan-style labyrinth, confirming the close connection between Troy, labyrinths and the crane dance.
Indeed, in some regions, labyrinths are known as “Troy towns”, while other traditions state that the centre of the labyrinth was not occupied by a Minotaur, but that one needed to rescue a young woman at the centre, often identified as Helen of Troy.
In Homer’s Iliad, King Agamemnon, the commander-in-chief of the Greek army, is the brother of King Menelaus, who has lost his wife, Helen, to Paris of Troy. She is the one being held hostage in Troy and the key – often unasked question – is whether she was held in a “Troy town” – a labyrinth, from which she needs to be liberated. Was, in fact, Troy not a physical location, but a celestial city – on par with the Christian concept of the New Jerusalem?
Florence and Kenneth Wood in “Homer’s Secret Iliad” see the fall of Troy as an allegory for the decline of the constellation Ursa Major in the sky and the end of one era, making way for another, as identified by the precession of the equinoxes, a process that greatly influenced many myths and legends. They identify Helen as the constellation Libra, Menelaus the red-haired Antares, while Paris is Betelgeuse and Orion. It therefore seems that the concept of time is a key component of the labyrinth too – at least in Greek mythology. Noting that the centre of the labyrinth was often seen as a place outside of time, it was indeed a place of emergence and creation.

The story of the Cretan Minotaur, however, only existed after 400 BC onwards. Before, it was referred to as the “bull of Minos” – Minos Taurus. Furthermore, the origin of the story is likely to have been legendary encounters between gods-as-bulls and women, which were common in the Near East, rather than that of a hybrid being. Equally, there are earlier references to a labyrinth in Egypt, which some have reconciled by having Daedalus visit Egypt. An Egyptian etymology suggests lapi-ro-hun-t, or “Temple on the Mouth of the Sea”, while Minos is a Hellenized Menes, the first Dynastic pharaoh of Egypt. The sacred structure in Egypt connected with labyrinths and bulls was the Serapeum, which was a burial place for the Apis bulls. The Serapeum had more than sixty such mummies, collated over a period of thousands of years. Each time, the Apis Bull was linked with the beginning of a new era, such as Emperor Hadrian who had to suppress a revolt in 138 AD in Alexandria, as it marked the end of a Great Year, when “bull fever” was even more intense than at other times.
When speaking of bulls and astronomical eras, we also need to look at Mithraism, in which Mithras takes on the role of Theseus and becomes the bull slayer. Interestingly, the bull in Greece was known as Asterion, which means “starry”, or “ruler of the stars”. In every Mithraic temple, the central focus was upon a tauroctony, Mithras killing a sacred bull, which was associated with spring. Remarkably, in Gothic cathedrals, the centre of the labyrinth was often occupied by Theseus killing the Minotaur. Coincidence, or an inheritance of a sacred tradition? However, there seems to have been no room within Mithraism for labyrinths.

From the earliest depictions in Siberia, the labyrinth has been linked with shamanism, and hence altered states. The labyrinth, in short, should be seen as a shamanic device. This is also apparent in medieval labyrinths, even though these had, with the passage of time and cultures, received several more layers, including the intricate designs such as those of Chartres. But, in essence, the labyrinth remained a “Way to Jerusalem”. Often seen as a miniature version of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, in truth, it was more a Way to a New Jerusalem: it remained a shamanic tool for the visitors who entered it and performed a ritual walk, a practice often associated with shamanic traditions, and visible in sites such as Nazca, Cusco, Chaco Canyon and various others across the world. Whereas Cusco and Chaco Canyon’s ritual paths were linear, the labyrinth is… labyrinthine. The person walking the labyrinth is cleansing his mind, to enter at the centre free from external thoughts, surrendering himself to God. Whether in Siberia in 5000 BC, or Chartres in 1200 AD, in essence, the labyrinth has remained a shamanic device. “Only” its complexity has transformed and moved along with the civilisations that have incorporated it in their religions and constructions and added additional layers of interpretation to it, often, as in the case of Chartres, combining concepts of various cultures and religions. With each implementation of the labyrinth, a time returns, and the passage of time, of beginning and end, birth and rebirth, is symbolically illustrated. It underlined the ancient concept that time was not linear, but cyclical… or labyrinthine?

Various sources through out the web

Chromotherapy, sometimes called color therapy/colour therapy, colorology or cromatherapy
 

A complementary medicine method. It is said that a therapist trained in chromotherapy can use light in the form of color/colour to balance "energy" wherever a person's body be lacking, whether on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels. The practice has been labelled pseudoscientificby some of its critics.

Color therapy is unrelated to light therapy, a scientifically-proven form of medical treatment for seasonal affective disorder and a small number of other conditions.

History

Avicenna (980-1037), who viewed color to be of vital importance in diagnosis and treatment, discussed chromotherapy in The Canon of Medicine. He wrote that "Color is an observable symptom of disease" and also developed a chart that related color to the temperature and physical condition of the body. His view was that red moved the blood, blue or white cooled it, and yellow reduced muscular pain and inflammation. He further discussed the properties of colors for healing and was "the first to establish that the wrong color suggested for therapy would elicit no response in specific diseases." As an example, "he observed that a person with a nosebleed should not gaze at things of a brilliant red color and should not be exposed to red light because this would stimulate the sanguineous humor, whereas blue would soothe it and reduce blood flow."[1]

Robert Hunt, a scientist from the United Kingdom, wrote "Researches on Light in its chemical relations" in 1844, in which he book described the influences on plant growth of selected applications of light.

American Civil War General Augustus Pleasonton conducted his own experiments and published his book The Influence Of The Blue Ray Of The Sunlight And Of The Blue Color Of The Sky, published in 1876 about how the color blue can improve the growth of crops and livestock and can help heal diseases in humans. This led to a birth of modern chromotherapy, influencing scientist Dr. S. Pancoast and Edwin Dwight Babbitt to conduct experiments and publish books about chromotherapy. Dr. S. Pancoast wrote "Blue and Red Light; or, Light and Its Rays as Medicine" in 1877 and Edwin Dwight Babbitt wrote "The Principles of Light and Color" in 1878.

In 1933 Hindu scientist Dinshah P. Ghadiali published "The Spectro Chromemetry Encyclopaedia", a work on color therapy. Ghadiali claimed to have discovered the scientific principles which explain why and how the different colored rays have various therapeutic effects on organisms. He stated that colors represent chemical potencies in higher octaves of vibration, and for each organism and system of the body there is a particular color that stimulates and another that inhibits the work of that organ or system. Ghadiali also wrote that by knowing the action of the different colors upon the different organs and systems of the body, one can apply the correct color that will tend to balance the action of any organ or system that has become abnormal in its functioning or condition.

Throughout the 19th century healers claimed colored glass filters could treat many diseases including constipation and meningitis. Photobiology, the term for the contemporary scientific study of the effects of light on humans, has replaced the term chromotherapy in an effort to separate it from its roots in Victorian mysticism and to strip it of its associations with symbolism and magic.

Light therapy is a specific treatment approach using high intensity light to treat specific sleep, skin and mood disorders.

Meaning of colors

A New Age conceptualisation of the chakras of Indian body culture and their positions in the human body

Ayurvedic medicine describes the body as having seven main chakras, which some claim are 'spiritual centers', and which are held to be located along the spine. In New Age thought each of the chakras is associated with a single color of the visible light spectrum, along with a function and organ or bodily system. According to this explanation, the chakras can become imbalanced and result in physical diseases but these imbalances can be corrected through using the appropriate color as a treatment.The purported colors and their associations are described as:

Color Chakra Chakra location Alleged function Associated system
Red First Base of the spine Grounding and Survival Gonads, kidneys, spine, sense of smell
Orange Second Lower abdomen, genitals Emotions, sexuality Urinary tract, circulation, reproduction
Yellow Third Solar plexus Power, ego Stomach, liver, gall bladder, pancreas
Green Fourth Heart Love, sense of responsibility Heart, lungs, thymus
Blue Fifth Throat Physical and spiritual communication Throat, ears, mouth, hands
Indigo Sixth Just above the center of the brow, middle of forehead Forgiveness, compassion, understanding Eye, pineal glands
Violet Seventh Crown of the head Connection with universal energies, transmission of ideas and information Pituitary gland, the central nervous system and the cerebral cortex

What is Zen?

"Zen" is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese character "chan," which is in turn the Chinese translation from the Indian Sanskrit term "dhyana," which means meditation.

Zen, like Tao, cannot be totally explained in words. Much of your grasp of Zen must necessarily depend on your own intuition. Bodhidharma (528 A.D.) had this to say about it:

Not dependent on the written word,
Transmission apart from the scriptures;
Directly pointing at one’s heart,
Seeing one’s nature, becoming Buddha.

Given that’s the case, the closest we can come to describing Zen in words may be as follows:

  • Zen is more of an attitude than a belief.
  • Zen is the peace that comes from being one with an entity other than yourself.
  • Zen means being aware of your oneness with the world and everything in it.
  • Zen means living in the present and experiencing reality fully.
  • Zen means being free of the distractions and illusory conflicts of the material world.
  • Zen means being in the flow of the universe.
  • Zen means experiencing fully the present, and delighting in the basic miracle of life itself.

Paradox is a part of Zen and the teaching of Zen. A paradox nudges your mind into a direction other than the routine. It helps you disengage the rational mind and free up the intuition. It also points to a truth that cannot be rationally derived through the use of logic. Therefore:

  • Zen is nothing and yet everything.
  • Zen is both empty and full.
  • Zen encompasses all and is encompassed by all.
  • Zen is the beginning and the end.

It's easy for some to dismiss Zen as a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, devoid of real meaning. These would be the people who aren't yet ready to move up to this particular level of spiritual development. That's alright. Such things should not and indeed cannot be rushed. Michael Valentine Smith, the main character from Stranger in a Strange Land, would say that one must "wait for fullness" and that "waiting is."

Zen philosophy asserts that inner peace and enlightenment can be attained through self-contemplation and meditation rather than devotion, faith and belief.

The result of this mingling spread from China to Japan, where it later formed into what is now known as (at least in translation) Zen Buddhism.

Buddhism and it's cousin Taoism have gained significant popularity in the United States and Europe, to the point that it have become somewhat of a movement. Many true practitioners are hoping it isn't just a fad, but rather the beginning of a global

 

Namaste`