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The Day Of The Dead | Nov 2, 2019

The Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and Brazil, November 2, 2019.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. It has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation’s schools. Many families celebrate a traditional “All Saints’ Day” associated with the Catholic Church.
– Wikipedia

Halloween is a fun celebration mostly for children to dress as ghosts and ghouls and delightfully spook neighbors. The Day of the Dead is more personal and familial. It’s aimed at remembering the departed, the loved and unloved.

And why not celebrate our dead, remember, and commemorate?

Your reasons need not be religious or cultural. Reasons can be found in the origin of the words, commemorate, memorable, memorial, remember, and memory itself. The Latin root for these is memor, meaning “mindful”, and the Greek word mermēra, meaning “care”.
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary

We remember to be mindful of and to care for the dead. Just one day, before we forget again.

Gone And Forgotten.

Obsessed with the here and now, the new and the better, we forget the past and the departed. It’s as though we suffer mass-amnesia.

Prolific intellectual, art critic, and poet, Clive James addressed this in his tome Cultural Amnesia, published in 2007.

Shining a light on the legacies of public figures that have shaped the culture and thinking of this century, James’ central idea of the book is that cultural amnesia is a deficit that touches us all in the Western world. He traces the origins of forgetting to the mass-trauma and ongoing grief of World War 2. We are compelled to forget the inhumanity of the Holocaust, and yet, in doing so, we are impoverished both culturally and personally.

This shared forgetting causes us to neglect the history that created our here and now, the cosmic soup in which we all swim.

We neglect to even know of the public lives whose legacies we benefit from, whether by liberation, peace, beauty, or empowerment. We forget our teachers, those accessible gurus who lit our path. In a hurry to become the teacher, we overlook rightful homage to the blessings bestowed upon us. We forget grandparents and ancestors who created us, whose essence and, to an extent, superficial characteristics and temperament, we embody throughout our mortal lives.

We forget the past not only because of cultural amnesia caused by trauma, but because we prefer tangible, finite, knowable things. The Western world is focused on material living. Unless we seek it consciously, the unknown makes us feel insecure.

Death is a mystery. Without attention to the mysteries, we are poorer. As Joseph Campbell wrote in The Power of Myth, “It’s important to live life with the experience, and therefore the knowledge, of its mystery and of your own mystery. This gives life a new radiance, a new harmony, a new splendor.”
Radiance and splendor are essential to wellbeing. Without them, we are possessed by mundanity.

The Fecund Void.

“Into the void of silence, into the empty space of nothing, the joy of life is unfurled.”
— C. S. Lewis

The void is more than half of our conscious existence.

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The Nine Nights Of The Goddess – Navarātri

Yoga and tantra provide maps and paths through the maze of complex existence. They aim to transform the body-mind from raw, mundane states of existence to refined, exalted states of experience and realization.

Within many yogic and tantric traditions, certain seasons, months, and times of the day are given special importance.

They are ‘auspicious’ times when cosmic energies are heightened and, as such, support psycho-spiritual practice. These auspicious moments in time assist us in achieving positive results. For example, dawn and dusk are said to be ideal times for yoga and meditation.

The festival of Navarātri or Nine Nights (‘nav’ is nine and ‘rātri’ is nights) is one of the great ceremonies in the lives of Hindus in India. The exact time of this celebration varies according to the lunar calendar. It begins on a dark moon in the Indian autumn (in the month of Ashwin, usually in October) and ends ten days after. In 2018 Navaratri started on the 8th of October (depending on which part of the world and time zone you live in).

This period of The Nine Nights is devoted to invoking The Great Mother Goddess, The Divine Creative Power, or Shakti, the creator and supporter of the universe. She is most closely identified with Durga, an exquisitely beautiful goddess who rides a lion, and who wields in her many hands’ awesome weapons, including the ‘shul’ (pike), ‘chakra’ (wheel), ‘parashu’ (ax), and ‘talvar’ (sword).

Durga is said to be the manifestation of the power of all the goddesses that, long ago, faced a terrible and irresistible demon called Mahishasura.

Mahishāsura is a mythic representation of the human ego in its demonic form

Many yogis do not see Navaratri as a religious process, but rather as a psycho-spiritual one, and a unique opportunity for yogic practice. 

They adopt certain practices and rituals to understand their psychological shadow and to confront their egos.

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The Magic Of Guru Purnima and The Total Lunar Eclipse

July 27th brings the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century. It coincides with Guru Purnima; the celebration of the guru.

Seers and mystics favour eclipses for spiritual practice. It’s a time when your efforts will be amplified—seen, heard, and enjoyed by your spiritual mothers and fathers, and thereby rewarded.

Pay homage to your guru if you have one, and to your inner guru, the light and consciousness that reveals your true path.

Pray, meditate, perform mantras, or rituals, or simply practice self-awareness and reflection.

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7 Potent Ways To Live And Die Without Regret

Add up all the stories told from deathbeds; the regrets, confessions, sorrows, secrets, petitions for forgiveness, and desperate calls to turn back the clock, and we have an infinite library of tragedy.

I must change my life so that I can live it. Not wait for it.
—  Susan Sontag

Death’s Day is coming — today, tomorrow, or it could be decades away.

Good health and youth do not protect anyone from death’s decision.

When death calls your name, you must go.

In my late teens, I almost died in a car accident, but death let me off the hook.

Not long after, death called my best friend, then my father.

I pushed their deaths into the shadow and ran into the light but soon discovered that chasing light created too many fears and even bigger shadows.

Then I found a wise teacher and teachings that led me back to the darkness to befriend death. Since that time I have allowed myself to remain with the awareness of death and this has driven me to interact with life more purposefully and joyfully.

In this essay, I reveal the 7 things I have learned about regret and death:

  1. Take a leaf from the Top 5 Regrets
  2. Explore other cultures
  3. Break the silence around death in daily life
  4. Learn the skill of change and letting go
  5. Meditate on death
  6. Interact with myths, art, and symbols of death
  7. Express your experience of death

1. Take A Leaf From The Top 5 Regrets

What we can learn from those near death, is that regret is the greatest pain.

Nurse Bronnie Ware spent 12 years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She collected stories and published a book, The Top Five Regrets Of Dying.

My friend Ann Marie is a nurse who worked in palliative care for twenty years. She carries her patient’s stories so deeply that being with her is sometimes heartbreaking.

Together these nurses have thousands of stories, and yet their top 5 regrets are identical.

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Tantra, the Science of Self–Transformation and Self–Realization

Tantra Is A System Of Self Development

Tantra is the ancient empirical philosophy and science of liberating energy in order to expand consciousness and realize one’s inherent spiritual power.

Consciousness and energy are united and made available for health, mental peace, emotional resilience, creativity and spiritual realization.

Tantra is a practical, empirical and experiential science that lights the torch and shows the way to self-transformation through psychological, psychic and spiritual growth and fulfillment.

Tantra and Yoga are intimately related. Many yogic techniques are used as part of tantric practice and ritual. Both yoga and tantra share the common goal of uniting our individual awareness with the highest Self.

Defining yoga-tantra

The word tantra is derived from the Sanskrit roots tan and tra. The root tan means extension, expansion, a stretching and pulling, as you pull rubber. Tra means to liberate, to release, to emancipate, and to make free. Energy is liberated so that it can be united with consciousness.

Yoga means connection or union. In this context, it refers to techniques that enable the union of consciousness and energy, of Shiva and Shakti.

Yoga-tantra, therefore, is the “liberation of energy (trapped in matter and neurotic psychological patterns) in order to expand individual consciousness and unite it with universal consciousness”

Energy is often trapped in tensions, old unconscious habits, and patterns within the body-mind. We may feel small, powerless, and out of touch with our true Self.

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