Hamsa: Ancient Symbology

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For anything to become a symbol its meaning has to be accepted collectively by a culture, philosophy, region, or any group of people. With time many symbols change their meaning and represent something other than their earlier association.

A symbol is by nature independent of logic or intellect. As such it gains a life of its own and is open to endless interpretations and variations of use. Symbols draw their power and effectiveness by engaging the subconscious mind and by connecting to primal emotions.

The cradle of all superstition is the belief that there are forces that influence our life for good or bad and that there are ways to communicate and negotiate with these forces and to draw on their power of protection. One way of communicating our wishes for protection and support with these forces is by using different symbols that hold specific meaning to us. By using them in amulets and talismans it is believed that the user can influence the forces that have an affect on his life in a desirable and advantageous way and summon its protective powers.

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The use of objects as amulets and talismans is dated to the beginning of times. The ancient man used objects commonly found in his environment such as stones with odd shapes or colors, or plants that were deemed powerful for their shape, color, flavor or medicinal attributes. With time these objects became more sophisticated and their designs more elaborate. Many of the symbols that are used in amulets and talismans became universal marks of protection and support and are found in variations among most cultures and folklores around the globe. Some of the meanings of the symbols vary from region to region or from culture to culture but over all there is a common thread that ties them all. Not much has changed over time as far as the wide spread use of amulets and talismans.

Although we live in a seemingly more sophisticated era the use of amulets and talismans is as widespread and as strong as in ancient times.

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Meditation according to Deepak Chopra

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Deepak Chopra recently appeared on the Dr. Oz show to help people learn basic meditation techniques. Here is how it went.

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I’m Deepak Chopra and I’m going to do three things with you. First, I’m going to explain what meditation is and how it works. Secondly, I’m going to do a healing meditation with you. Thirdly, I’m going to do something really exciting — the law of attraction and meditation. So let’s start with the theory first:

Everyone thinks that the purpose of meditation is to handle stress, to tune out, to get away from it all. While that’s partially true, the real purpose of meditation is actually to tune in, not to get away from it all, to get in touch with it all. Not to just de-stress, but to find that peace within, the peace that spiritual traditions talk about that passes all understanding. So, meditation is a way to get in the space between your thoughts. You have a thought here, a thought here, and there’s little space between every thought.

According to wisdom traditions, this space between the thought is the window, is the corridor, is the vortex to the infinite mind — the mystery that some people call the spirit or god. We don’t have to use those terms but it’s your core consciousness. And the more we learn about this space between thoughts, we find certain things to be true of it:

#1: It’s a field of infinite possibilities — infinite possibilities, pure potentiality.

#2: Everything is connected to everything else.

#3: It’s a space of infinite creativity, infinite imagination.

#4: It is a place where there is something called observer effect, or the power of intention, which means intention is very powerful when brought to this space and it orchestrates its own fulfillment –what people call the law of attraction — so those are wonderful qualities of your own spirit. And in the two meditations I’m going to teach you we’ll get into this space so we find ourselves infinite possibilities, infinite correlation, infinite creativity, infinite imagination, and infinite power of intention. That’s what meditation is really about.

So now we’re going to do a healing meditation. Very simple.

First of all, the most important thing is sit comfortably like I’m sitting. Do not slouch on the sofa. The sofa is a way to relax so much you might almost fall asleep. Do not lie down. Sit relatively erect like I’m sitting, and have a backrest so you can keep your posture erect. Don’t cross your legs, keep your hands open, and be comfortable. That’s it. You don’t have to be a yogi doing impossible yogic postures. That’s it. Sit like I’m sitting on the chair and have your hands open. For now just follow my instructions, OK?

So looking at the camera, repeat to yourself loudly the two words, ‘I am. I am. I am. I am.’

And now you can close your eyes and you can whisper those two words to yourself, ‘I am. I am. I am.’

And now you can stop whispering those two words and keep repeating them mentally, with your eyes closed. And as you keep them mentally make sure that your lips don’t move and that your tongue doesn’t move and just keep repeating them.

What will happen is that you’ll have other thoughts. You might feel sensations in your body. You might hear sounds in your environment. Whenever you become conscious of that then go back to repeating ‘I am’, mentally, without moving your lips and your tongue. I’ll let you do that for about five to ten minutes. Preferably ten, but five is good enough. OK, so keep repeating that.

Now let’s assume you’ve done that for five minutes. Keep your eyes closed, and bring your awareness into your heart, right in the middle of the chest. With all of your awareness try to see, sense, feel your heartbeat. See if you can sense your heartbeat either as a sound or a sensation.

Now that you’re experiencing your heartbeat as a sound or a sensation, bring your awareness to your fingertips, to your hands. See where my hands are? Bring your awareness into your fingertips. You can open you eyes and peek for a second and then go back with your eyes closed. Feel your heartbeat in your fingertips. You feel that? You’ve just diverted blood flow to your hands. This is one of the fastest ways to relieve a migraine headache.

Now bring your awareness back into your heart and just mentally repeat the four words that I’m going to ask you to repeat, mentally.

Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.

Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.

Do that for two minutes and now move your awareness anywhere in your body that you want to bring healing to. You don’t have to visualize anything, you don’t have to say anything, just bring your awareness. Just bringing awareness to these different parts of your body will bring consciousness, which is healing.

Finally, come back to your heart, and in one minute or so say again those four words: Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love. Remember those are the goals of all the other goals in our life, whatever we want, ultimately that’s what we want. So repeat: Peace. Harmony. Laughter. Love.

Now keep your awareness in your heart and just for one minute, experience gratitude. You experience gratitude by thinking of all the things you’re already grateful for. The more you experience gratitude, the more you’ll attract things in your life that will make you feel even more grateful. Do that for a second, a few seconds, relax into your body, and open your eyes. This is a healing meditation.

OK, so the next mediation is about the law of attraction — how do you manifest your intentions — how do you make your intentions more powerful. Most people think ‘if I think positively it’ll do that and it’ll make things happen.’ That is the biggest misconception in life, that you can change your life by thinking positively. In fact you’ll get very stressed by thinking positively if you’re not feeling positive. It’s much more important to be authentic and real and have the ability to quiet your mind and then seed your consciousness with your intentions.

So the first thing that you do is put your awareness once again into your heart, with your eyes closed.

Now, feel gratitude — gratitude by thinking of all the things that you are thankful for — your ego will move out of the way. Remember, ego is ‘e.g.o.’ means ‘edging god out’ — so you get the ego out of the way by just thinking of all the things you’re grateful for.

Now keeping your attention in the heart, ask yourself just one question, ‘What do I want?’ And listen to the answers that your heart gives you. So ask yourself, ‘What do I want?’ Listen to the answers that your heart gives you. Pay attention to what is coming there. ‘What do I really want in my life?’ And now let all that go. Surrender to the unknown, surrender to the mystery of the spirit.

Having done that, start to repeat the words mentally, ‘I am. I am. I am.’ Do that for about ten minutes, and then put your awareness in your body, and then open your eyes.

‘I am’ is a mantra. A mantra is a phrase that has no meaning. ‘I am Deepak’ has meaning as there’s a history behind that. But ‘I am’ is just a statement of existence. When Moses goes to the burning bush and asks God ‘what’s your name,’ God says ‘I am that I am.’ Jesus says before Abraham was, ‘I am.’

So when you repeat some sacred syllable like that, ‘I am’ that which is the source of the word ‘amen’or ‘om’ or ‘a-hum’ or ‘allah’ — any of these words — the same thing.

Then what happens is the sacred word interferes with the thoughts you’re having, the thoughts interfere with the mantra. They keep interfering with each other, and once in a while they interfere with each other so much that you fall into the gap. And that gap is your core consciousness, it’s your soul, it’s your connection to the mystery of existence. And when you bring your intentions there, your intentions become very, very powerful.

So try this intention out for the law of attraction.

A Healing Art: Aromatherapy

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What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils from plants for healing. Although the word “aroma” makes it sound as if the oils are inhaled, they can also be massaged into the skin or — rarely — taken by mouth. You should never take essential oils by mouth without specific instruction from a trained and qualified specialist. Whether inhaled or applied on the skin, essential oils are gaining new attention as an alternative treatment for infections, stress, and other health problems. However, in most cases scientific evidence is still lacking.

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What are essential oils?

Essential oils are concentrated extracts taken from the roots, leaves, seeds, or blossoms of plants. Each contains its own mix of active ingredients, and this mix determines what the oil is used for. Some oils are used to promote physical healing — for example, to treat swelling or fungal infections. Others are used for their emotional value — they may enhance relaxation or make a room smell pleasant. Orange blossom oil, for example, contains a large amount of an active ingredient that is thought to be calming.

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How does aromatherapy work?

Researchers are not entirely clear how aromatherapy may work. Some experts believe our sense of smell may play a role. The “smell” receptors in your nose communicate with parts of your brain (the amygdala and hippocampus) that serve as storehouses for emotions and memories. When you breathe in essential oil molecules, some researchers believe they stimulate these parts of your brain and influence physical, emotional, and mental health. For example, scientists believe lavender stimulates the activity of brain cells in the amygdala similar to the way some sedative medications work. Other researchers think that molecules from essential oils may interact in the blood with hormones or enzymes.

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Aromatherapy massage is a popular way of using essential oils because it works in several ways at the same time. Your skin absorbs essential oils and you also breathe them in. Plus, you experience the physical therapy of the massage itself.

Source:
Aromatherapy | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center

Meditation: A Window into the Soul

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Have you ever Meditated? Many find it difficult to keep their thoughts quiet but studies are beginning to show dramatic health benefits both physically and mentally from daily meditation.
 
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Here are the four types of meditation and the ways they can change your life:
 
 
1. By cultivating awareness, meditation can help you find peace in the present moment.  
 
 
In some forms of meditation, you practice non-judgmental awareness of the present moment by bringing your attention to the cycles of your breath. This centers you in the present moment whenever your mind wanders into the past or the future. By learning to keep the mind’s temporal pendulum in the center, you become mindful in every moment, even when you’re under pressure. Anxieties and traumas from the past begin to fade as you become more involved in the present and less fixated on the story of how you got here. Experiences that previously appeared dull and bland become textured and nuanced leading you to be more involved and interested in your life.
 
 
2. By bringing your mind into sharp focus, meditation can help you be your best.
 
 
In these forms of meditation, you keep yourself focused on a visualization, a chant, music, a person’s voice, a prayer, or some other object of attention. You may be instructed to imagine a desired future or re-contextualize past experiences.  After a short period of time you’ll, find yourself drawn into your focus and you’ll be effortlessly attentive. This state is very similar to a trance and is extremely useful for achieving specific goals like overcoming fears, becoming more productive, or letting go of dependencies. Many athletes and business-people practice this form of meditation without even realizing that they’re meditating. It can also be of great benefit for spiritual growth such as gaining greater compassion, acceptance, and universal love.
 
 
3. When you transcend your ego, meditation helps you discover yourself.
 
 
In these forms of meditation, the ideal outcome is to transcend the ego and intellect and directly experience a deeper, unbounded aspect of the self. So, for example, instead of thinking I am a 32-year-old graphic designer from San Francisco who loves cats, the most accurate description of your self-experience in that moment would simply be, I am. Most people need to train with a knowledgeable teacher so they can learn to go beyond the stressed and busy surface mind and experience this state. Most techniques in this category use mantras (simple repetitive sounds), chosen for their calming effect and sometimes specifically tailored for the individual. Unlike the focus techniques, though, you’re not supposed to keep your mind fixated on the mantra, but rather go through a cycle of repeating it and letting it go; allowing the mind to follow the mantra into quieter states of consciousness.
 
 
4. When you control your breath, meditation energizes your body.
 
 

You may be surprised to know that some forms of meditation are supposed to energize the body and mind rather than calm it. When you hear someone say “exercise is my meditation,” this is what they are talking about. The runner’s high is a well known experience in which inner calm is combined with maximum performance. However, you don’t have to be an athlete to experience runner’s high and athletes could benefit greatly from refining it. The most common techniques for energizing the body revolve around breath control. In India, the subtle energy flow from the breath is called “prana.” In China, it’s referred to as “chi,” but whatever you call it the result is the same. The nervous system is stimulated and balanced leading to a feeling of flow. In this state, you feel tapped into a deeper source of energy; you’ll be less prone to injuries when you run and you’ll be able to move deeper into your yoga poses.

 
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Daily meditation should be as simple and as much a part of your routine as brushing your teeth. Twice a day you clean out your mind and make it minty fresh!

The Seven Chakras of the Human Body

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The 7 Chakras are the energy centers in our body in which energy flows through.

Blocked energy in our 7 Chakras can often lead to illness so it’s important to understand what each Chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely.

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Here’s our quick summary of the 7 Chakras:

1. Root Chakra (red) – Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.

Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
Emotional Issues: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.

2. Sacral Chakra (orange) – Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.

Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches in.
Emotional Issues: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra (yellow) – Our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives.

Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
Emotional Issues: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.

4. Heart Chakra (green) – Our ability to love.

Location: Center of chest just above heart.
Emotional Issues: Love, joy, inner peace.

5. Throat Chakra (blue)- Our ability to communicate.

Location: Throat.
Emotional Issues: Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.

6. Third Eye Chakra (indigo) – Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.

Location: Forehead between the eyes. (Also called the Brow Chakra)
Emotional Issues: Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.

7. Crown Chakra (violet) – The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.

Location: The very top of the head.
Emotional Issues: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.

Main Chakra Centers

We will talk more about Chakras and how you can keep yours clear of spiritual debris in our next post!!

The Wonders of the Natural Coffee Bean

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Loved throughout the world, the coffee bean has always been a worldwide favorite. Originating out of Ethiopia, the coffee bean quickly spread throughout the world between the 11th and 17th centuries.

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Packed with antioxidants, the fruit of the coffee tree can bring you happiness, energy, clearer skin and even a healthier appetite! It’s also been known to reduce fevers, lift spirits and is great for combating depression. Even a few drops of coffee bean oil in the bath will make tense muscles relax and, when applied topically, this concoction will heal bee stings and other insect bites.

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With all of the Coffee Beans incredible benefits, it’s no surprise that we all love coffee so much. Here’s a video to help you understand how the oil is extracted.

The pressed oil contains a high amount of natural antioxidants, making it an excellent choice for skin serums and formulations. Rich in Phytosterols, Roasted Coffee Oil can help the skin retain moisture. Though Roasted Coffee Oil is quite viscous, it penetrates the skin quickly and easily.

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This aromatic oil makes an excellent ingredient for use in perfumes, body lotions, candles, bath products, and more.

Black Currant: The Next Super-Fruit.

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Black currants are small berries that are native to Europe and parts of Asia. It was illegal to grow the plant in the United States for much of the 20th century. The oil from the berry’s seeds contain large amounts of vitamins and nutrients. Though all parts of the shrub are used—berries, bark, leaves, and seeds—it is the oil of the seed that is used most commonly today.

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Black currant seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, which promote and maintain the body’s vital functions. Essential fatty acids provide energy, regulate body temperature and metabolism, protect tissues, and insulate nerves. Black currant oil contains more vitamin C than oranges and more potassium than bananas. It is also a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

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Because black currant seed oil is so high in gamma-linolenic acid, which makes prostaglandins, it is a highly effective anti-inflammatory herb. The oil is best used for chronic inflammatory conditions, cramps, and aches. It also boosts the immune system, and helps women with their menstrual cycles and menopause, while also easing discomforts associated with premenstrual syndrome. Black currant seed oil is also used to treat skin disorders.