Image by Conscious Design

Resources

MEDITATION

The practice of meditation involves intentionally focusing the mind. There are many different meditation techniques; the approach you choose will depend on your personal goals. On the level of the body and mind, meditation offers countless benefits for both physical and mental health. The consistent practice of meditation creates improved focus, reduces the effects of stress on the body, and strengthens emotional regulation. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can begin to change the structure of the brain after only two weeks of practice. 

 

A dedicated meditation practice is also essential for a spiritual seeker. The traditional aim of meditation - as developed in the ancient traditions of yoga and Buddhism - is to attain complete freedom from suffering by experiencing the divine directly. Spiritual practices allow us to have that direct experience, which has been described by countless mystics across all religious traditions.

MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is the ability to be with conditions in the present moment without judgment. While meditation is the practice of focusing the mind, mindfulness is the practice of separating the concept of who we are from from the activity of the mind. 

PACED BREATHING

Paced breathing is an excellent way to calm the mind and body and by "resetting" the nervous system by shifting it from the default fight-or-flight response to a relaxation response. This technique has been shown in studies to calm the nervous system, and is excellent for stress and anxiety. One effective paced breathing technique is a 10 count: 5 slow, diaphragmatic breaths in, 5 slow, diaphragmatic breaths out. Breath through the nose and into the lower belly. To get the full benefit, do this practice 2-3 times a week. You can also practice during the day as you drive or as you go to sleep. You can find many free breathing apps that allow you to download and set the pace.
 

THE HERO'S JOURNEY

The hero's journey is a universal, symbolic pattern of human experience that transcends culture and time. The idea of the hero's journey or monomyth was codified by mythologist Joseph Campbell who explains how we can see ourselves in timeless patterns in both ancient and modern stories and myths. Understanding our lives symbolically allows us to find rich meaning in our personal experiences, and to cast ourselves as the hero in our story even during suffering and hardship. These resources can help you discover your spiritual path and sense of purpose. 

THE TEACHINGS

An essential part of a spiritual path includes reflecting on teachings rooted in spiritual traditions that inspire and instruct.

Books

  • How to Know God by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood. A commentary on Patanjali's classic Yoga Sutras.

  • The Dhammapada, trans. Eknath Easwaran. Classic teachings of Buddha. 

  • The Bhagavad Gita, trans. Eknath Easwaran. The classic tale of dharma, with introduction and explanations. (An audio version of this book is available on YouTube.)

  • Jnaneshwar's Gita: A Rendering of the Jnaneshwari, trans. by Swami Kripananda. An exquisite translation and exposition of the Bhagavad Gita

  • Great Swan: Meetings with Ramakrishna, trans. Lex Hixon.

  • The Soul's Journey and Awakening Kundalini (book and CD collection), by Lawrence Edwards

Poetry

  • The Gift, trans. by Daniel Ladinsky. Sacred poetry by the poet-saint Hafiz. 

  • Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, trans. Daniel Ladinsky.

  • Kali's Bazaar, Lawrence Edwards. 

  • O My Beloved Whisperings From The Divine Heard By Kalidas, Lawrence Edwards. 

CONNECTING SPIRITUAL TEACHINGS OF EAST AND WEST
  • Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras, Diana Eck. 

  • Without Buddha I Could Not be a Christian, Paul F. Knitter.

  • Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, trans. Daniel Ladinsky.

  • Original Goodness: A Commentary on the Beatitudes, Eknath Easwaran

  • The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, edited by Stephen Mitchell

  • Living Buddha, Living Christ, Thich Nhat Hanh

  • The Perennial Philosophy, Aldous Huxley

  • Prayers of the Cosmos, Neil Douglas-Klotz. The prayers of Jesus translated directly from the Aramaic. Nuanced rendering of traditional prayers such as the "Our Father" and teachings in the Beatitudes. 

  • My Dear Far-Nearness: the Holy Trinity as Spiritual Practice, Robert A. Jonas

SELF CARE
  • myNoise. 200+ noise generators to help you meditate, focus, sleep, or relax. Site allows you to adjust generator to your liking. Enjoy free on the site, or download for a nominal fee. 

  • Bhagavad Gita Chants. This YouTube video offers a soothing chant of some key verses of the Bhagavad Gita ("Song of God"), the classical Hindu text that delves into the nature of God, our Self or soul, and our divine purpose or dharma. 

  • Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness, Fred Luskin

  • The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World, by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu