Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mantras in the Scriptures

This week I was reading Revelation, chapter 4, about the four beasts, which represent all different categories of God's creation, and I discovered that they "rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."

And I thought, that sounds a lot like a mantra. I especially liked that they say it day and night. (I am an unapologetic mantra chanter, and when I am not chanting, I have them playing in the house, day and night.)

Then I read another one in Revelation, and pretty soon, I had a long list and a passion to find more. This blog post is the beginning of an attempt to find and catalog all the mantras that I can find in the LDS Christian cannon. Of course, I am not going to do it alone. That's why I am posting them here. You can add to this list in the comments and I'll update this post often until I think of a better home for all these mantras.

I suppose I should list the criteria that I think makes something qualify as a mantra, but for now, I'm just listing things that people or angels or creatures say, alone or in unison. They can say them once or repeatedly, and if it just feels like a mantra, I have written it down for now. (Really, it is more scientific that than that... and also it is not. For now, I am just listing as many as I can that might qualify.)
So here we go:

Hebrew Bible (aka Old Testament)

Psalm 117  In its entirety

Psalm 118:25 [Hosanna! Hosanna comes from the Hebrew translation meaning "save now" or please save us, which is taken from Psalm 118. According to the Bible Dictionary, "the chanting of this Psalm was connected at the Feast of Tabernacles with the waving of palm branches; hence the use of the word by the multitudes at our Lord's triumphal entry into Jerusalem." By chanting that, they were demonstrating an understanding that Jesus was the same Lord who delivered Israel anciently. This chant has become a celebration of the Messiah and is now part of temple dedications.] Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.

Psalm 147:1 and Psalm 135:3 [These are almost identical. It is not a mantra per se, but it is about the changing of mantras] Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

Psalm 150 In it's entirety

Jeremiah 33:10-11 [If you have read Jeremiah you know it is a long sad story. Here the Lord is promising a happy ending (coming of Christ and gathering of Israel), which happy ending is heralded by the chanting of a mantra. The Mantra is in bold. I love the second half of the mantra because it recognizes the mantra chanters themselves and effectively describes what chanting mantras is all about--the sacrifice of praise.] Thus saith the Lord; Again there shall be heard in this place....The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the Lord of hosts: for the Lord is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the Lord.

2 Chronicles 20:21  [I wrote a cool blog post about how this mantra won the battle.]And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Isaiah 6:3 [The seraphim say this. Seraphim are often confused with Cherubim, but they are a different and entirely cool rank of angelic beings. I'll write more on them some day.]  Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

New Testament

2 Chronicles 5:13 [The temple is finished and the arc of covenant is laid in the Holy of Holies and the people are chanting and singing as one with trumpets and cymbals. The result is that there is a "cloud" or the glory of the Lord is in the house] For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;

2 Chronicles 7:3 [The people witness fire come down and the glory of the Lord. They bow and worship]
For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Revelation 4:8 Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Revelation 7:10 Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Revelation 7:12  Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 15:3-4  [This comes after a great victory and they sing with harps] Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

The Book of Mormon

1 Nephi 1:14 [after seeing many marvelous things Lehi did exclaim many many things unto the Lord; such as] Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the heavens, and thy power, and goodness, and mercy are over all the inhabitants of the earth; and, because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish!

2 Ne 16:3   [Exactly the same as the one in Isaiah 6:3]

The Doctrine & Covenants


The Pearl of Great Price


I haven't had time to find more, but I now know that scriptures are full of them. One thing you may notice is that a commonality in all of them is the aspect of praise. I'll write more about this soon. Think of this as en evolving blog post. Please feel free to add to it or comment!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Law of Consecration

"Do not get what you can get, get what you are going to be given. What God is going to give you." - Yogi Bhajan
Pretty nails. Pretty wedding band.

Back in May I wrote a cryptic post about how I had done something brave. I didn't feel like sharing details then. Six months later I am ready to share. A week before Mother's day, after months of consistent mediation with the simple intention of having more faith, I got a crazy inspiration. The inspiration was that I should set my ex-husband free of child support payments. I am not sure how it came. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it might not be so crazy.

I was not in the financial position to do this. But I realized that: a) when selfish people owe you money, they hate you for it (he is the type of person who would spend 1000s of dollars fighting me over a couple hundred dollars) b)money is an energy exchange. I am in the business of positive energy. I suspected that if I acted in faith and let go of this negative energy exchange, I might actually make more money and have more abundance in every way. This is what happened two summers ago when I followed inspiration and cut my work week in half to spend more time with my daughter.

So after only a week of thinking about it, I did it. The phone call was completely baffling to him. He asked me if it was a passive aggressive tactical maneuver. I laughed and said no. I am just done fighting about money.

And that was it. I felt so free! I wanted to tell everyone. But I kept it quiet because child support is a topic that triggers a lot of other people's stuff and I didn't want them to worry for me or tell me I was stupid or that it wasn't fair that he gets off so easy. I knew that in fact, I was the one setting myself free, and that was very fair to me. 

After I released myself from that bondage, I did indeed notice an influx in clients and my own ability to recognize opportunities. I also noticed an unusual, and at first uncomforatble, peace and quiet in the relationship between me and my ex. But the biggest learning I had was when I went to the temple and discovered that God had things to teach me about money and about the Law of Consecration.

I sometimes feel a little sad that we as a people (or our ancestors, really) weren't ready and so missed the chance to live the law of consecration. But those of us who have been through the endowment session in the LDS temple do covenenat to live this law in our own way--specifically, that we will consecrate our selves, our time, our talents and everything that the Lord has blessed us with, or may bless us with, to building up of the kingdom of God.

This is the highest covenant we make in the endowment session. And associated with it is a token and sign. There is only one higher covenant we make in the temple, and that is the sealing covenant--when husband and wife are sealed to each other for time and all eternity. You may notice, if you have been to a temple sealing, that the betrothed couple uses the token of the Law of Consecration during the sealing ceremony. For me, this was a macro-cosmic mind explosion.

I know from statistics and from experience that one of the things married couples fight about most is money. (Sex and in-laws are next on the list. But I'll save those for another blog post.) I realized that if a couple really were both living this covenant and taking it to heart, then there would be few arguments about money.
I thought perhaps this information was preparing me for when I would be a couple again.

One thing to note about the words of the covenant are that we not only consecrate our means and time and talents, but also our "selves."  If one consecrates him or herself, to the building up of God's kingdom, then that person is not likely to want anything unrighteous. Consecrating one's self, means literally to become one with God. We do this in many ways, (the most obvious is birth), but I will have to save that for a whole different post.

Here comes the second part of the macrocosmic mind explosion. In the endowment we covenenat to give everything to God, then in the sealing ceremony, he promises to give us everything He has. Thrones, principalities, kingdoms, powers, etc. Woah! Does anyone else feel that this is more than fair?

Queen Elizabeth. Not wearing her crown, but boy she had style.

One last big thing I learned during a temple session when I was meditating on the law of consecration is this: just because we promise to consecrate everything we have to building the Kingdom of God, doesn't mean that we are to be ascetics or to deny ourselves of all luxuries. In fact, Jesus Christ, both enjoyed luxuries, and gave luxurious gifts.

Here is a great quote from Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage, on page 110 (discussing John 2:11):

"The presence of Jesus at the marriage, and His contribution to the successful conduct of the feast, set the seal of His approval upon the matrimonial relationship and upon the propriety of social entertainment. He was neither a recluse nor an ascetic; He moved among men, eating and drinking as a natural, normal Being. On the occasion of the feast He recognized and heeded the demands of the liberal hospitality of the times, and provided accordingly. He, who but a few days before had revolted at the tempter's suggestion that He provide bread for His impoverished body, now used His power to supply a luxury for others."

Back in May, as I was sitting in the temple and contracting a little bit (just a small freak out) after having given up child support, I got a very clear inspiration to go and get a manicure and a pedicure. I don't even blink any more at strange inspirations, but I do like to understand, if I can, and so I meditated on this a little longer and I these scriptures came to mind:

18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
 19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
 20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. (Doctrine & Covenants 59)

Hmm. Well, having pretty nails does make me happy, and to me, it is symbolic of a certain level of self care that I like to maintain. (If my toenails are a mess, I feel like life is a little out of control.)  It was wonderful to feel that a loving Heavenly Father would be absolutely generous with our Heavenly Mother in this way and I felt he was showing me this same generosity. Interestingly, I felt it was not just the generosity of a loving father, but an example of a generous partner. Again, preparing me to be in a couple? I believe so. 

Back to the words of the covenant again: I also realized that the Kingdom of God is also within my own body, as Christ taught, and that if I don't take care of that Kingdom, then I won't have much to offer anyone else.

So I went and got a mani/pedi. I told my friend about it on the phone that night. I was happy. My nails looked pretty. I got out of the lack mentality and suddenly had an influx of clients, friends, free stuff, and helpers of all kinds. Not only did I let go of child support, but I also let go of lack. And in letting go, I gained everything.

As my gift to you, I would like to share with you, a powerful prosperity meditation. Here is a video on how to do it. Many blessings.

If you liked that video or any of my blog posts and want to pass them on, please click one of those tiny little icons below in the gray box to email or share this post via your preferred method. And if you are pinner, you know what to do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Deep Into the Head Covering Question

When we meditate in Kundalini Yoga, we are encouraged to cover our heads. I have often been asked by students why. I never knew exactly how to answer this because I have heard so many different reasons over the years, and also because I may have gotten the reasons confused in my mind with the reasons for veiling, which, to be clear, is a whole different issue. However, there is something so right about covering the head that I have obviously adopted it without bothering too much on why. In fact, in my bio I say that I sometimes wish Mormons wore turbans. I'll get to that in a bit, but first, I should mention that everything I write in this post is meant to get you thinking about the body as a temple, and so even if you hear terms that are unfamiliar, remember that we are headed in the direction of the sacred.

For the last few months, I have been sifting this over in my mind. I have been noticing in the temple and at church buildings, that a great amount of gospel art that portrays biblical times, shows people wearing turban-like head coverings.

This is similar to a large picture in a the LA temple that I cant find online. But notice how everyone is wearing a turban. In the picture at the LA temple, Jesus is also wearing one.

Last week, some of my meditation webinar ladies asked the same question. What are the reasons for covering the head while meditating? I decided to get a solid answer for them.

Here are some different things I have heard over the years.

  • It shows respect. 
  • It helps you focus.
  • It keeps unwanted spirits out of your crown chakra (energy center at the top of the head) and helps open that gate to God.
  • It affects the energy flow in your meridians (energy channels in the body).

I think all of the above are probably true and good reasons. But here is what I found last week from an old lecture by Yogi Bahjan:

"It's a yarmulke which you have been wearing for centuries, as Jews, as Christians, as Muslims. Because there are twenty-six bones in the head which need a cranial adjustment, and that self-crowning and that adjustment are your right. Your skull has exactly twenty-six parts, as you have twenty-six vertebra, as your foot has twenty six bones. One bone off, and the corresponding muscle and nerve will give you a relevant sickness. One vertebrae loose only one thousandth of a millimeter will give you disease. One part of the cranium off will give you absolute depression so much so that you cannot take it."

I wondered about this. It seems very scientific. And he even says this, in the next paragraph of this lecture--that he is a scientist. But Kundalini is a science of elevation. It is at once physical and beyond physical. At first, this answer seemed very physical. Until I read it several times.

I realized that everything physcial is also spiritual. If the body is a temple as Christ taught, then there may be "more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies," as some philosophers suggest. I am still pondering the significance of the number 26, but I'm sure there is deep symbology in this too.

What I finally realized was the most important part of YB's quote (I was distracted by all the 26s) was this part: "...that self crowning and that adjustment are your right." If we are indeed kings and queens, preists and priestesses, then a crown would be our birthright.

Many people I know who wear a turban, and who practice kundalini yoga, wear it beautifully, with a jeweled turban pin like the picture of my beautiful friend below. As far as head coverings go, I usually opt for something quick and simple, but even then, I have to admit, there is something royal feeling about it. After all, Kundalini Yoga is a Raj yoga, which means, royal yoga--it was handed down via a royal lineage.

It just so happens that two of the women in the meditation class/webinar are studying cranial-sacral therapy from a Christ centered perspective, and I can't wait to hear what they think about this. I don't know a ton about Cranial-Sacral Therapy, but I do know a bit about the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a master gland which rests in the sphenoid sinus (part of the sphenoid bone), which is housed in your cranium.

Interestingly, the sphenoid sinus is shaped exactly like the sacrum (which is the bone at the base of the spine between the last vertebra and the tailbone.) And the sphenoid bone, and the pelvis are shaped exactly alike as well. (And if you are wondering, about the word sacrum, yes it does come from the Latin for sacred).

Here is a picture of the Sphenoid Bone

Here is a picture of the pelvis with the sacral bone in the center.

Is this a coincidence that both ends of the chakra system have the same architecture--that they mirror each other--like the two veils--the veil we come through to get into this life (womb) and the veil we must go through (temple veil) to get to the next world? I don't think so. Especially since the Kundalini (your divine potential) is believed to reside at the base of the spine. When a person experiences a "Kundalini rising," this energy rises up through the shusmana, or central spinal channel, passes through the heart chakra, and ultimately passes through the pituitary gland (which is also known as the 3rd eye or brow chakra) and then out the top of the head and up to God. Oneness. Etc. This kind of blows my hair back every time I think of it.

But even if I didn't know all this, I know how I feel when I forget to cover my head. I feel like my brains are falling out. I feel unmoored. When I cover my head while meditating, I feel grounded and humble, more alert, and well, royal.

As far my not-so-secret wish that Mormons wore turbans--well I have entirely different reasons for that desire, which I will have to go into in another blog post.

I love comments.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Mantras Are All About Christ

I have been teaching a meditation webinar/series to a lovely group of about 25 women. It started last week. All are LDS. I have assigned each of them Kirtan Kriya for their 40-day meditation because it's such a good one and because I like the idea of them all being united in their meditation journey.

Part of Kirtan Kriya is that you chant a mantra: Sa Ta Na Ma. Each sylable of the mantra means, birth, life, death/change, and rebirth. I have taught this for years. But I have been so busy teaching people of all faiths that I often leave things very open for interpretation, knowing that the sound current and the technology will change them no matter how they interpret the mantras or mudras. But today one of my students said that she had the impression that Sa Ta Na Ma was all about Christ. At first, I didn't understand, then I realized. Of course! It is all about Christ's birth, life, sacrifice, and resurrection. How funny that I missed that. I mean, I see Christ in all rebirth, but I never really saw how this mantra so specifically references Him. It's startling how obvious it is now. Ha!.

One other cool thing I realized once I realized that: The mantra Sa Ta Na Ma is really the mantra Sat Nam broken down into it's essential sounds. The meaning of the mantra Sat Nam, is translated as "I am Truth, Truth is my name/identity."

What that means is that your true self (that pure and perfect spirit that is without any flaw or weakness that comes with being mortal) is your true identity. Not the body/mind that we identify with most of the time. It is you the way Christ sees you. And that's why we not only tune out with one (or several) long Sat Nams, but we also often use it as a greeting. And when you greet someone with Sat Nam, you are calling on that truest part of them. You are attempting to see them as Christ sees them.

I love it.

Sat Nam.

Just saying that to someone or when you enter a room can clear any karma. It can remove negative energy.

Sat Nam is also a seed mantra, which is a kind of mantra that plants a seed in your subconscious mind. A seed, as you know, is meant to sprout and grow. And what a great seed to plant in your subconscious mind--that your true identity is pure and good.

This brings me to something that I have been meaning to write about for a long time. For some time now I have been seeing a connection between these kundalini yoga and meditation teachings and the LDS temple ceremony. If you have been through the endowment ceremony in the LDS temple, you may have noticed that we chant mantras there. We also use mudras. Think and you will remember. I plan to write several blog posts about this, but for now, I would just like to invite you to think about the importance of the use of names in the temple and how our own names can be a seed mantra.

In the Bible Dictionary under Names of Persons it says: "The numerous passages of holy scripture in which reasons are given for bestowing a particular name on any person show that the Hebrews attached great importance to the meanings of their names."

My own name, Felice, means happy. Thinking about the idea of  truth being my name/identity is interesting for me. Felice could be a seed mantra for me. It was my mother's intention for my life that I be happy, and every time I say it to another person or they say it to me, it can be a seed that is planted in my subconscious.

That's all I am going to say about this for now...I would love your thoughts.

Sat Nam.