Is Your Soul A Mature One?

The spiritual world is full of surprises particularly in relation to how our souls measure up to expectations. I must admit that it took me time to understand that there can be mature and immature souls. I am sure you have heard the expression of an “Old Soul” before? So like me at the beginning, you may also be wondering how an unseen entity, like a soul, can be considered mature or immature. However, it takes a critical personal examination to understand exactly what it means to be regarded as an old soul.

The spiritual journey is a long and complex one. It involves growing from one level to another during all your lifetime and most of the time it is replete with challenges. Along the way you must pose important questions to assess your progress and remain committed to your goals. Chief among the crucial questions you must ask yourself, what is it you really expect from life. The importance of this question cannot be overstated.

The moment you decide to ask yourself what your expectations in life are, the answer you receive will indicate how mature your soul is.

Before we go deeper into the issue of soul maturity, we need to emphasize that you must be honest in your answers. The problem with us as human being is that we have become so vain that we can lie to ourselves! We are used to lying all the time so much so that lying has become our second nature. However, the worst form of lying is to deceive yourself. This means that while you know your weaknesses, strengths and potential, you deny these facts and decide to live like other people. You must have heard that a lie can be told so many times that it begins to sound like a fact.

Who am I philosophical question

After all nobody is there to check whether you are right or not. Moreover, is not a matter for discussion. You also must bear in mind that you don’t have to publicise your answers. Similarly, you have always told people not to judge you because they have never lived your experience. Now you have the opportunity to be your own judge.

Now that we have settled the question of honesty, let us delve into the answers that you give when you ask yourself about your expectations in life as you seek to know whether your soul is mature. Your response to this important question has a direct correlation with the maturity of your soul. Human expectations are significant because they reveal what is in a person’s heart and why they live the way they do. I like to deviate by saying that if you want to know the essence of a person, ask them their expectations in life. One can only expect to achieve that which is tandem with their deeply-held beliefs.

Let us now compare and contrasts the maturity and immaturity of souls using the concept of human expectations. If you are the kind of person that has innumerable desires, aspirations and goals that you are keen to achieve, you are an immature soul. Wow! That definition categorises you as an immature soul already – right? By the way, it does not matter whether these desires are of a lower order, like power and money, or more complex ones like being more devoted to your spiritual life. In essence, as an immature soul, you are always striving to achieve what can be seen and felt. You obsess about becoming richer and famous. Success becomes your mantra.

In this regard, mature souls operate within timelines. The future holds a lot of significance for them. I am sure you cannot argue about this because you are always saying that you will achieve this or that in some days, weeks, months or years to come. Immature souls have to achieve certain material objectives at certain times and this is the driving force behind their thoughts and actions. They always feel that they are pressed for time since time is a limited resource. People with immature souls dedicate a lot of time to the achievement of material goals at the expense of spiritual ones.

However, do not imagine that an immature soul does not have spiritual objectives – it does, in some cases. The only difference is that those spiritual goals are supposed to be achieved today or in the present dispensation. The present is only a launching ground for achieving the pleasures of tomorrow. You may have met people whose only motive for helping others is because this will result in a better to qualify for a blissful afterlife. You probably know someone who lives well today simply because they want to escape future apocalyptic judgment. Their desires may seem to have a spiritual angle, but in real sense, if the possibility of damnation or future good was removed withdrawn, these people would be the worst crooks you have ever met.

Let us now turn our attention to mature souls. From the onset, you need to understand that a mature soul has ambitions and desires, but that does not becloud the need to embrace nobler ideals. This soul is closely linked to forms and shapes. If you have such a soul, you don’t just think about the present; you have the cosmic good at heart. You are not bound by what is seen but your eye is fixed on what the immature soul cannot see. You are conscious of your role as a catalyst for good in the world and not just a conduit for material gratification.

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Mature souls take cognisance of the fact that material achievement and satiation of physical needs is not the only objective in life. In fact, a mature soul feels empty and unhappy if its only success is linked with material needs. When you have an immature soul, you feel happiest when you are surrounded by wealth and success. To a mature soul, physical success does not even come close to defining the essence of life. Life has more meaning than parading your achievements before people. Soul maturity means transcending current definitions of prosperity and embracing a cosmic view of the interrelations between different elements that make up the universe. Being happy temporarily is the domain of the immature soul.

It is essential to realise that the old soul does not become ripe directly. No. A mature soul begins as an immature one. It experiences multiplicities of desires just like the immature one. The mature soul can attest, through experience, of the variability of life. It understands that the world has forms and shapes that are always in flux. Nothing in the material world lasts for long. The mature soul knows the futility of life and the apparent lack of sustainability. The immature soul also knows these things. However, the mature soul refuses to remain within the bounds of materialism and variability.

By leaving behind its finite desires and ambitions, the mature soul is willing to become poor. By poverty, I mean even material lack in order to achieve higher human good. In the spiritual world, sacrifice is very significant. The idea of denying oneself material possession to give cheer to another person is at the centre of every religion. Similarly, leaving behind one’s physical belongings to pursue spiritual good is a key dogma in many spiritual teachings. On the other hand, an immature souls is always seeking for more wealth, even when in human eyes, it has attained what it needs to live well. Even when an immature soul appears to embrace spirituality, the fact is that material desires are just suppressed and will soon arise. Religion and spirituality, as we observed before, are just conduits to material wealth.

The difference between maturity and immaturity of souls is found in the way the two express their egos. The goal of an immature soul is to satisfy the ego. Contrastively, the mature soul seeks to find the authentic center of life and to attain eternal happiness according to universal forms and shapes. The mature soul subjugates its desires and ceases to identify itself using the ego. It considers itself a formless Consciousness. The immature soul may want to attain higher levels of existence but only for personal gratification.

To change your soul form being immature to mature, learn to look at life from the real centre in a spiritual way. Your ideals must transcend the aspects of the conscious mind. You must live with people in a manner that does not accentuate the ego above everything else. Gradually, you will learn how to invite divine presence into your life even as you worry less about material sacrifices that you need to make.

Now you can tell whether your soul is mature or not. If you are immature (and many of us operate in this realm), remember it will take time to grow olds. Most importantly, learn to subjugate your ego to spiritual ideals if you want your soul to mature.

With love,

Your Grace Guru 

xxx

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5 Must Read Books That Will Change Your World!

The world moves by the wisdom of gurus and sages who lived years of yore. They may be no more but their words keep on inspiring generations. The best action that these people and those who lived during their time did, was to immortalise their words in books. Modern wisdom is also encapsulated in books. In essence, books contain knowledge and information that can transform the way you live.

The following five books will change your world in terms of your worldview and conduct:

  1. The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker

This book won the 1974 Pulitzer Price for non-fiction. Becker based his writings on the literature of Sigmund Freud, Soren Kierkegarrd and Otto Rank. Becker intends to inculcate reason in his readers. The title of the book encapsulates the thesis. We are so much afraid of death that we deny its existence.

To Becker, human beings are fearful, finite creatures who are nothing without another person affirming what the former believe. When we receive constant affirmation, we begin to understand who we really are. Having realised ourselves, we overcome our beliefs of insignificance. According to Becker, we set out on an immortality project; believing that we are inherent components of something that will last forever. He forces us to face reality and become heroes in a manner that infuses our lives with meaning and significance as opposed to living under the shadow of death.

  1. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche

One of the most provocative books ever written is Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. This famous German thinker considered this the best book in as far as capturing the facts that underlie the life of man. He believes that he has given the world a precious present that will bridge centuries of knowledge. Nietzsche attempts to turn the soul of man inside out. His rationale is that the soul can be transformed by accepting the ‘facts’ he is propagating.

He is bold enough to go against the grain and proclaim the death of God. This prose-poetry text is told by Zarathustra, the embodiment of Zoroaster, the Persian prophet. Nietzsche is of the idea that independence and the ability to overcome are hard to attain but without them, culture and individuals are vulnerable and in danger. Insecurity leads to conformist tendencies and people go to great length to preserve herd mentality.

  1. The Nature of the Soul, Bill Plotkin

This book by Bill Plotkin will help you to understand yourself as a human being. He opines that self-doubt is as dangerous as self-inflation. The challenge for every human being is to live up to their potentials and bravely bringing out the inimical talents that lie hidden within them. Here you will learn about the eight Eco-centric or Soul-centric phase of human development.

You will realise that all of us go through The Innocent in the Nest, The Explorer and in the Garden and The Thespian in the Oasis stages as part of initial human development. Find out also why many people fail to advance beyond these three phases and why such people never really become adults or authentic elders. Each of the other five stages has unique characteristics, but those who go through them successfully become better human beings.

  1. Finite and Infinite Games, James, P. Carse

In this book Carse opines that the only way for human beings to become free and have greater ability to achieve their dreams is to realise that they are limited, not by what they see, but by their ability to see. This writer presents a brilliant and incisive analysis of the human condition by subjecting human beings to game theory.

Here we find two opposing players– the Infinite versus the Finite Player. Opposition is defined by existing frontiers. Your life depends on how you view your boundaries. If you are a Finite Player, you always play inside frontiers and you don’t want to venture outside. On the other hand, Infinite players love to operate with boundaries. The former is after power while the latter plays using power. The Infinite Player continues within the game forever because this is the game of life.

  1. The Rebel, Albert Camus

If you have never appreciated rebels or the idea of going against the grain, you need to read this book. Camus appeared to have been writing an essay, but ended up creating a book. This writer creates a picture of a human being who has revolted against society. His work is based on the works of other eccentric scholars and writers such as Georg Wilhelm, Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky, to name a few.

Camus believes that people rebel when they realise that society is parochial and outdated in the execution of fairness. They would like to find meaning in their actions, but the world they look up to is meaningless. Camus, however, warns that the rebel is in danger of being carried away and failing to live by the real intentions of his or her revolt. Are you looking for revolutionary education? Read this book.

Happy Reading!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Yoga Can Heal Your Body!

Annually, millions of dollars are spent by people seeking medical assistance. But did you know that yoga can heal your body? It is ironical that one can go to all lengths to find treatment, while by engaging in this renowned form of medication or exercise, some illnesses can be obliterated from the body.

Before delving into the exact healing abilities of yoga, it is important to remember that a human being is a system that consists of the mind, soul and body. When you get sick, it is not only your body that is responsible for the illness. Much of what you consider sickness begins in your mind. Similarly, you can be healed much faster if your mind and soul exudes positive energy. When your mind is unsettled, you are likely to become sick.

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Yoga Poses – Asanas

Spirituality also plays a great role in healing. People who have a working relationship with the Supreme Being tend to have a higher propensity of overcoming illnesses than those who don’t have any spiritual leanings. When the body, mind and souls are working in tandem, you are in a more beneficial position to overcome illnesses than vice versa. Understanding this linkage is crucial to appreciating how yoga heals.

One of the ways in which yoga heals is through relaxing the body and mind. This relaxation is responsible for stabilising the heart rate. Those with hypertension know why it is important to lower the heart rate in managing the illness.

Moreover, yoga helps to heal back problems. As you pose during yoga, you become more flexible and strong and this takes off pressure from your back thus relieving pain that is associated with the back. This is especially important for people that spend most of their days arched behind office desks.

Recent studies also indicate that when you engage in sun salutations during meditation and when your perform dog poses you significantly reduce inflammations in your body. Inflammation is the primary reaction of the body to irritation and injury. Cardiovascular illnesses, arthritis and diabetes are all associated with inflammation. This is a problem that affects many cancer survivors thus making them feel fatigued for days after they have finished therapies. According to a study carried out in Norway among women who were recovering from breast cancer, participants experienced less fatigue and more vivacity three months following treatment as opposed to those who did not engage in yoga.

Studies also reveal that when you engage in about two hours of yoga (including postures, meditation and breathing works) there are positive influences in the body including genetic makeup. This happens because your PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells) are affected positively by yoga exercises. In essence, there is close relationship between yoga and the wellbeing of your blood and cells.

Closely related to positive changes in your blood flow is the boosting of the immune system. By now you know that your body has a natural mechanism for fighting infection called the immune system. When your immunity is strong, you ward off illnesses and vice versa. Engaging in yoga activities has been shown to boost your immunity because of the positive impact these exercises have on your cells.

Moreover, your digestive tract and other organs stand to gain a lot from yoga exercises. Like other forms of workouts, yoga enables movement of food within the digestive tract. Clogged food in the system is responsible for many stomach and digestive illnesses as well as headaches. When food moves efficiently in your body, other organs work optimally. The heart, liver, kidney and skin are able to flush put toxins or pump blood as the case may be and this results in a healthy disposition.

Yoga also promotes mental wellbeing by helping you to manage stress levels in your body. Stress is the cause of many health problems that we go through. There are many times when you go to see the doctor because you are feeling unwell but the real problem is actually in your mind. With the many problems you face on a daily basis as you try to make ends meet and as you interact with other people, stress is bound to affect you.

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Yoga brings tranquility to the mind. It brings you in touch with your inner self and Divine Power. When you engage in the breathing and movements of yoga, you begin to appreciate what life has given you and you face life with confidence. Every session brings in greater optimism. You view life positively. In the process, most of the illnesses you suffer dissipate because they were just happening in your mind. Hopefully you understand the placebo effect, which demonstrates the relationship between belief and actual happenings in your body.

The link between yoga and healing is just beginning to be verified through science. However, those who have practiced it over time have no doubt about the healing qualities of this ancient practice. From the look of things, more of these positive effects of yoga will continue to be discovered with time. For now, you have enough reasons to continue practicing yoga.

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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What Are Chakras?

In Sanskrit the word “Chakra” means a disk or wheel. Chakra basically refers to wheels of energy that are located in your body. Ayurveda and meditation hold that there are seven key chakras that are located between the spine’s base and the head’s crown. There is unseen but powerful energy, called Prana, within each Chakra that ensures you remain healthy, vibrant and alive.

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How Chakras Function

A Chakra is a collection of nerves and organs in addition to emotional, mental and spiritual states of existence. These wheels of energy must remain open since the body itself has constant movement of energy.

Keeping chakras open is premised on the idea that the body, mind and souls are interconnected. Consequently, you can easily tell when there is an imbalance in any of the chakras. If energy is blocked in any of the chakras, illnesses can result.

In an ideal situation, every chakra contributes to your health and life and your feelings, instincts and thoughts are all in tandem. Unfortunately, you are likely to have imbalances. For example some may be overactive to compensate for those that are not open enough (under active). The most important issue is for you to ensure that every chakra is operating optimally and that none is under-utilised or burdened.

Human energy body

Chakra EnergyWhat are Chakras? - Find out now with Grace Guru!

Taxonomy of the Chakras

The seven chakras are divided into three classes. The first three are called chakras of matter since they deal with physical issues. The fourth one denotes the link between spirit and matters. The last three are called the chakras of the spirit. Let us now delve into the seven chakras in details.

The root chakra (Muladhara): It is located at the base of the spine within the tailbone section. It represents stability and feeling that you are grounded. When this chakra is open, you will feel stable, grounded and secure. You will have more trust in people and situations. When this chakra is not active enough, you will feel nervous, fearful and unwelcome. When it is overactive, you will tend to be avaricious and materialistic.

The sacral chakra (Svadhisthana): It is located between the pubic bone and the navel in the lower abdomen. This chakra is concerned with sexuality, feelings, wellbeing and pleasure. If your sacral chakra is open you will be over-emotional and open to intimacy and passion. When it is under active, you will hate to express your emotions or open up to others. Over-activity in this chakra will make you emotionally attached to others and also sexual.

Navel chakra (Manipura): it is located between the navel and the breastbone. It relates to self-expression, control, self-esteem and self-worth. It makes you assertive when you are in a group. If your navel chakra is not adequately active, you are likely to be indecisive and passive. Conversely, when your navel chakra is overactive, you will be aggressive and domineering.

Heart chakra (Anahata): It is located at the centre of the heart and is the nexus between the lower chakras and the upper ones. It deals with affection, love and kindness. If your heart chakra is open, you tend to work in harmony with others. If it is under-active, you become distant and cold to others. When this chakra becomes overactive, you are imbued with love, although you may be motivated by selfish motives.

At this point it is important to state that if you open up the three physical chakras, it becomes easier to open up the last three spiritual chakras.

Throat chakra (Vishuddha): It is found within the throat area and relates to your ability to express yourself. When it is operating optimally you communicate openly. In an under-active situation, this chakra will be manifested through taciturnity, shyness and introversion. When the throat chakra is over-active, you are likely to speak too much, scare off others and become a bad listener.

Third eye chakra (Ajna): It is located in the forehead, particularly the area between the eyes. It involves visualization, intuition, wisdom, imagination and thinking. When it is fully open you are likely to fantasize and have a good intuition. When it is not performing optimally you may rely on others to think for you, be rigid in thinking and over-rely on dogmas. If it is overactive, you will over-fantasize and even hallucinate.

Crown chakra (Sahaswara): The crown of your head is the seat of this chakra, which deals with spiritual connection, spirituality, enlightenment and the Higher Being. When it is open, you tend to be unbiased and at home with yourself and the universe. If this chakra is under-active, you are likely to be unaware of spirituality and obstinate in thinking. If you begin to view everything from an intellectual point of view, become too spiritual or neglect your bodily requirements, your crown chakra is overactive.

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Key Issues to Remember!

1. Chakras operate based on the fact that you have a soul, a body and a mind and each of them depends on the others for optimal functioning.

2. An open chakra operates optimally and performs the roles assigned to it without burdening other chakras or taking over the latters’ tasks.

3. While you may want your chakras to be open at all times the fact is that some will be under-active while others will bear the burden and over-perform.

4. It is your responsibility to detect which chakra is blocked and to restore it to normalcy as soon as possible.

5. You need to be aware of your chakras and their balance in order to open them up when they get clogged.

6. But detecting imbalances is not easy since your body is always undergoing change. This does not mean, though, that balancing is impossible.

7. Instead of attempting to make overactive chakras less active, unblock the under active ones so that they carry their own loads and unburden the overactive ones.

8. Health complications are very crucial in determining where there is a blockage. For example, if you experience headaches often, there is a problem with your crown chakra.

9. The lower chakras deal with instincts while the upper ones deal with your thinking abilities but they are all interrelated.

10.  Deal decisively with negative feelings because they contribute to blockage by preventing chakras from spinning, thus causing illnesses.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Our Recommended Inspirational Feel-Good Summer Books!

Summer is getting to an end it this is your last chance to select few more books before the last holiday ends and everybody is back in to the September rush! Also I love summer especially because it arouses in me some form of curiosity and creativity. Perhaps it is because of the warmth and the small but loud voice that urges me to go out and bask in the rays of the sun. More importantly, summer puts me in the mood for reading.

I want to share with you some of the books that I believe you should read this summer. But before I do so, allow me to underline that reading is not a waste of time. I am not talking about reading for an examination or any academic course for that matter. I mean reading for the sake of getting knowledge, acquiring some skills or imply enjoying a story. Reading imparts knowledge, relaxes the mind, reduces stress and puts you in the mood for sleep and some very nice dreams!

This summer, I don’t want you to read only conventional texts. I want you to try different authors. Further, endeavour to read on a range of topics and genres. I know romance novels are exciting, but it is important to try a classic or autobiography for a change. Without further ado, here is my recommenced list for summer reading.

1. Happiness 365: One-a-Day Inspirational Quotes for a Happy YOU! – Chopra and Harry

This is a unique motivational book that gives you a quote to inspire you every day. Life is not always straight. There will be days of gloom and others full of happiness. Sometimes you will feel like giving up especially if you don’t have people near you to cheer you up. This book will ensure you have some uplifting nugget of wisdom to ponder as you go through your daily struggles. Chopra and Harry had you in mind when they created this wonderful text.

There are people who read more than one quote. They simply cannot wait for the following day. The most important thing is that you have something to cheer you up every day. You can begin reading this book at any time because every day has its portion. If you begin this summer, you will have a quote for each day until next summer. Happiness 365 will help you to inculcate the habit of reading. Irrespective of your age, this book will make your summer enjoyable.

2. Autobiography: The Story Of My Experiments With The Truth – M. K. Ghandi

As we depart from the norm in summer reading, I want you to read this autobiography. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is one of the most exceptional people that ever lived. He was an Indian freedom fighter who advocated for non-violent means of freeing India from British colonialism. He became the first Prime Minister of India. In this book you will read about his early life, studies, experience of fighting for freedom and the dreams he had for his country.

An autobiography is crucial to any keen reader because it allows one to interact with the author’s life and to learn important lessons for life. Gandhi is one of the most quoted people and authors you will ever come across. His experiences in different continents and interactions with people of all races place him among the greatest people who ever lived. Instead of living in your own narrow world, read the extraordinary story of this great lawyer, author, politician and leader and gain lessons that you can apply to your life this summer.

  1. Communication Skills: Communication Skills Made Easy! Talk to Anyone with Confidence, Influence People, Master your Conversations! – David Cross

My summer reading list contains more surprises. Have you ever wondered whether you are a good communicator? Many of us assume we are, but we are far from being people who can use communication effectively. As you relax this summer, read this book to improve your communication skills. David Cross’ book is appropriate for an individual as well as a professional who wants to improve their people skills.

There is much that you can accomplish with excellent communication skills and this book will equip you or help you to sharpen skills you already have. You will learn how to appreciate yourself and your communication behavior. This book will teach you how to craft the best communication for the appropriate moment. If you are a person who is often involved in persuasive communication, here is the right text to help you influence people. If you have problems speaking to many people at once, this book will equip you with public speaking skills.

  1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple

Next in line is a novel. A well-told narrative with twists and turns will cheer you up and rev up your imagination this summer. This story revolves around Bernadette Fox and her daughter Bee. The mother is quirky and notorious. She means different things to different people. Although her husband is a techie, she claims to know more about life than him. Her fellow parents at school consider her a disgrace. She is adored by her fashion crazy friends. But to her eleven-year-old daughter, she is everything; a heroine, friend and most of all, a loving mother.

The story becomes interesting when Bernadette disappears and Bee has to create some kind of a description or history of her mother in order to find her. Apparently, Bernadette did not like Seattle and decided to travel. This novel details the efforts of a daughter to find her mother despite all the odds. It illustrates the close relationship between the two. This is not a novel you will want to put down before you reach the end.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird – Happer Lee

The next book on our summer list is a classic novel. There is something that modern writing misses and can borrow from classic writings. You may have read this text in a literature class during the course of your studies. If you did, relive the moments, this time without the agony of knowing there is an exam waiting for you. If you have never come across this text, prepare yourself for a gripping narrative that explores race relations and chides society for being hypocritical about race.

The novel is set in the Deep South during the 1930s. A black man (symbolized by the Mocking Bird) is on trial for allegedly raping a young white girl. The narrator is a child and this allows readers to explore how race, class and justice interact when a black man is on trial during an era when racism was prevalent. There is reason why this novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature and why the narrative was turned into a film. Read it this summer to find out.

6. The Absolute Best Dump Cake Cookbook: More Than 60 Tasty Dump Cakes – Rockridge Press

This is another surprise inclusion on our summer reading list. It is important to learn a new skill or improve the one you have this summer, thus a cookery book. I know cookery is gradually becoming a rare art since people prefer to eat ready-made food, especially fast food. Dump Cakes are the easiest type of cakes for anyone to make. They don’t require a lot of expertise yet those who eat them will praise you for your skill!

This is an award winning book having been declared a best seller on USA Today, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. The recipes are simple and you can use locally available ingredients to make a delicious and nutritious dump cake. Learn how to spice up dessert with 56 exceptional recipes. For those who like eating healthy snacks, don’t worry because this book will teach you how to bake a cake and enjoy it without feeling guilty! This is a skill you must learn this summer.

7. Why Didn’t They Teach Me This at School? 99 Personal Money Management Principles to Live By – Cary Siegel

This summer you are likely to spend a lot of money as you travel to different places to rejuvenate your body during vacation. This will definitely put a hole in your pockets. The reason why you are broke every time summer ends is best known to you. Here is a book that will ensure that this summer is the last one when you will complain of being broke after enjoying the sun and sand.

Why do they make math and English compulsory in school, yet the problems we face in most cases after school have to do with poor management of money? Read this book to understand 99 lessons on personal money management that will transform the way you view and handle your finances. These are lessons that no school will teach you – not even an MBA syllabus has such content. These are practical lessons from Siegel, meant for his children, but now availed to you to transform your financial life.

8. The Power Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

The last item in our summer reading list is a book that will help you to come to grips with your day-to-day life. Habits are very powerful and unless we understand and control them, we will end up being unproductive. Unlike other comparable texts, this author does not simply lecture you on habits, but gives you the scientific background behind them. The examples and illustrations used in this text are derived from real workplaces and instances of human interaction.

The author is emphatic that whatever you want to achieve in your life boils down to habits. Whether you want to lose weight or become more efficient in what you do, you need to understand the science of habits. This text is intended to make you better in whatever you do, whether you are alone or with friends and society at large. As you count down to another year until the next summer, it is time to adopt good habits and drop the ones that pull you down.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Secrets For A Younger You!

From time immemorial, we have been taught to believe that ageing is inevitable. We naturally expect to grow older, frail and eventually succumb to death. History and experience also bear witness to this fact. After all, aren’t we witnessing our elderly folks going through the same process?

It is for this reason that many people are pleasantly shocked when they hear that the aging process can be decelerated and that human beings can grow younger! Did you know that your body is actually a field of energy and intelligence? Are you aware that your body and mind are closely connected and that you age because your mind believes you must age?

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This implies that you begin to lose your physical and mental abilities with the passage of years largely because you have conditioned your mind to believe that this must happen! Since your mind influences your body cells, the ageing process can be reversed, accelerated or slowed down.

You may be asking, “Isn’t ageing genetic?” Yes it is a factor, but it is not the key determinant. The ageing process and your health are not predetermined. You can choose to behave in such a manner that your body is transformed to beat the biological clock. Here’s how:

  1. Begin by Changing your Attitude

Humans are fond of underestimating the power of the mind. You need to stop viewing your body as a preconditioned machine that must eventually succumb to biological wear and tear. Shift your mind to seeing yourself as a field of energy that continues to transform itself and has renewable intelligence. Begin to make positive affirmations about your body and ageing. Stop glorifying ageing and other inherited weaknesses and focus on living for many more years to come.

Positive Thinking is my Lifestyle! - Grace Guru

  1. Deal with Stress Effectively

Stress is inevitable considering the struggles we go through life and the fact that we have to deal with people who do not necessarily share our points of view. Remember stress accelerates the ageing process. It is, therefore, imperative that you reduce stress in your life if you are to grow younger. One of the best strategies to do this is to meditate. During meditation, your body and mind relax, you breathe more slowly, the heartbeat slows down and the hormones that control stress also relax.

  1. Get Adequate Sleep

You age faster when you fail to sleep adequately. If you are not getting between six and eight hours of restful sleep every day, then you are not doing your body any favour. This habit also weakens you immunity and disrupts you body’s internal balance. The best indicator that you slept restfully is to be energetic when you wake up. To arrive at this ideal, ensure you take a light meal before 7:30 pm and then sleep by 10.00 pm.

  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating fresh food or that which is freshly prepared is a strategy for curbing ageing. You also need to eat a balanced diet and ensure it includes foods that are pungent, astringent and bitter, in addition to the common salty, sweet and sour ones. Do not forget to make your food colourful by including foods that have antioxidants. I am suggesting that you eat lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes like mustard, spinach, peppers, lentils, tea, lettuce, radishes and ginger.

  1. Work Out Regularly

It is impossible to discuss strategies for growing younger without considering exercise. When you work out, your biological processes are invigorated and you begin to have brain cells that are close to one another. Your mind is rejuvenated and your emotional health is boosted. To this end, endeavour to engage in cardio, aerobics and strength training with the help of a fitness trainer. A cheaper but equally effective strategy is to jog and stretch out regularly.

  1. Invest in the Social Sphere

You can grow younger by surrounding yourself with love and affection. Research has shown that people who are lonely and isolated are more prone to heart and mental illnesses than those who have constant company of loved ones. I am not talking about old people homes but a real family that offers love and support to its members. Create emotional bonds and invest in them instead of spending the entire day watching television.

  1. Learn from Children and Imitate them

To grow younger, you need to be childlike. Remember when you used to be carefree and would laugh and play knowing everything was fine? I know today you are conditioned to believe that that was foolish behaviour. The truth is that a childlike disposition is essential for reversing or controlling ageing. Get time to relive those childhood days by engaging in some of the games you used to play. You will be surprised at how fast youth will flood back.

Don’t Forget:

  1. It is possible to become young if you engage in deliberate activities that change your thinking and body processes.
  2. Ageing is not mandatory; we are conditioned to believe that we must grow old and eventually die.
  3. You have a right to live for as long as you like and this is what some people discovered a long time ago and we keep honouring them with Guinness World Records.
  4. You cannot grow younger unless you begin to eat fresh food and freshly cooked meals instead of junk food.
  5. You may have heard that rich people sleep less hours every day. Why should you sleep less, get more money and eventually have a shorter time to enjoy what you work for?
  6. Stress is inevitable but it can greatly enhance ageing unless you control it through meditation and other effective techniques.
  7. Your attitude is paramount in the quest to grow younger. Whatever you believe influences ageing. Believe you are a field of energy that renews itself every day and it will be so.
  8. Stop being a hermit and surround yourself with people. Love and affection are essential ingredients for growing younger.
  9. Control your emotions and learn to forgive and forget. Didn’t you hear that holding a grudge against someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die?
  10. Get out, stretch your limbs and body and sweat profusely. You cannot grow younger without regular exercise.

 With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Inspiring Maty Ezraty Reveals Her Latter’s Approach To Ashtanga

Practicing yoga is not always easy, as most of us who have tried it will know. During a session with my yoga teacher Karina Scherbina last week, I struggled to keep my balance in the mountain pose “Utthita Hasta Padangustasana”, so she sent me a link to a very interesting and inspiring YouTube interview to calm me down and give me some guidance ;)!

In it, anatomy master Stu Girling speaks to Maty Ezraty about her approach to Ashtanga. Maty is truly inspiring and first I would really like to share her share a bit about her background!

 Who is Maty Ezraty? And what does she stand for?

Maty is an iconic figure, instrumental to the development of yoga in the United States. She is described by the Yoga Journal as an “innovator”.

She was an experienced dancer when she stumbled across yoga in her early twenties. Like all of us, she was also searching for meaning in her life. She found what she was looking for in yoga: peace of mind, a great feeling of being centred and confidence.

Maty developed and reached her full potential as a yoga teacher with a dynamic style, a sharp eye for observation and vast knowledge born through years of experience.

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Being in Los Angeles gave her the chance to train with and learn from the top three best yoga educators at the time: Donna Holleman, Pattabhi Jois, and Gabriella Giubilaro.  In 1985, while teaching and serving as director for the Center for Yoga in Los Angeles, Maty met Pattabhi Jois with whom she would embark on a long journey of learning and practice. This included many trips to Mysore, India, where she became one of the few women able to complete some of the more advanced yoga sequences.

She continued studying in at the Iyengar Institute in Pune India and attended the classes of Greeta Iyengar. The Iyengar system is known to have deeply influenced Maty as shown in her teaching and practice.

The year 1987 was a milestone year for Maty as she opened her own Yoga Works, a unique school of yoga that nurtured diversity and dialogue in the community of yoga. It offered classes for different kinds of yoga such as Iyengar and Ashtanga plus workshops involving many of the best yoga authorities and iconic figures worldwide.

Her purpose was to  make the curriculum consistent, while at the same time mixing the various elements from different traditions.

Classes were broken down into levels and used the Vinyasa concept of Ashtanga, coupled with the precise directions of the Iyengar system.

Yoga Works is a success story that grew into a progressive yoga school with 120 classes each week with more than 700 daily students. Although it was sold in 2004, it remains to be the leader of the pack, perhaps due in part to its reputation of having produced some of the best yoga instructors in the United States.

Currently, Maty conducts workshops, teacher trainings, and retreats around the globe. She is also studying Vipassana meditation and has studied with Joseph Goldstein at California’s Spirit Rock and Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts. Her years of learning the Ashtanga and Iyengar traditions have resulted in a holistic and unique point of view. She is highly regarded as a teacher’s teacher, and is popular for having a style that is determined but yet joyful and engaging. She continues her purpose and draws inspiration from her years of experience, Maty has a whole-hearted devotion to impart the spirit of yoga and meditation to all of her students.

A Quick Description

Iyengar Yoga:

Named after B. K. S. Iyengar and developed, is a form of Hatha Yoga. It has a great attention to detail, precision and alignment in the performance of posture (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The development of strength, mobility and stability is gained through the asanas. Iyengar yoga has 200 classical yoga poses and 14 different types of Pranayama with the variations from the basic to advanced. It is very helpful for students to build up their strength step by step and develop their mind, body and spirit, from beginners to advanced.

Ashtanga Yoga:

A system of yoga recorded by the knowing Vamana Rishi in the Yoga Korunta, an ancient manuscript “said to contain lists of many different groupings of asanas, as well as highly original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras, and philosophy” (Jois 2002 xv). It was summariesed and popularized by K. Pattabhi Jois and is often promoted as a modern-day form of classical Indian yoga. (Sanskrit for “eight-limbed”) Yoga.

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 None Is Superior To The Other

Maty does not believe that Iyengar or Ashtanga is superior to the other because both are Yoga. Granted, each has an approach that is different from the other and their objectives are different. However, they are not in conflict and none is better than the other. Ezraty chooses which one applies to her at a specific time.

The Essence of Iyengar

According to Ezraty, Iyengar emphasizes precision, details and alignment when performing asana and controlling breathing since this is the best way to develop mobility, stability and strength. Iyengar also allows for props like pillows and benches to be used for support during the initial learning stages.

Avoiding Fundamentalism

Ezraty asserts that we must avoid fundamentalism – believing that our way is the best and the rest are wrong. Flow is a state of mind and revolves around concentration, which can be attained at any time while performing any task and focusing.

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Ashtanga Depends On The State Of The Practitioner

On Ashtanga, Maty advocates for no particular approach and rather suggests that one should adopt the approach that best applies to them instead of forcing themselves to do what is not possible within their ages. Yoga requires flexibility and satisfaction, not rigidity. The state of the student determines which approach to use. Yoga is a therapeutic practice and depends on what the student is feeling or has experienced. Ashtanga tends to be a little bit masculine and women should not attempt to compete with men. Men should also learn to be a bit softer.

Not Coercion

Maty opines that Shri Pattabhi Jois also adapted Ashtanga for students. Although this approach to Yoga was meant for internal healing, he did not force anybody to engage in a sequence. Sequences would be developed to fit into current practices. On Vipasaana and meditation techniques, Maty urges people to let go of the technique and engage in open meditation. She says you should go with the moment unless you get lost and return to what you are taught to do.

Indian VS. Western Minds

Iyengar helps to know the right body techniques. He taught a lot of westerners to practice yoga. He observed that the Indian mind is different from the west. Indians are more confident of themselves. Westerners are critical of themselves. They hate themselves and feel unworthy. Iyengar wanted to help westerners find solutions to such problems through Yoga.

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A Yoga Diehard

Maty Ezraty comes across as an enlightened person on matters of Yoga and one who advocates for continuous learning. Apparently, Yoga is a flexible art. All you need to do is listen to your body with an open heart and mind. In the final analysis, Maty is deeply ingrained in Yoga to the point of being sensitive and wise about it.

If you want to see the interview in full, here it is! Enjoy!

With Love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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Are Our Minds Connected!?

We live in a world that we know very little about. How dare I say that? Haven’t we landed on the moon and discovered many other planets and heavenly bodies? We know virtually every animal species including those in the depths of the sea. The human body has been examined and described in almost all its aspect? What we know about our world is sufficient enough and I have no business belittling those achievements.

I will apologise, just to ensure you don’t stop reading this article because I have a surprise in store for you. Almost all the wonderful discoveries we have made as humans over the years have been in the realm of the visible and tangible. But is that all there is in this world? Our obsession with science and its marvels blinds us to the fact that there are truths that cannot be verified through empirical means.

Thinking About Thinking

Think about your thoughts! Now you will say I am engaging in tautology. Scientists can measure frequencies of our brains but cannot tell exactly what we are thinking. Don’t forget that all the discoveries humanity has arrived at were made using the mind, yet no scientific method has been developed to detect exactly what you are thinking.

Before we delve deeper into the issue of thoughts, let us take another example of how we cannot explain some things which we believe. I know avowed atheistic scientists who invest a lot of their time and resources to love and romance. But you guessed it right; they never doubt the power of love though they cannot see it. In essence, there is still much that human beings need to know that they cannot verify through scientific means.

Is it Just Coincidence?

Now let us go back to thinking about thoughts. Have you ever wanted to say something and said it at the same time with someone else even if you did not plan to do it. Coincidence, you say. How about that article or poem you wanted to write and someone else did the same thing at the same time? Coincidence too? Although this may sound ridiculous I want you to know these are not coincidences, but just confirmation that our minds are connected.

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Of Signals and Cable Boxes

I would like to think of this interconnection of thoughts like signals from a cable box that a television set receives. If you tune your TV to a certain channel and I do the same with mine, we will receive the same news, right? In our case, it implies that consciousness dwells beyond the brain. It is possible that the universe contains thoughts that people can receive at the same time. What we call coincidence is, therefore, an interaction of the same thought fields in the minds of two or more people at the same time.

In scientific language, we call this ‘multiple effects’ phenomenon. This happens when several people, who are physically isolated from one another, arrive at the same discovery at the same time. These people do not know who the others are. They have not interacted or shared their thoughts, but their minds work as if they are linked with the same cord. And there is history and proof to back up these ‘strange’ happenings.

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Vital Examples

Did you know that Newton and Leibniz came up with calculus at the same time without having known one another? Darwin was not the only person to have known and shared with the world the theory of evolution; Wallace did it at the around the same time. You still believe that was coincidental? Are you aware that three people, geographically isolated, came up with the important decimal fraction concept? The steamboat, telescope and thermometer were developed simultaneously by 4, 9 and 6 people respectively.

There are many more examples but suffice it to know that sound film, jet engine and endorphins were all discovered or developed at the same time by different individuals working from different locations. While some of these discoveries happened around the same season or month, there are those that took place on the same day!

No Internet and Modern Communication

Remember most of these happenings occurred at a time when there was not internet or mobile communication. And you still want me to buy into your simplistic ‘coincidence’ explanation? No, please! How do you explain a number of individuals, busy working on the same problem and arriving at the same discovery or conclusion yet they have never heard of one another?

That is why I sometimes marvel when scientists attribute everything to empirical reasons, without bothering to investigate the story behind the people who came up with marvels of science.

The Pyramids in Three Continents

If you think only scientific discoveries are subject to the ‘multiple effects’ phenomenon, sit back and ponder the following. I know you are aware of the famous pyramids of Egypt, but did you know that similar structures were constructed in Mexico and Indonesia before the modern era? Please tell me it was coincidence or the internet was somehow in use during that time!

Connected Minds

The only explanation for this is that our minds are connected through frequencies from the universe. Our consciousness affects the rest of the animate and inanimate objects through energetic rays. We receive and share information with the Mind Field and when such information is picked up by others, we begin to think and work on the same things irrespective of where we are on earth.

When you begin to work on a crossword puzzle or riddle, you get faster and better results because you are tapping into the pool of answers that those before you have found and sent into the universal mind and consciousness.

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In essence, everything happens at the right time. Nothing is coincidental. We are tapping into one Mind Field even as we grapple with the same challenges regardless of our physical locations. Since our minds are connected to the same pool of information, we tend to say or do things at the same time with other people who are on the same thought frequency with us.

Well, as I began by saying, there is still a lot that we don’t know about the world, especially issues that are not amenable to empirical inquiry.

With love,

Grace Guru

xxx

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Can God Hear Our Prayers?

Billions of people on earth pay homage to one Supreme Being or the other. This devotion to the unseen is manifested both at individual and collective levels. Think about the temples, churches, shrines and different manifestations of religion that you see in your locality and you will understand how serious of an issue religion and belief are…

One of the main tenets of religion is that there is a god or God who hears prayers. In other words, adherents of different religions believe they can create a personal connection with God, present their supplications and expects results. Come to think of it, if there were no God who answered our prayers, how many people would still be religious?

Coming To Grips With Prayers…

But it is important to ask, “Does God answer prayers?” If you answered yes, does he or she exercise selective answering to prayers depending on the person? Sometimes one cannot avoid perceiving God as the benefactor behind a phone line which worshippers use to make requests. He picks some calls but ignores others. He grants some requests but declines others.

What Actually Happens When You Pray?

You retreat to some quiet and solitary place and send a prayer to God. Then you enumerate your needs to God and hope he will consider your request. But how many of these prayers are answered? Perhaps only 10% of those who pray receive the things they asked for. In essence, either God does not listen to some people or, you, the believer has some problem.

Let’s face it; you know that your prayers are not always being answered. But I know that even the most irreligious of us still find themselves disadvantaged and offering a prayer to some Supreme Being somewhere. Why does this happen?

The Philosophy Behind Praying

Depending on the religious beliefs you subscribe to you have a certain image in mind of how God looks like. Is he a loving parent siting behind a throne and lovingly dolling out gifts to those who pray to him? What exactly is your image of God? Are you aware that the beliefs in your community and your experiences are the ones that shape your image of God? If God’s omnipresence is to be believed then you don’t need a line to talk to God because he is there with you all the time. In his greatness he should have all that you need to live a better life.

The truth is that there is no single universal definition of God. Neither do people have to believe the same way and practice the same doctrine because God is invisible. Nobody has seen him to be able to give an exact image of him. But people believe that God exists and he hears their prayers. Moreover, whether the prayers are heard and answered depends on you and your experiences.

Motives And Desires 

Let us take a look at Indian tradition and spirituality. It explores the origin of desires since prayers are fundamentally voiced desires. But it is not a simple desire like you wanting to eat chocolate. Prayer is not like reaching out for a bottle of wine. This is a situation in which whatever you desire is not within your reach. The reason people ask God for assistance is because they cannot achieve it through their own human power.

At this point the wise of men of India came up with a different notion. They suggested that your common desires may not after all be different from the prayers you offer to God. Now do you still believe in the idea of a direct line to the Supreme Being? They went further and suggested that the link between ordinary desire and prayer is the fact that you are conscious when you make them.

Consequently, you can only understand prayer on the context of consciousness. This is how it works. When you desire to eat a chocolate bar your mind and reality are interconnected because you want intention to become reality. But what happens when you pray that there will be no earthquake in your area and it happens?

Vedic Rishi’s Explanation

All this can be explained through the three elements that characterise all intentions and thought: the depth of the source of the intention in the mind (Samadhi), the steadiness of the focus (Dharana) and the fluidity of your intention (Dhyana). The amalgamation of the three aspects results in Samyama, a complete mechanism. Whether your intention is successful or not depends on how effectively you use your awareness and not the prayer you send to a god who is likely not listening to you.

Samyama implies bonding the three elements, and your intentions are most potent when there is unity. It implies that you are conscious, following increased awareness, and can influence the world that surrounds you. Samyama implies that your intention is unified and the mind is focused although it is still malleable.

Answered VS. Unanswered Prayers

From the above explanation, it is obvious that when your prayers are not answered, your mind must have been shallow, restless, out of focus and in conflict. You and I often suffer from such conditions of the mind. When your prayers are answered, it implies that you have holistic clarity and this is achieved momentarily. At such moments intentions meets reality in uninhibited conditions.

Samyama may be presented in yoga is a lofty achievement, but we can conclude with certainty that in the context of daily consciousness, the same law is at work. Life itself is the process of realising your intentions.
Appreciating and practicing and this mechanism means that you can use meditation or other strategies to ensure the three aspects are working in tandem. You may not achieve the same outcome with each strategy but you will have a better experience with prayers and connection with God. For example, if you believe and pray with focused mind and the intention from your soul (mind and soul have to be in the same agreement), a prayer will be answered or you can get strength to live another day, because you have hope.

Points To Bare In Mind:

1.The concepts of a hearing God are as personal as is the belief in God itself. What works for you may not work for the other person.

2.Your ideas about God and prayer are not wrong even when they differ with those of other people you know.

3. Almost everybody believes in a Supreme Being that answers prayers. The approach may differ but the feeling that there is a powerful being out there is mutual.

4. When exploring the concept of a hearing God, you cannot escape the question of apparent selective answering of prayers.

5. Your experience with prayer will prove that not all prayers are answered thus leaving you with more questions than answers as to what exactly happens when you pray.

6. One way to think about prayer is to see it as the expression of a desire in which case answered prayers means that the intention has met with reality.

7. However, prayer is a more powerful intention that mundane ones because the former can only be fulfilled through divine help while you can easily meet the latter.

8. In Indian spiritual teachings all intentions are the same (including prayer) because all of them are moderated by consciousness.

9. All intentions have three elements that are summed up in the word Samyama, which implies there is a unity of purpose in your intention.

10. Prayers are answered when Samyama is clear in your prayers and this happens in exceptional moments, whether or not a Supreme Being is involved.

With love,

Your Grace Guru

xxx

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