On Spirituality – Manly P. Hall

In our daily manifestation we are constantly in the presence of energies, but we take them for granted. We never question how it is that we can raise a finger, use a typewriter, or play a musical instrument. We see nothing mysterious about taking a walk, talking with our friends, or performing various arduous tasks in the name of health. The mystery behind the commonplace is something we do not understand but use constantly with little inquiry into our own nature. We have never questioned the process by which we are alive because we more or less take for granted that the questions cannot be answered and that whatever lies behind us is a mystery. Science has never undertaken to explore it. Philosophy has never been able to create a completely comprehensible exposition of principles, and religion deals in such abstract vagaries that we are not sure what part is true and what part is imaginary. But some have questioned and from the questioning developed various concepts by means of which it might be possible for us to explore this unknown world of causes.

Man specializes with his own mind, and whatever most occupies his mind is most supported by his resources. Persons interested in making a living devote their energies to this task, only occasionally taking time for meditation or reflection. It would seem, therefore, that there must be a motion, a process within our own thinking through which we can create the instrument for self-exploration. There must be some way of turning the mind from external addictions to the examination of internals. Most persons have never attempted to do this, and most do not even believe it possible. But there must be some way to use our faculties to discover ourselves, rather than using them constantly to buildup our store of knowledge about externals which, in the last analysis, are of very little basic importance to ourselves. To be given the equipment that we possess, only to use it for a few years, and then have both ourselves and our equipment fade away, seems to be contrary to the economy of nature. It would appear more reasonable that we have not yet attained to that degree of evolution which will enable us to develop the faculties of self-examination. They must lurk somewhere in our extrasensory perception band, and if we cannot find them, we will never know ourselves nor actually experience our true place in the universe or in the universal plan for ourselves.

It was first assumed that before we could penetrate the illusion of matter, we had to turn our attention away from matter, that to free our inner equipment for its apperceptive function, we had to relieve it of the burden of its continuous perceptive function, for every sensory perception that we possess is held in fascination in the world of phenomena. It is not so likely that we will be able to disentangle our functional resources and turn them in another direction. In order to explore causes, we must break the tie which forces us to continually use our energies as an out-flowing toward externals. This is accomplished through a series of experiences in which we come to understand by degrees the unity of this life principle in ourselves. To the degree we understand life, we participate in it, and we are closer to enlightenment when we are tied to reality by bonds of intense sympathy. If our dedications are towards enlightenment, we have a greater probability of attaining it than when our dedications are turned to other things and enlightenment is merely an avocational interest.

To attempt this it is necessary to reverse the involutionary process which ties energy to matter, and set up an evolutionary process within ourselves. Involution is the breaking up of one life into many manifestations. Evolution is the restoration of unity, the bringing back of diversity until oneness is re-established. Illusion is diversity. Reality is unity. To quiet down the experiences of diversity, to gradually bring separate things together, to search for unities where we have accepted diversities, to seek forever the one in the many and to discover finally the one behind the many – these are the labors of spiritual evolution. We begin symbolically by seeking the common ground of things and, in so doing, overcome forever the antagonisms and the conflicts which arise from our inability to perceive the identities of life.

~Excerpted from Manly P Hall Lecture #193 – “The Mystical Experience Union with The External Self.”

Amanda Foulger

Amanda“Shamanism is an ancient system for healing, well-being, guidance and growth using human abilities of body,mind and spirit. Today practicing shamans work in culturally specific indigenous systems as well as in the non-denominational core shamanic practices and methods of contemporary life. As a form of spiritual practice core shamanism connects us to a multi-dimensional network of spiritual support to assist with the many conditions, questions and problems of human life.

I am a Foundation for Shamanic Studies Faculty Member, and for the past 20 years I’ve created and taught original theme-based shamanic workshops. I also give presentations on contemporary core shamanic practice sponsored by organizations such as the Los Angeles Jung Institute, the Yo San University of Oriental Medicine and the San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council. Additionally, I have participated in special conferences and educational programs at U.C.L.A., the Esalen Institute Work Scholars Program, Churches of Religious Science and Unitarian congregations as well as The Mensa Society. I work with private clients and have regular referrals from psychotherapists, certified acupuncturists, chiropractors, ministers and other health care providers for shamanic counseling, training and healing services.”

The Mind-Body Aspects Of Yoga & Breast Cancer

The mind-body aspects of yoga specifically could carry benefits for women undergoing breast cancer treatment, according to a small new study.

The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, shows that women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer who were enrolled in a yoga intervention (that included meditation, relaxation and breathing techniques) experienced improved stress hormone regulation, decreased fatigue and improved general health.

“Combining mind and body practices that are part of yoga clearly have tremendous potential to help patients manage the psychosocial and physical difficulties associated with treatment and life after cancer, beyond the benefits of simple stretching,” study researcher Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, said in a statement.

The study included 191 women with breast cancer of varying stages, who were randomly assigned to one of three groups as they underwent their radiation treatment for six weeks. One group did simple stretching, the second group did yoga, and the third group did no yoga or stretching. The yoga and stretching groups did their assigned activity for one hour, three times a week.

The participants self-reported their fatigue and depression levels throughout the intervention, and researchers also collected saliva samples and administered echocardiogram tests at the beginning of the study, at the end of the radiation treatment, and then one, three and six months after the radiation treatment had ended.

They found that overall, the participants who were assigned to the yoga group experienced the greatest gains in all measurements of health. Specifically, the yoga group had the greatest decreases in cortisol levels throughout the day. And after radiation treatment, the yoga and stretching groups experienced decreases in fatigue, compared with the control group. Months after the radiation treatment, the yoga group self-reported higher general health, and were also more likely than the other two groups to say that they found some kind of meaning of life from their cancer experience.

Previous research has indicated that yoga could decrease inflammation and fatigue among breast cancer survivors. One study showing this effect, published in the same journal as the new study, posited that the beneficial effects could come from yoga’s ability to improve sleep.

Johnny Kest – Yoga Teacher – Hatha

Jonny KestJonny Kest, one of the world’s foremost practitioners, came to yoga at an early age. When he was 12, his father suffered from debilitating back problems. After undergoing four unsuccessful back surgeries he was forced to go on disability. As fate would have it, a friend of his suggested he try yoga. The results were so dramatic he introduced his whole family to the practice, even going so far as to take them to India. Taking three months off from his junior year of high school, Jonny studied yoga and meditation with his father’s teacher’s teacher, the venerable Pattabhi Jois.

When he returned, his gym coach suggested he share his experience with the class. And so it was that Jonny began teaching yoga once a week to his fellow classmates and hasn’t stopped teaching since. Today, many of his students are international yoga teachers throughout the world. Life Time is privileged to give him the opportunity to introduce his unique style of yoga to millions of members around the country.

Shakta Kaur – Yoga Teacher

shakta kaurShakta Kaur is a Levl 1 Lead Trainer and Breathwalk Instructor Trainer. From 2004 to 2008 Shakta represented KRI on the Yoga Alliance Board of Directos as Board Chair and Interim CEO. She combines her 30 years experience in the business world, along with her passion for the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, in serving the U.S. and Canadian 3HO communities.


Sally Kempton – Yoga Teacher, Meditation

Sally KemptonSally Kempton is one of today’s most authentic spiritual teachers. She teaches devotional contemplative tantra—an approach to practice that creates a fusion of knowing and loving. Known for her ability to transmit inner experience through transformative practices and contemplation, Sally has been practicing and teaching for forty years.

A disciple of the great Indian guru Swami Muktananda, she spent twenty years as a teaching swami (monk) in the Saraswati order of Indian monks. In her guru’s ashram, she received a traditional training in yoga philosophy and practice, and became a popular teacher, deeply versed in the teachings and practices of Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism.

In 2002, Sally began teaching independently. She now offers heart-to-heart transmission in meditation and life practice through her Awakened Heart Tantra workshops, teleclasses, retreats, and trainings in applied spiritual philosophy. Her workshops and teleconference courses integrate the wisdom of traditional yoga tantra with the insights of contemporary evolutionary spirituality and cutting-edge psychology.

Sally is the author of Meditation for the Love of It, a groundbreaking book on meditation, which Spirituality & Health called “the meditation book your heart wants you to read.” She writes a regular column, Wisdom, for Yoga Journal. She offers monthly teleclasses in meditation, and an ongoing teleconference series called the Transformative Practice Journey, which unfolds different aspects of awakening practice. She is one of a select group of teachers in Ken Wilber’s Integral Spiritual Center, and teaches regularly at conferences, and at Kripalu and Esalen.

“I often recommend Sally Kempton to my own meditation students as a realized guide on the path of awakening. We are all blessed to have her and her genuine tantric lineage and teaching transmission in our lifetime.”
– Lama Surya Das, Buddhist teacher and author of Awakening the Buddha Within

“Sally Kempton is the real thing.”
–Ken Wilber