My teaching partner, John Kralovec, has just released his book about his 35 years experience with Maya and Native American shamanism: Pathways to the Divine; One Man’s Journey Through the Shamanic Realm of the Ancient Maya. If Maya shamanism is of interest to you, I highly recommend it.
Here is the book description from Amazon:
Over the course of his thirty-five-year spiritual journey, Otto John Kralovec III has studied and participated in ceremonies with shamans and indigenous spiritual leaders throughout North America, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Now, he vividly captures his inspiring personal shamanic odyssey toward his encounter with the Divine, supplemented by the latest anthropological findings on the ancient Maya, to guide us on a path back to the Source.
As a teacher of meditation, I’m always perplexed when I find people who don’t want to try meditation, because the benefits are so enormous. I finally realized that it may be that some meditation myths are holding them back.
So I’d like to address them here:
The 9 most common Meditation Myths
- It’s hard
- I can’t stop my mind entirely
- It takes too long
- I have to sit on a pillow in the lotus position
- I have no time
- I’m not calm enough to meditate
- I’m not spiritual enough to meditate
- It will take years to reap benefits
- It’s a religious practice
None of the above is true, but let’s address them one at a time:
“Start before you’re ready” may be the best advice I’ve ever gotten.
As a child I was afraid to start any undertaking, for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.
Afraid of failing.
I think a lot of people can relate to that, and it causes us to be overly cautious about taking risks or starting work or projects that would make our hearts sing, if it weren’t for the fear.
“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” ~ Miles Davis
We’re taught to be cautious and afraid, by parents who, in trying to protect us from disappointment, discourage us from pursuing our dreams.
From schools that grade us and humiliate us for not meeting their standards.
But taking risk is how we learn, grow and succeed.
The concept of making “new year’s resolutions” has been a bit of a joke in our society for about as long as I can remember — the joke being that people never follow through so the “resolution” will never come to fruition. And for reasons that escape me, very few people talk about the key to success, which is “goal setting.”
And that’s a shame because the start of a new cycle [of anything, not just a year] is a chance at a new beginning.
How often in our lives have we wished for a “do over?” Well, we can “start over” any old time. And setting specific goals, instead of making resolutions, is an excellent way to do it.
But you have to know the right steps.
The reason resolutions don’t work is that they’re just words and don’t include a plan. Research has shown that after six months, less than half of people who made New Year’s Resolutions have stuck to them; after a year, less than 10%. Why? Because they had no plans.
Goals, however, entail a plan and focus on action!
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
~ Alan Cohen
Many people have heard of “smudging,” and may even practice it, but there’s great value in knowing its history, and understanding the true sacredness of it.
There are three primary herbs used in the Native American tradition for smudging: sage, cedar and sweetgrass.
- Sage is used to dispel negative energy.
- Cedar is used for an overall blessing or to cleanse where there has been illness.
- Sweetgrass draws in positive energy.
I have been taught the importance of burning only one herb at a time for smudging, otherwise you are giving mixed messages.
Sage is the most commonly used for cleansing the energy field of a person, place or thing, so I will focus on it for this post.