Written & Artistic Works by Our Seminarians & Doctoral Candidates – 3


The Existence
of an Un-caused Something

byYea Vang
© 2006

For many of us, particularly in Western
Societies, when it comes to the origin of the universe, we generally side with
one of two schools of thought-the Biblical account of creation as portrayed
in the book of Genesis or the Scientific account as generally taught in school.
The former school of thought presupposes that an un-caused something is responsible
for bringing the world and the universe into existence. The latter school of
thought asserts that a "Big Bang" caused the universe to come into
existence while implicitly denying that this un-caused something even exists
let alone is that which is responsible for the resultant effects. While these
two schools of thought differ (religion versus science), science’s inability
to adequately account for certain kinds of phenomena (both observable and unobservable),
implicitly suggest that an un-caused something exists, is transcendent of the
physical universe, and is that which brought the universe into existence. This
assertion is supported by analysis of the following: the Laws of Physics, the
Theory of Evolution, the existence of consciousness, and the limitation of man’s
knowledge.

Laws of Physics

For all practical purposes, the science
of Physics is essentially the investigation into the physical properties of
the universe. It implicitly denies that an un-caused something is responsible
for having caused the universe to come into existence; and according to Conceptual
Physical Science, Third Edition, "Most Astronomers think that the Universe
began 10 to 15 billion years ago, when a primordial explosion, called the Big
Bang occurred. This is the standard model of the universe." (Hewitt, P.,
Hewitt, L., Suchoki, J., 2004 p. 833) One must keep in mind that the Big Bang
theory like the Theory of Evolution, is just a theory (a conjecture). Firstly,
the science of Physics (along with other branches of science), makes a conjecture
about the Big Bang which goes against two of its own laws-the Law of Conservation
of Mass and the Law of Conservation of Energy. And secondly, it goes against
logic-the Law of Contradiction. As such, if we assume that the Big Bang really
did happened, then logically, the Law of Conservation of Mass, which states
that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, somehow must have been violated
successfully by the Big Bang. But then how can this be possible from a purely
physical perspective? That is, how can the Big Bang come into existence if neither
space nor time existed prior to it? While a chemical reaction can occur between
two substances or elements, those substances or elements must be existing in
space and time for a reaction to be possible. Thus, while Physics posits the
Big Bang as the mechanism that brought the universe into existence, it does
not have an explanation for what cause the Big Bang itself. Likewise if space
and time did not exist prior to the Big Bang, energy would be non-existent or
at least the mechanism to generate energy would be non-existent, making the
possibility of a Big Bang non-existent. This is clearly stated in the Law of
Conservation of Energy; energy can be converted from one form to another, but
can be neither created nor destroyed. Furthermore, according to the Law of Contradiction,
something can’t be existing and non-existing at the same time (Johnson, 1995).
If the Big Bang is how the universe began, then Physics must be able to account
for how non-existence (no space nor time) transferred itself into existence
(space and time) in terms of physical laws? The answer is that there is no adequate
scientific explanation for this other than conjectures that appear more metaphysical
in nature rather than physical. Thus, the most logical conclusion for non-existence
(no space nor time) to have come into existence (space and time) without being
constrained by the laws of Physics, is to presuppose the existence of something
that is un-caused in the first place, which also has the means to bring into
existence (space and time) something as sophisticated as a universe from nonexistence
(no space nor time). But some might argue that perhaps our universe was caused
by something else other than an un-caused something. That is, it might have
come into existence as a result of another cause, which itself was caused by
some other event-an endless chain of cause and effect. Firstly, given that we
don’t even know scientifically how the universe began (Scientists assumes a
Big Bang without further explanation), further speculation would be meaningless.
Secondly, for the sake of argument, Thomas Aquinas (Does God Exists?, 2002)
deals with this problem by arguing that, everything that has come into existence
was caused by something else. And something cannot come into existence unless
it is brought into existence by something that exists. And since nothing can
exists and not exists at the same time, nothing that is caused can be the causer.
But since one cannot logically go to infinity with this causal chain, one must
conclude that a first cause, which is un-caused by anything else exists.

Theory of Evolution
Furthermore, the Theory of Evolution posits that life as we know it started
with some kind of primordial stuff that evolved into more and more sophisticated
stuff by some mechanism of chance. However, according to Dennis Woelfel (2005),
"In all known life forms, the mechanism for replication depends on the
double-stranded DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), or the single-stranded RNA (Ribonucleic
Acid)". But before the process of replication can even be considered, DNA
must be able to produce proteins and likewise proteins must be able to produce
DNA. And for that process to happen all the amino acids have to somehow arrange
themselves in an exact position. That is, if just one amino acid is lined up
in the wrong position, no protein molecule is ever produced. And for this strict
process to have evolved by chance, "the odds are 1 in 10 to the 130th power"
(Woelfel, 2005). Thus, if it requires so much precision at the microscopic level
(which we know about) just to make the process of replication possible (let
alone intelligent life), how can one believe that the whole universe (which
we know very little about), came into existence by mere chance? It is more logical
to assert that evolution’s notion of mere chance has very little chance of being
the case considering the odds that it has to contend with; and does implicitly
support the notion of an un-caused something as that which is responsible for
the existence of the universe. Consider the mere fact of our materialistic existence;
that is, everything that we have engineered into existence, from a simple table
to the space shuttle, had to be planned and put together. It’s not even enough
for one to simply draw up the plans for the construction of an airplane; someone
must also physically assemble the pieces together, otherwise the project never
reaches fruition. Likewise, when we look at nature, we see planning, sophistication
, and fruition, yet some of us choose to accept the idea that it all came forth
by chance rather than deducing that an un-caused something was responsible for
bringing such into existence. What’s even more intriguing is that by simply
comparing our (man’s) technological achievements with the level of sophistication
that is displayed in nature, one can see that our knowledge and skills are far
behind what is orchestrated by nature; that is, man can’t create sentient beings,
water, fruits and vegetables, and the like. All that man has been able to achieve
is to manipulate the raw materials of nature to his advantage. Thus, it is more
logical to assert that an intelligent un-caused something must have been responsible
for bringing the universe into existence.

Existence of Consciousness
"Humans have been curious about the origin of mindedness (conscious awareness,
sense of self, agency, language, cognitive, and creative capabilities) for a
very long time." (Hillstrom, 1999). But attempts to understand what consciousness
is or how it works has
puzzled man and further deepened its mysteries. There are people who cherish
the notion that it is more than just some physical organism, while science asserts
that it can all be explained by the forces of matter and energy. The noted mathematician
and philosopher Descartes propositioned that mind is separate from body (Dualism),
but in having done so, he ran into the problem of not being able to adequately
account for how something that’s not physical (spiritual) could affect something
in the physical world (body) without breaking the laws of Physics. On the other
hand materialism assumes that everything that exists is materialistic in nature
and can be explained via the physical laws. This view also has a problem of
its own; that being, it has difficulty accounting for things that happen in
the mind like emotions: joy, love, anger, and the like. In the 20th century
a view called Behaviorism tried to explain the mind in terms of behavior; for
instance, to be in pain is to cry out. But this view has an even greater problem,
since it seems to leave the mind out. For instance, one could be mentally in
pain, but pretend to be in no pain, thus fooling the behaviorist (Allman, 2002)

Various other attempts to explain the relationship between how the mind might
be connected to the physical brain were explored without success, but with the
arrival of computers in the mid twentieth century, machines were highly successful
at working with a lot of information and performing complicated tasks. Confident
that computers would equal the human mind, supporters of materialism had hoped
to prove that everything is in fact explainable via the laws of Physics; that
is, to finally show that the mind is nothing more than a computer program while
the physical brain is just like the computer. This notion that machines could
eventually think was supported by a computer pioneer, Allan Turing. In what
has become known as the "Turing Test", Allan Turing argues that, if
a computer can give answers that are indistinguishable from that of a human
to an objective observer, then the computer could be thinking (Allman, 2002).

However, according to the Philosopher John Searle in his ‘Chinese Room’ argument,
computers are provided with instructions on how to manipulate the symbols that
they receive from the outside user, but in reality they don’t know (not aware
of) what the symbols mean. Searle (Who doesn’t understand Chinese) contends
that if he is placed in a room with instructions in English (like the computer’s
programming) on how to manipulate Chinese symbols, he too could manipulate the
symbols despite not knowing what any of the Chinese symbols mean. "Computer
thinking, Searle argues, is a simulation of a certain, very limited aspect of
human thinking, not an emulation of it. We would hardly expect a computer simulation
of a fire to burn anything, for example or that we would get wet in a computer
simulation of a rainstorm" (Lear, 2000). A computer program is like a car
in motion. The car doesn’t know that it is being driven, but will go where the
human wants it to go. Thus, with respect to consciousness, neither dualists
like Descartes, materialists, Behaviorists, nor computer intelligence have been
able to solve the mystery of consciousness as it is experienced by the human
being.
If consciousness is merely a product of the physical universe, then why haven’t
we been able to isolate it, and say, "This is what consciousness is?"
The very fact that it cannot be isolated and explained away by human reasoning
and physical laws implicitly suggest that it is transcendent of the physical
world, and logically requires the knowledge and skill of that which is also
transcendent of the physical world to be able to bring into existence, a phenomenon
that is unexplainable by our laws of physics.

Limitation of man’s knowledge
While man’s knowledge has increased by leaps and bounds, he is nevertheless
limited in his knowledge about the universe; that is, while man through his
acquired knowledge is able to manipulate the already existing matters in the
world or universe and re-shape them into another form or element, he is unable
to create something new without manipulating the already existing materials
in the universe. For instance let’s look at a book; what is a book made of?
Yes, materials that we take from trees and manipulate or fashion into the thing
that we call book. It is not something that we have created out of nothing.
In fact, there’s nothing in the world that has been created from nothing; the
human beings that inhabit the planet, the plants and animals, the structures
that man has engineered into existence all came from another already existing
material source in the world or universe. Since everything that man has made
is taken from an already existing material, his knowledge about the universe
is surely nothing compared to that which caused the universe to come into existence.

And while some of us quietly accept the notion that the world came by chance,
in actual experience we would all agree that chance has very little to do with
our success in life, including: school, work, friendship, and business. That
is, to excel in those things successfully, one must not only devote time and
effort in acquiring the necessary skills but also applying those skills. Thus,
if the simple matters of life all require a cause to
achieve a desired effect, the grandness of the universe surely requires a cause
more powerful than anything we know of to have achieved such a level of sophisticated
effect.

Conclusion
In conclusion, the physical world as well as the grandness of the universe testify
of an un-caused something as that which caused the universe to come into existence.
Firstly, only that which is neither bound by space nor time could have brought
into existence from non-existence, a universe, that based on our laws of Physics
would not be logically possible. Secondly, the most meaningful aspect of our
existence: joy, love, anger, and the like depends on consciousness, a phenomenon
that despite various attempts by man to explain its inner workings has only
deepened its mysteries; and logically points to a source capable of bringing
into existence something beyond our grasp. And finally, while man may try to
deny that an un-caused something brought the universe into existence, his inability
to transcend the material world in which he has been placed, specifically, his
inability to create something without borrowing from the already existing materials
in the universe, strongly suggests that indeed only a powerful un-caused something
could have caused matter to come into existence from non-existence.


Spirituality in a Temporal World
by Mark Billings

It was with great sadness that I learned this week of a church closure in a rural area nearby. The church; "The Ebenezer United Methodist Church" in Berger, Missouri, announced that on the 7th of January, it is to finally close its doors after 165 years of providing spiritual guidance, comfort, and service to this scattered rural community. One ponders what brought about the demise of a spiritual resource that has endured for so long.

Traditionally, this small area comprised mainly of farms; a winery with its vineyards; and a small town that had a bank and a modest amount of commerce. For the most part, the community were either Catholic or Methodist, with a small minority being either undecided, or, of no real religious persuasion at all. After 165 year, what changed?

I believe that the answer lies in the fact that in today’s world; grace, spirituality, compassion and humility are considered weaknesses rather than the strengths that they really are. Increasingly, we see society embracing the concept of materialism, selfishness and self indulgence. A few weeks ago, I was mortified to watch the evening news and to learn that people were killing one another whilst queuing to buy a gaming console. A more in depth report revealed that the new Playstation 3 was thought to be in short supply. Accordingly, it was assumed that one could sell such an item on eBay for 5 times its retail worth. The news team interviewed one particular man in the queue. He admitted that he had no interest in gaming at all. Unashamedly, he boasted that he had spent many hours in the queue purely for reasons of greed (his words, not mine). He stated that he already had someone willing to pay him $2,500 for a console that he was going to buy for one fifth of that amount. One has to give due credit for his honesty, but the disturbing thing to me was that the people around him saw his greed and willingness to cheat someone, as a positive value and something to be admired, if not revered.

A couple of weeks later, just after Thanksgiving; I was watching the evening news again. There were reports of people being taken to hospital after being trampled upon by people seeking "bargains" at a Wal-Mart sale. Nobody appeared to have any compassion for the injured at all. The overall message seemed to be that if you are not fit and ruthless enough to push and shove your way into a Wal-Mart store, then you deserve to be trampled upon and injured.

These are of course, extreme examples of the overall lack of spirituality that seems to afflict society today. However, the erosion of spiritual values seems to happen on a daily basis, even in the smallest of communities. In my own small community, I can recount dozens of examples where small business owners have knowing cheated their customers, but who bizarrely believe that such behaviour is wholly acceptable and justifiable under the "business-is-business" banner. Just last week, a neighbor of mine went to one of the local supermarkets to buy a party tray. She is a particularly unwell person and having received an invitation to a small party, wanted to share in the experience of bringing a food gift to the event, just like everyone else. The days of her cooking and such are long since past and which is why she found herself buying a party tray of cooked meats and cheeses. Such trays have been on sale locally at $8.99 for as long as anyone can remember. However, during the week before Christmas, the price was hiked to $17.99 for the same tray. This price was perhaps above her means, but, she bought it anyway and no doubt, will be doing without something else at some point in order to balance the budget. The owner of the shop was quite blasé about his price hike; he didn’t even bother to take the old price off of the item. He just put a new sticker over the original price. Some will of course see this as maximising profit; however, the egregious thing is, that having hiked the price to twice its worth, when the tray was taken to the party, it was found that the tray was 6 weeks past its sell-by date. In essence, here was a man who cheated a loyal customer, and yet, who really didn’t care if his greed ended up killing several people in the process. Thankfully, nobody ate the out-of-date meat products; however, this has not done an awful lot for the esteem and pride of the little old lady with a limited income and the best of intentions.

Where is all this wanton lust for material things and constant desire to not appear to be anything other than ruthless and cunning leading us?

The quick answer to this question is perhaps to give a downward spiral as an example. However, no matter how many times we encounter people with nothing more than self interest at heart; there are those who give and who constantly put themselves out because it is the right thing to do. I quote here the prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola:

Dearest Lord,

teach me to be generous;

teach me to serve you as you deserve;

to give and not to count the cost,

to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest,

to labor and not to ask for reward

save that of knowing I am doing Your Will.

These are of course, very worthy words indeed. However, one particular sentence seems to give people more difficulty than all of the rest; namely: "To give and not to count the cost".

What does it mean? This is a question that has been asked by theological scholars since time immemorial. That said, I think it is safe to say that it is not about maxing out your credit cards at Christmas!

Actually, in this context, the giving is not at all about material things. Rather it is about giving selflessly of one’s self.

By now, some of you are probably asking what cost has to do with it all? In our mind’s eye, we tend to view cost in terms of money. Is it any wonder; especially when people babble constantly about how much they spend; how much they save; how much they have lost; how much they have gained, etc. It is almost as though the very fabric of life revolves around currency and the pursuit of it. Those who think that embracing a more spiritual way of life will exempt them from all this; find that they too are sadly mistaken. Almost every church denomination in the world believes that each and every congregant should donate or "tithe" 10% of their income. Personally, I believe this idea to be callously flawed. Ask a rich man to donate 10% of his income, and he probably won’t miss it at all. He will of course remember to tell his accountant about it come tax time in order to get his tax deduction. However, asking a poor man to give up 10% of his meager income involves that person deciding what life sustaining item needs to be forfeit in order to meet this ideal.

If people have a want to give money to churches then they are the best judges of what they can afford to donate. The churches don’t need to shame people into giving by claiming some sort of feudal right. They also don’t need to bombard congregants who haven’t been to church for a few weeks with gift envelopes through the mail either. After all, what message does it send? To me, it says that the church doesn’t mind that you don’t turn up for services on Sunday, just so long as you make the same donation you would have made if you had actually attended. Clearly, this sort of thing is not about spirituality or the word of God, it is instead all about the church being a corporate money making enterprise. For those of you who read the New Testament, you will recall that Jesus had major issues with this sort of thing. Then again, in modern day parlance, it could be said that Jesus was nothing more than an activist prophet. With that in mind, only you can be the judge of what you believe to be right.

So, if giving and not counting the cost is not about fiscal matters, where does this leave us in terms of the above prayer?

Of course, and as we have mentioned previously, it is about giving selflessly of one’s self. I know; you now want an example!

OK, let us suppose that you have tickets for a Nix -v- Pistons game. They are not any old tickets, they are for the best seats in the arena; you practically had to kill to get your hands on them. You are just about to leave home and go to the game. The telephone rings. It is your best friend. His mother is seriously ill and about to undergo major surgery, and the prognosis is iffy at best. His car is currently in the shop for repair, and he is asking you for a ride to the airport. If you take him to the airport, you can kiss goodbye to the game. If you don’t, well, you get to see the game, and as he is your best friend, he will get over the fact that when he had nowhere else to turn, you let him down. We’ll suppose that you’ve suggested he call a cab, which he does. What you don’t know is that whilst you are on your way to the Nix game, he has had to wait an hour for the cab to arrive. It got him to the airport just in time to miss his flight. The next flight wasn’t for several hours and eventually, by the time he got to the hospital, his mother was already a guest of the department of morbid anatomy.

Yes, giving would have a cost. Also, it turns out that forgiving has a cost too. However, in the scheme of things, what is important? A basketball game, or, attending to the needs of your best friend in his hour of need?

Society is not as gentle and considerate as it was when I was a boy growing up. Back then, people seemed to have a greater sense of what was the right and selfless thing to do. Today however, we seem to be living in the age of the "ME" generation. Everything seems to be about "what’s in it for me?" Another mantra I hear frequently is: "I’ll only do something for you, so long as I get something out of it." As a society, what have we become? Are we really saying that we cannot extend a simple kindness unless we get paid or come out ahead on the deal in some way? What is this teaching the generation that is to come after us?

This week I met a man who had been going though what can only be described as a mid-life crisis. The man told me that he was 41-years-old and for most of his adult life, he had been consumed by what he perceived that he didn’t have, or, what he envied other people having. He had managed to convince himself that at 41, he was a total failure based upon the flimsiest of things, such as not having a plasma TV. He then told me that he had realized that he still probably had another 41 years, or more, of life left to go. He also told me that instead of spending that time doing as he had up until then; he was no longer going to concentrate on what he perceived that he did not have; rather, that he was going to concentrate upon the things that he did have, such as good health; a loving relationship; an appreciation for the finer more delicate aspects of life. Suddenly, this person was looking forward to 41+ years of opportunity, discovery, giving and enrichment. His first step on this particular road, he stated; was going to be to ask himself, each and every morning: "What can I do today that will make the life of someone, somewhere, that much better?" I cannot tell you how uplifting it is to be in the presence of someone who has discovered that life isn’t all about what you perceive that you can get from it. The more you put into life, the more you will get from it. The more you give selflessly, the more enrichment you will receive.

I’ll finish with words spoken to me many years ago by someone far wiser than I shall ever be: "You always get out of life more than you put into it. If however, all you ever do is to take from life, you will find, at the end of your days, that you have led a lifetime that is totally meaningless and from which, despite all the taking, you have drawn nothing."

The concept of things temporal and spiritual really needs for them to co-exist in harmony. For the moment, the scales are heavily weighted on the side of temporal and which means that spiritually, society is out of balance. However, if each one of us embraces the ideal of the 41-year-old man, then the scales will return to something resembling equal, and, we will again notice, that the world has returned to being a more honest, kinder and simpler place in which to live.


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Magical Timing
by Susan Griffin

The Power of Seasons on Magick

Spring/Air Magick: A time for healing, purification, Spring cleaning, psychic awareness, paying bills, fertility, planting Magickal gardens, ecological rituals

Summer/Fire Magick: A time for love, marriage, friendship, beauty, protection, courage, Magickal energy, physical energy, strength

Autumn/Water Magick: A time for money, employment, new possessions

Winter/Earth Magick: A time for banishments of disease, habits and addictions; seeking past lives, introspection, meditation, reading, Magickal exercises for renewal

The Power of Mother Nature and Magick

Lightening Storm: Period of intense energy. All spells cast during storms will be empowered by them, and may prove to be more effective. Protection rituals are ideal during a ligntening storm.

Rainstorm: Excellent for purification, love, compassion, friendship, beauty rituals, releasing guilt and jealousy.

Snowstorms: A time for gentle Magick, purification, stilling emotions, and releasing unrequited love.

Heavy Winds: Empower rites designed to break addictions, assist study, and travel spells.

Searing Hot Day: A day for rites of protection, courage, and energy.

Solar and Lunar Eclipses: Thes events are dramatic moments both for their observers as well as for magicians. In the past, magicians were urged not to perform Magick during eclipses. Today, many natural magicians use the suggestive power of an eclipse to fuel spells involving banishments, including the destruction of disease.

Meteor Showers: A great time amplify powers when practicing Magick. It is also the time to ask for help from above.

Rainbows: A time of great power. An excellent time for balancing, repairing, healing, protection, and Chakras work.


The Power of Timing on Magick

Timing is critical when practicing Magick. Many celebrations throughout the ages were carefully planned in order to begin or end at a specific time due to the powerful symbolism that time evoked for the participants.

Sunrise: Day begins as light stretches out from the eastern horizon. This is an excellent time to perform rituals involving purification, business success, study, employment, breaking addictions of all kinds, travel, releasing guilt and jealousy, healing diseases, and the conscious mind. Beginning any ritual, spell or celebration at dawn commemorates a new beginning, freshness, warmth and renewed hope. Sunrise is especially potent time for Spring observances. Magic performed at dawn can also be accentuated by working with an easterly wind, blowing from the horizon when the Sun rises.

Morning: Daylight hours are best for matters of the conscious mind, including magic for leadership, intelligence and all cognitive functions. The Sun is a welcome friend to chase any shadows that may be hiding in our lives. It is regarded as a beneficial sign of divine blessing when it shines on any special occasion. Mystical pursuits during daylight hours are especially powerful when combined with a southerly wind.

Noon and Midnight: Commonly called the ‘in-between’ hours, hanging between night and day. Elemental creatures such as Faery Folk and Disincarnate Spirits are drawm to the ‘tween-times’. These house are excellent for Magick pertaining to positive modifications in life. At noon the sun shines brightly at full strength and lends its power to all sunrise ritual purposes, as well as those that involve Magickal energy, physical energy and strength, protection, money, and courage.

Sunset: The sun slips below the western horizon, signaling a time for breaking addictions, weight-loss, banishing misery and pain, and for transforming anguish and negative habits. Closings and endings are the messages that dusk brings, but this finality is not without promise. Dusk marks the temporary change toward darkness. Its the time to look within and to ponder universal truths. Sunset is ideal for holding Rituals that mark the passage of a loved one, intense personal transitions, or to mark the end of a cycle. Its Magic is aided by the northerly wind, and its cool temperature brings heated matters to rest. Dusk is the time to reflect on past actions.

Night: The sun is out of sight. This is the drowsy time for beauty, dreams, psychic dreams and awareness, spirituality, sleep, sex, purification, love, friendships, peace, releasing stress, and healing wounds. The night heals the emotional self, enhances the maternal nature, aids in healing and fertility. Moon magic is all part of the charm of the night. It is the time to wish on stars, dream, reflect on the eternal nature of the Spirit, and of ancient mysteries. Rituals that incorporate the west wind brings peacefulness.

The Power of the Hours on Magick

1 a.m.: The first hour of a new day, and is the time to focus on wholeness of self and banishing dark shadows.

2 a.m.: The time for ending partnerships or relationships of negativity.

3 a.m.: Aids in determination, especially in matters that holds one back.

4 a.m.: Improves luck and enables victory in tough situations.

5 a.m.: Encourages growth of the psychic self.

6 a.m.: Enhances tenacity and perseverance.

7 a.m.: Instills hope and improves insight and perspective.

8 a.m.: Promotes personal change aimed toward the conscious mind.

9 a.m.: The time to assist others and to focus on concrete matters.

10 a.m.: Improves personal convictions and resolutions.

11 a.m.: Transforms situations that seemed impossible.

Noon: See Above

1 p.m.: The time for self-image and personal security.

2 p.m.: The hour for building relationships, encouraging understanding and love between people, and sexual symmetry.

3 p.m.: Aids in balancing matters of the body, mind and Spirit.

4 p.m.: Represents the harmony of the elements, sticking to schedules, and practicing Magick to accentuate goals.

5 p.m.: Provides insight of the self, and aids in the communication with Spirit guides.

6 p.m.: Enhances focus on matters of safety, protection and completion.

7 p.m.: Is the time for respecting diversity, blending or healing differences, and of the gentle care towards others.

8 p.m.: The hour of leadership, command, and guidance.

9 p.m.: Enables comprehension of universal truth.

10 p.m.: Improves the rational mind, and enhances sensibility and clear-mindedness.

11 p.m.: Helps one to positively cope with drastic changes.

Midnight: See Above

Planetary Hour of the Day Chart

Hour of Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1st Sunrise Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn

2nd Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter

3rd Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars

4th Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun

5th Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus

6th Midday Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury

7th Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon

8th Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn

9th Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter

10th Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars

11th Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun

12th Evening Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus

Hour of Day Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1st Sunset Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury

2nd Twilight Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon

3rd Nightfall Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn

4th Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter

5th Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars

6th Midnite Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun

7th Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus

8th Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars

9th Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon

10th Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn

11th Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars Mercury Jupiter

12th Mercury Jupiter Venus Saturn Sun Moon Mars


The Power of Each Day of the Week on Magick

Sunday Magick: Growth, Advancements, Enlightment, Rational Thought, Exorcism, Healing, Prosperity, Hope, Exorcism, Money

The first day of the week is ruled by the Sun. It is an excellent time to work efforts involving business partnerships, work promotions, business ventures, and professional success. Sunday is the day to cast spells for friendships, mental or physical health, or bringing joy back into life.

Monday Magick: Psychic Sensitivity, Women’s Mysteries, Tides, Waters, Emotional Issues, Agriculture, Animals, Female Fertility, Messages, Theft, Reconciliations, Voyages, Dreams, Merchandise

Monday belongs to the Moon. Monday’s energy best aligns itself with efforts that deal with women, home and hearth, family, gardens, travel, and medicine. It also boosts rituals involving psychic development and prophetic dreaming.

Tuesday Magick: Courage, Physical Strength, Revenge, Military Honors, Surgery and the Breaking of Negative Spells, Matrimony, War, Enemies, Prison, Vitality, Assertiveness

Mars rules Tuesday. The energies of this day best harmonize with efforts of masculine vibration including conflict, physical endurance, strength, lust, hunting, sports, and all types of competition. Tuesday is a good day for rituals involving surgical procedures or political ventures.

Wednesday Magick: Communication, Divination, Writing, Knowledge, Business Transactions, Debt, Fear, Loss, Travel, Money Matters

This day is governed by Mercury. Wednesday’s vibration adds power to rituals involving inspiration, communications, writing, poetry, written and spoken words, and matters of study, learning, and teaching. This day is the time to begin efforts involving self-improvement or understanding.

Thursday Magick: Luck, Happiness, Health, Legal Matters, Male Fertility, Treasure and Wealth, Honor, Riches, Clothing Desires, Leadership, Public Activity, Power, Success

Jupiter presides over Thursday. The vibrations of this day attune well to all matters involving material gain. Tuesday is for rituals for general success, accomplishments, honors and awards, or legal issues. Thursday’s energy is also helpful in matters of luck, gambling, and prosperity.

Friday Magick: Love, Romance, Marriage, Sexual Matters, Physical Beauty, Friendship and Partnerships, Strangers, Heart

Friday belongs to Venus, and its energies are warm, sensuous, and fulfilling. Rituals involving pleasure, comfort, luxury, the arts, music, or aroma work well on this day. Venus lends its sensuous influence and should be used for any magickal work dealing with matters of the heart.

Saturday Magick: Spirit Communications, Meditation, Psychic Attack or Defense, Locating Lost Things or People, Building, Life, Doctrine, Protection, Knowledge, Authority, Limitations, Boundaries, Time, Death

Saturn lends its energies to the last day of the week. As Saturn is the planet of karma, Saturday is an excellent day for spellwork including reincarnation, karmic lessons, mysteries, wisdom, and long-term projects. It is the day to focus on the elderly, death, or eradication of pests and disease.

Planetary Day of the Week Chart

Day Planet Sign Angel Color Plant/Tree Stone

Sunday Sun Leo Michael Gold Yellow Orange White Marigold Heliotrope Sunflower Buttercup Cedar Beech Oak Carnelian Citrine Tiger’s Eye Amber QuartzRed Agate

Monday Moon Cancer Gabriel Silver White Gray Night Flowers Willow Root Orris Root Birch Motherwort Vervain White Rose White Iris Moonstone Aquamarine Pearl Quartz Flourite Geodes

Tuesday Mars Aries Scorpio Samuel Red Orange Red Rose Cock’s Comb Pine Daisy Thyme Pepper Carnelian Bloodstone Ruby Garnet Pink Tourmaline

Wednesday Mercury Chiron Virgo Raphael Orange Light Blue Grey Yellow Violet Fern Lavender Hazel Cherry Perriwinkle Aventurine Bloodstone Hematitie Moss Agate Sodalite

Thursday Jupiter Sagittarius Pisces Sachiel Purple Royal Blue Indigo Cinnamon Beech Buttercup Coltsfoot Oak Sugilite Amethyst Turquoise Lapis Lazuli Sapphire

Friday Venus Libra Taurus Ariel Green Pink Aqua Pink Rose Ivy Birch Heather Clematis Sage Violet Water Lilly Rose Quartz Moonstone Pink Tourmaline Peridot Emerald Jade

Saturday Saturn Capricorn Aquarius Cassiel Black Grey Indigo Myrrh Moss Hemlock Wolfsbane Coltsfoot Nightshade Fir Jet Smokey Quartz Amethyst Black Onyx Snowflake Obsidian Lava Pumice

Colors and Magickal Associations

Black: Divination, banishing, absorbing negative energy, protection, binding, hexwork, uncrossing rituals to banish evil and negativity, break-up a blocked or stagnant situation, reversing, releasing, removing confusinon, contact with spirit, dark magick, defensive spells, meditation

Blue: Truth, tranquility, protection, hope, honor, change, psychic ability, peace, loyalty, wisdom, protection during sleep, astral projection, to induce prophetic dreams, good-fortune, opening blocked communication, calm, Spiritual inspiration, creativity, travel, happiness, calming, devotion, friendship, reassurance, understanding, transformation, sincerity, divinity, inner peace, patience, healing, contemplation

Turquoise: Creativity, discipline, self-knowledge, honor, idealism, neutralizing, stopping gossip, balances Karma

Light Blue: Tranquility, understanding, patience, and health

Sky Blue: Hope

Royal Blue: Power, protection, confidence, friendship, and success

Indigo: To reveal deep secrets, protection on the astral levels, defenses, insight, vision, psychic ability, flexibilty, changeability, impulsiveness, depression, ambition, dignity

Bluish Black: For wounded pride, broken bones, angelic protection

Dark Blue: Depression, moodiness, changeability, impulsiveness, creates confusion

Pale Blue: Understanding, health, tranquility, protection, peace, happiness, spiritual awareness, patience, power to perceive, protection of home, young, buildings, and young males, inner peace, purification

Brown: Stability, integrity, justice, sensuality, endurance, protection of of familiars and animals, concentration, grounding, locate lost objects, incorporate powers of concentration and telepathy, influence friendship, special favors, telepathy, protection of familiars and household pets, material increase, justice and retribution, eliminates indeciveness, study, ambition

Copper: Passion, professional growth, career maneuvers, monetary goals, fertility

Gold: The God, vitality, strength, success, action, courage, confidence, attract the power of the cosmic afterlife, rituals to honor solar deities, wealth, promote winning, safety and the power of the male, happiness, playful humor, money, prosperity, attracts the power of cosmetic influences, home blessing, strenthens other colors

Pale Gold: Prosperity in health

Deep Gold: Prosperity, Sun Magick

Gray: Vision, neutrality, absorbs negativity

Green: Abundance, growth, physical healing, prosperity, fertility, employment, luck, Rituals to counteract greed and jealousy, success, good luck, rejeuvination, ambitions, Earth Mother, tree and plant Magick, personal growth, element of the Earth, material success, money matters, cooperation, faith, calmness, nurturing, fruition of a project, beauty, finances, employment, ambition, to make contact with Faeries, tree and plant magick, charity

Emerald Green: Money, prosperity, wealth

Medium Green: Healing

Spring Green: Children, fertility

Light Green: Improves weather

Avacado Green: Beginnings

Mint Green: Financial gain, usually used with gold and/or silver

Greenish Yellow: Cowardice, jealousy, anger, discord, sickness, quarrels, fearfulness

Dark Green: love, invoking the Goddess of regeneration, agriculture, financial matters

Orange: Courage, pride, ambition, enthusiasm, spells for stimulating energy, friendship, communication, success, opportunities, business goals, property deals, justice, legal matters, selling, action, encouragemnt, communication, attraction, compassion, warmth, power, adaptability, prosperity, fortune, staming, discourages laziness, psychic energy, appetite, selling, studiousness, plenty, new home, material gain, seal a spells, positive thinking, strenght, luck, stimulation, vitality, encourages fun, abundance, property deals, kindness, creativity

Peach: Trust

Burnt Orange: Opportunity

Reddish Orange: Failure

Pink: Compassion, tenderness, harmony, affection, love, romance, Spiritual healing, friendship, femininity, planetary good-will, healing of emotions, peace, caring, nurturing, partnerships of emotional maturity, overcomes evil, honor, morality, kinship, relaxation, leisure, success, nurturing, fidelity, positive attitude, binding magick.

Rose: Healing/Healh, blessing a home, love

Pale Pink: Young females

Deep Pink: Harmony, friendship in the home

Magenta: Intuition, change, Spiritual healing, vitality

Purple: Growth, self-esteem, psychic ability, insight, inspiration, Spirituality, success in business, healing, power, independence, household protection, influencing people in high places, third-eye, mental ability, self assurance, hidden knowledge, belief, causes tension, devotion, sobriety, meditation, household protection, assurance of thought, Magickal forces, power over obstacles, richness, abstinence, knowledge, spiritual healing, sensitivity, strengthens willpower

Violet: Healing, meditation, tranquility, stops arguments, tension, power, sadness, piety, sentimentality, success, intuition, self-improvement, spiritual awareness

Lavender: To invoke righteous spirit within yourself and favors for people, inner peace

Dark Purple: Call the power of the Ancient Ones, Sigils/Runes, Government

Rainbow: Joy, a combination of all color correspondences

Red: Sexual love, lust, passion, fire, will-power, courage, energy, strength, anger, fertility, aphrodisiac, health, revenge, magnatism, element of fire, career goals, fast action, blood of the moon, vibrancy, driving force, survival, good health, physical desire, war, pain, stimulator, will-power, God power, charisma, impulsiveness, danger, strength, vitality, romantic atmosphere, protection, exorcism, attraction, fertility, help in legal difficulties, sacrifice, creativity, action, defensive needs (i.e. hexes), good luck when under attack, charity

Ruby Red: passionate love, anger

Light Red: Deep affection in a non-sexual nature

Cherry Red: Physical and mental lovemaking

Silver: The Goddess, spiritual truth, intuition, receptivity, psychic ability, stability, balance, remove negativity, telepathy, clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychometry, dreams, astral energy, feminine power, communication, attract the influences of the Goddess, quick money, moon magick, channeling, cancellation, neutrality, lunar spellwork, fambling, invocation of the moon, psychic protection, ends stalematis, fertility, the subconscious

White: Cleansing, peace, protection, healing, truth, divination, tranquility, purity, virginity, concentration rituals, meditation, exorcism, clairvoyance, Spiritual struggle, lunar energy, Spirituality, the Goddess, higher-self, faith, truth, breaks curses or crossed conditions, righteousness, purification, divinations, healing, sincerity, peace, devotional Magick, purification, lunar energy

Lily White: Mother Candle, burned for 30 minutes at the beginning or each moon phase

Off White: Peace of mind

Yellow: Joy, vitality, intelligence, study, persuasion, charm, creativity, communication, confidence, attraction, persuasion, accelerated learning, memory, logical imagination, breaking mental blocks, selling yourself, friendship, self-confidence, mind, movement, theorization, Sun Magick, conscious mind, the God, selling yourself, drawing (pulling/compelling), joy, captivation, comfort, visions, mental powers, attraction, activity, healing, imagination, happiness, intelligence, divination, Sun Deities, concentration, fertility, health in body and mind, hypnosis, fascination, travel, jealousy, wisdom, psychic powers

Sunlight Yellow: New home

Note: White may be used in place of any color.

Familiars

Animals volunteer to work as familiars and are Karmically attracted to Witches. Familiars reputedly are sensitive to psychic vibrations and power and are welcomed partners inside the magic circle and other magical work. They also serve as psychic radar, reacting visibly to the presence of any negative or evil energy. Likewise, familiars are given psychic protection by their Witch. Familiars are either physical or astral creatures. The practice of shapeshifting is the manifestation of an animal in the astral realm and utilizing its energy in the physical world.

Animal Correspondance/Attribute
Alligator: Aggression, survival, adaptability, stealth
Angel: Guardians of hope and wonder
Ant: Team player, worker, patience
Antelope: Action, speed, grace, rapid advancement
Armadillo: Active, nocturnal, protection, boundaries
Badger: Aggressive
Bat: Guardian of the night, cleaner, rebirth
Bear: Power, adaptability, introspection, strength, self-knowldege
Beaver: Builder, gather, shaping, structure
Bobcat: Fierce, loner, intensity
Buffalo: Sacred, life-builder, prayer, abundance, healing, good fortune, reverence
for life
Bull: Strength, warning
Butterfly: Metamorphisis, carefree, transformation, balance, grace
Camel: Weary, enduring
Caribou: Travel, mobility Cougar-leadership, courage, balance, majesty
Cat: Independence, grace, healing
Cow: Patience, stoicism
Coyote: Prankster, insight, playful, humor, trickiness, reversal of fortune

Crane: Solitude, independence, balance, majesty
Crow: Council, wisdom, resourceful, law
Dog: Loyalty, protection
Deer: Love, gentleness, kindness, sensivity, peace
Dolphin: Kindness, play, bridge man to ocean, joy, harmony, connection with
self
Dove: Sexuality, love, passion, peace, gentleness
Dragon: Wisdom, nobility
Dragonfly: Flighty, carefree, skill, refinement, relentless
Eagle: Divine spirit, connection with creator, potency, healing power, illumination
Elephant: Long life, self-preservation
Elk: Strength, agility, freedom, stamina, pride, power, majesty
Fox: Cunning, provider, intelligence, camouflage, cleverness, sublety, discretion

Frog: Cleansing, peace, emotional healing
Giraffe: Watchfulness, mobility
Goat: Stubborn, omnivorous
Goose: Faithful, communicative, safe travel, love of home
Gorilla: Brute strength, adaptability
Grizzly Bear: Hunter, nature’s pharmacist
Hawk: Messenger, stopper of time, awareness, truth
Hedgehog: Self-preservation
Hippo: Linking water and earth, survival
Horse: Stamina, safe-mobility, strength, freedom, power
Hummingbird: Messenger, stopper of time, beauty, wonder, agility, joy
Kangaroo: Feisty, funloving
Kokopelli: Fertility, joy, music
Lion: Power, strength, respect
Lizard: Conservation, agility, dreaming, letting go, elusiveness
Loon: Solitude, song, romance, communication, serenity
Lynx: Secrets
Manatee: Peaceable, unassuming
Monkey: Playfulness, agility
Moose: Headstrong, unstoppable, longevity, self-esteem, unpredictable, spontaneous
Mountain Lion: Leadership
Mouse: Timid, secretive, sneaky, scrutiny, illusion, charm
Orca: Focus, power
Ostrich: Fickle, fast-moving
Otter: Laughter, curiosity, truth, patience, medicine(woman), joy, lightness

Owl: Wisdom, perseverance, vision, insight
Panda: Playful, kindness
Pelican: Ever watchful, grace
Penguin: Playful, loving
Pheasant: Confidence, attraction, perseverance
Pig: Intelligence, hunger, tenacity, diligence
Polar Bear: Fearlessness, power
Porcupine: Innocence, humility
Quail: Sacred spiral, ceremonial, holy, protective, group harmony
Rabbit: Alertness, resourceful, conquering fear, safety, innocence
Raccoon: Bandit, shy, determination
Ram: New-beginning, teacher, hoarder
Raven: Trickster, mischievous, mystery, exploration of the unknown
Rhino: Durability, strength
Road Runner: Speed, agility, cleverness
Salmon: Instinct, persistence, determination, trust, strength
Sandpiper: Quickness, foraging, scavenging
Scorpion: Defense, self-protection
Seagull: Carefree attitude, versality, freedom
Seahorse: Confidence, grace
Seal: Contentment
Shark: Hunter, survival
Skunk: Wary, conspicious, intense, caution, warning respect, reputation
Snauk: Perserverance, determination
Snake: Shrewdness, transformation, power, life-force, sexual potency
Spider: Creative, pattern of life, interconnectedness, industions, weaving
Squirrel: Trusting, innocence, thrift, gathering
Swan: Grace, balance, festive, elegance, nurturing, relationship, oneness
Thunderbird: Caller of rain
Turkey: Smart, elusive, give-away
Turtle: Self-contained creative source, mother earth, love, protection, healing,
knowledge
Unicorn: Redemption, salvation
Water Buffalo: Enormous strength, hard-working
Weasel: Stealth
Whale: Wisdom, power, cleanser, record-keeper, creativity, intuition
Wolf: Loyalty, success, perseverance, creativity, intuition, teacher Zebra:
Family-oriented, alert
Zuni Bear: Good health
Familiars
Alligator – survival, stealth
Antelope – speed, grace, rapid advancement
Bear – strength, introspection, self-knowledge
Beaver -building, shaping
Bee – service, gathering, community
Bird – unity, freedom, community
Buffalo – abundance – healing, good fortune
Butterfly – transformation, balance, grace
Caribou – travel, mobility
Cougar – balance, leadership
Coyote – humor, trickiness, reversal of fortune
Crane – balance majesty
Crow – council, wisdom, resourcefulness
Dolphin – joy, harmony, connection with self
Dragonfly – skill, refinement, relentlessness
Eagle – potency, healing, power, illumination
Elk – pride, power, majesty
Fox – cleverness, subtlety
Frog – cleansing, peace, emotional healing
Goat – tenacity, diligence
Goose – safe return, love of home
Hawk – awareness, truth
Hedgehog – self preservation
Horse – freedom, power, safe movement
Hummingbird – beauty, wonder, agility
Lizard – letting go, illusiveness
Loon – communication, serenity
Moose – unpredictability, spontaneity
Mouse – illusion, charm
Otter – joy, laughter, lightness
Owl – wisdom, vision, insight
Porcupine – innocence, humility
Rabbit – conquering fear, safety
Raven – mystery, exploration of the unkown
Salmon – determination, persistence
Sandpiper – quickness, foraging, scavenging
Seagull – careless attitude, versatility
Seal – contentment
Skunk – caution, warning
Snail – perseverance, determination
Snake – power, life force, sexual potency
Spider – web of life, interconnectedness, industry
Squirrel – trust, thrift
Swan – elegance, nurturing
Turtle – love and protection, healing, knowledge
Whale – creativity, intuition
Wolf – teaching skill
Elephant – luck, prosperity, memory
Feather – spirit


Top

Finding Spirit
by Raegan Mighton

Awakening to the Divine in Ourselves, Each Other and in All Living Things

This essay is just a beginning. The journey Home is eternal. I am proposing some simple steps to start us off on a new path, a path of Love.

Also, I refer to God and to Him and to He. Please substitute your own sacred name and gender so that you are comfortable. In my heart I believe that God equals Love and the answer to every question we will ever ask is simply that, Love.

Many years ago a Catholic priest once asked a group of teenagers a seemingly very simple question:

"Where do you see God?"

The answers were astounding, considering we were all devout Christians educated by the Bible, by nuns and by strict Catholic parents.

Where did we see God?

We saw God in the sunsets. We saw God in the eyes of a baby. We saw God in kittens. We saw God at Mass. We saw God in our friends. We saw God at Christmas. We saw God in a thunderstorm. We saw God at school. We saw God in music. We saw God in our parents, our brothers, our sisters. Some of us even saw God in our hearts. We saw God in the woods. We saw God in the most common places.

How did we manage to see God everywhere when we "knew" that God lives in Heaven?

Luckily, the priest never questioned or challenged our innocent answers. And gratefully, some of us in that small group have grown up still seeing our God in all those familiar places.


Separation

The question that follows however is one that resounds through time.

When do we stop seeing God? When does God relocate from our souls, our families, our familiar, to a place unreachable and invisible?

When does this separation occur? When do we stop feeling Him in our hearts and in our spirit? When do we stop seeing Him in our children, our friends, our neighbours, our fellow country men and our fellow humans.

When do we forget that we are all Divine sparks of His Universal Love and Light?

When do we forget the truth?

We forget all of this when we choose fear. It is fear and all its manifestations that turns us away from our own divinity.

Why?

I believe that there are as many reasons as there are manifestations but I will propose the simplest answer that I can. We choose fear because it is easy. Yes, easy.

If we acknowledge that God truly does exist in us then we have to treat ourselves in a way that honours this presence. Similarly if we acknowledge that God exists in all other living things then we have to honour this presence in other. Imagine this responsibility! Caring for God every day, all day! Showing love, respect, integrity, patience, compassion, generosity, service, to name only a few responsibilities, to ourselves and to each other every day when we can barely even commit to once a week? Believing that we are the Temple of His Love and that we have to care for this temple regularly? No, let’s put God in Heaven please!

Even more frightening than the responsibility of caring for an inner God, is the thought of the power and freedom that would accompany this truth.

In placing God outside of ourselves throughout these last centuries we have also placed our power outside of ourselves. We have placed God above us, on a throne so to speak, judging us, punishing us, praising us, blessing us, forgiving our sins, giving and taking from us, ruling us and making decisions for and about us, here and in the hereafter. He is our Father but His love is conditional.


Microcosmically, the image of a God of Judgment and Authority has manifested in our own world on every level. As children our parents had all the power, they

were the voices of authority. Remember that fitting quote; "children should be seen and not heard"?

As we grew, we learned to obey teachers, laws, institutions, governments (who we eventually re-elected), and so on until we no longer trusted or even heard our own voice. We learned that the Powers that Be knew more than we did. As we relinquished our power and our ability to master ourselves and our voice, we also gave away our selves. We became victims.

So then we had to try a new way of being heard. We cried, we blamed, we accused, we fought and we learned to separate from one another. We became fearful of each other as we believed that others had more than we did or that they wanted what we had. We began to perpetuate the cycle of victimization in all aspects of our lives. Some of us even chose life partners who could continue to make us feel that familiar feeling of disempowerment or worse yet abuse and disgrace. And on it goes.

The price we pay for choosing fear.

But, we have another choice.

Love.

And I believe the only way we can return to love is to begin to reignite that long lost spark within us.

And I am not saying that God is not above us. In fact He is above us. But He is also below us, remember the earth is round, beside us, in front and back of us and most importantly, within us. I believe that God resides in the most sacred place of all, our Soul.

And I am not saying that God is not our Father. He is our Father. But he is also our Mother, our sister, our brother, all of our family, he is our friend, our neighbour, our fellow humans, our natural world, he is All.


And how can we know this?

Awakening

We can begin by feeling it. As humans we have been blessed with our five senses, all transmitters connected to our brain in order to communicate a "feeling" of touch, sound, sight, smell or taste.

Take a moment and think about something that feels wonderful: looking into the eyes of a baby, the soft fur of a puppy or kitten, the smell of a rose or fresh rain, the sound of a beautiful instrument or voice, a baby’s first laugh, a work of art, a beautiful tree or waterfall, a lovely meal made by someone who loves us, the taste of fresh water on a hot day.

Our senses allow us at every moment to feel God, to feel Love in our souls, in our hearts in our minds and yes, in our bodies. So simple. Waking up to what is right in front of us.

Awareness

Once we begin to become aware of the feelings that our brain is communicating to us we can begin to monitor our thoughts about these feelings. We start noticing how we immediately qualify things. We will find that we usually qualify them as good or bad, or variations of that theme. We find that we pass judgment on things, situations, people and most of all ourselves.

As we become aware of our judgments we then can begin to monitor our thoughts. We become aware of what we find good or pleasing and what we find bad or displeasing. We see how this judgment defines what we like or love and what we don’t. We then can begin to use this awareness to look at the roots of our thoughts. Why do we judge something as good or bad for us. Is it because of our past experience? Is it because of the past experiences of others and being told by them that things are good or bad. Do we hear our grandmother’s voice warning, "That’s not good for you!" It is here where we can begin to try to hear our own voice.

After every judgment simply ask why or why not. Why is this not good for me? Then observe. Is the reason that you give yourself valid, is it current or is it even relevant? Shakespeare offers that "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so".

As we monitor our thoughts and become more and more aware of how we perceive things, through what filters, through whose eyes, we can slowly begin to

make new choices. Choices that are not from habit. Choices that come from ourselves. Choices that come from our heart and our soul. Choices that will begin to serve a higher purpose for our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. We may begin to choose acceptance. We may begin to choose equanimity. We may begin to choose forgiveness. We may begin to choose love.


Acceptance

Acceptance of the power of choice is then the beginning of the acceptance of the power of self. Do you see what is happening? We realize now that we can make choices and that we can trust ourselves to make the appropriate choices. We begin to hear our own voice again. We begin to honour our own decisions. Then we begin to honour the decisions and choices of others. We are free now not to judge one another because we know now that everyone has this same freedom of choice. And if we make a mistake that is okay. Coming from a place of non judgment teaches us that it isn’t really a mistake at all, it is just another opportunity to choose again. We get plenty of these opportunities! And if we are not sure what choice to make we can simply ask ourselves, "Does this choice come from a place of love or from a place of fear?"


Trust

By now miracles will have begun to happen. Inner nudges and winks reassure us that we are on the right track. And each time we make a choice that is love based, a new kind of feeling begins to stir deep within us. We begin to trust that we are making the right choices because our world around us is beginning to change. Slowly we feel more love not only radiating from us but also radiating towards us. We know and have proof from the study of molecules in biophysics that like attracts like, so we now begin to see and feel this attraction working around us.


Once we begin to accept ourselves again, and accept others again we begin to feel a deep connection to all that lives. How can we not, as we are encouraging ourselves to see the beauty and inherent goodness that lies within and without. We see the Love that exists within us and the Love that exists outside of us.

What we are beginning to see is God within us, once again. We are beginning to feel whole, once again. We are beginning to feel communion, once again.


The spark has been ignited, once again.


So where does this lead to? It leads us to empowerment. It leads us to freedom. It leads us to responsibility of self and therefore responsibility of other. It leads us to forgiveness. It leads us to service, service to others so that they may find their voice again and feel the same love inside of them that we now feel inside of us.

It leads us Home, Home to Ourselves, Home to God.


Yoga and spirituality in addiction treatment
by Holger Lüttich

Preface

The issue of this Thesis is "Yoga and spirituality in addiction treatment". But my spiritual education bases on studies of many religious fields looks like as following:

1st 1. Die Bhagavad Gita oder das Hohe Lied (Arnold)

2. Die Schönsten Upanishaden (Dispeker)

3. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (Venkatesananda)

2nd 1. Yoga als universelle Wissenschaft (Krishnananda)

2. Mystik und Freude (Bhanyopadhyay)

3. Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Swatmarama)

3rd 1. Yoga Psychologie (Ungert)

2. Therapie der Sucht (Dr. Gumpert)

3. Der Yogaweg aus Sucht und Anhängigkeit (Cunningham)

4th 1. Die Lotusblüte bekommt Stacheln. Yoga und Gesellschaft (Dr. Täube)

2. Arise Arjuna: Hinduismus and the Modern World (Frawley)

3. Ancient India and Historical Issues (Frawley)

5th 1. Im Zeitalter der Sucht. Wege aus der Anhängigkeit (Shaefff)

2. Psychische Störungen und Sucht: Doppeldiagnose (Moggi)

3.Sucht und Suchtkrankheiten. Ursachen – Symptome -Therapien.

6th 1. The Art of Yoga (Iyengar)

2. Neti – Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda (Frawley)

3. The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan

Those lectures I studied seriously (1991 to 2007). The serious study increased my knowledge.

Thus I developed more authority in my job. As a well-educated Counsellor and Yoga Therapist I can better help people when they are unsure about their life path.

Those are some information about my spiritual background. The time is now to start…


Introduction

For three thousand years yoga ("yoga" = re-connection of a person with the higher being) has been helping people in the eastern world to keep their bodies healthy and their minds free of stress. Today our modern life is fulfilled with stress. The rate of physical, mental and spiritual disorders rises more and more. For example, cases of addiction are a rising problem in the western world.

German scientists say: one in three people suffers from any kind of addiction (à Gumpert, http://www.dr-gumpert.de/html/sucht.html et al. ). It is something that touches us all at some point in our lives.

I believe that addiction is not only a bio-chemical disease, but also it’s an emotional, and a mental and a (mainly) spiritual "dis-ease" with physiological and genetic components. Just treating the physical components is not enough to allow alcoholics or heroin addicts to change their life. They need "more" – in my view it’s vitally important to treat the emotional, mental and spiritual roots of diseases as well. In my opinion all diseases are caused by internally dis-harmony or dis-balance. And even I mean, diseases are results of spiritual disharmony and dis-connection. In my belief this includes hereditary and genetically transmitted diseases – including alcoholism and other addictions – which – consequently – are the results of many years or generations of spiritual disconnection and emptiness.


No healing without spiritual (re-) connection

12-Step-Programs of Alcoholics Anonymous (see below) and Yoga are two wonderful paths dealing with spiritual concepts and healing modalities.

I think, addiction causes a separation of the person: (1) from her/his true self, (2) from meaningful, loving, freely chosen relationships with other people (family, friends etc.) and

(3) from the Divine – however Divine is understood (= the higher power, the supreme mind, the great mother, the divine feminine etc.).

I am strongly convinced that recovery from addiction needs to encompass spiritual healing: a process of re-connection/ re-union with the true self, personal surrounding, and God/Godess. Since 1993 the National HealthCare Institute (USA) has presented the clinical research of spiritual subjects – a bibliography in four weighty volumes. An impressive amount in investigations proves that a faith in God or a higher being influences the health positively.

Yoga and the 12 steps are my favourites. I see many commons (and also a few differences, but nothing substantial) between 12 Steps and Yoga. I am a Yoga Teacher, and I believe that the 12-Step-Programs – more ideal in combination with Yoga – are the best hope for not only stopping addiction but also living a happy life. In fact, I believe that the principles behind 12-step recovery are a wonderful key to a harmonious life for everyone, addicts and non-addicts alike.

In my belief the 12 Steps of the AA Programs fit very well with the first two limbs of the Raja Yoga (Raja means "Royal") path . the Yamas and Niyamas.

> The Yamas (= rungs for the relationship with others) are:

· Non-harming (2.35), AHIMSA

· Truthfulness (2.36), SATYA

· Non-stealing (2.37), ASTEYA

· Remembering/Connceting the higher reality (2.38) BRAHMACARYA

· Non-possessiveness (2.39). APARIGRAHA

The Yamas are restraints on behaviour; so that people shouldn’t harm their fellow humans.

> The Niyamas (= rungs for the relationship with yourself) are:

· Purifying of body and mind (2.40-2.41) SHAUCA

· Cultivating an attitude of contentment and good feeling (2.42) SANTOSHA

· Training the senses, Self Discipline (2.43) TAPAS

· Inner exploration, Self Study (2.44) SVADYAYA

· Letting go into the spiritual source (2.45). ISHVARA PRANIDANA

Niyama is a positive concept. A person should observe certain principles of discipline and adopt a joyful attitude to life. Yamas and Niyamas correspond in many kinds to christian ideas, e.g. the ten commandments, or to the buddhist noble eightfold path.

(à Patanjalis Yoga Sutras, ressource: http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm)


A view on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

I agree very much with the AA basics thoughts of disease and health. As it says in the AA Blue Book: "No human power can relieve alcoholism. God can and will." (à http://www.aa-uk.org.uk/alcoholics-anonymous-reviews/2005/04/dangerously-liquid-world.html) Without God in the life of the addicts it may be very impossible to release their past or make sense of it. If people believe in a higher power, they can overcome anything, including addiction.

1st step of AA:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

"Do not fight", "do not addict for battles and victories", "dedicate yourselves" – …are also subjects of the yoga philosophy. Yoga teaches an acceptance of a power which is greater than the individual. Yoga teaches how people can let go the ego-involved concepts. The 1st step of the AA corresponds with the principle of Satya , truthfulness. Truthfulness means: not to deceive themselves… to admit to themselves also disagreeable things, e.g. if one has done a mistake. Also the first rung of the limbs, non-harming, corresponds with the 1st AA step. Disciples surrender the battle with themselves. They stop to injure themselves. Non-harming also means friendliness, attention and thoughtfulness – a well-considered contact with all living beings and with them-selves.

Yoga works on mental and physical levels. Yoga disciples experience the "Letting go" via Asanas (postures), Pranayama (breath work) and Meditations (see below, e.g. in the chapter "Exercises").

2nd step of AA:

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Practices of Yoga open us for a very real and tangible experience of a transcendent consciousness: a strong power which can cure us. But: this power is also a part of us. It’s in us. Some also call this power: the "internal doctor". The internal doctor heals… if we give "him" plenty of rope… if we do not suppress him… if we support him. So that he can do his work, we can do gentle exercises and take gentle means. A therapy only with chemicals and suppression is: Himsa (violence). This contradicts the Yoga Yamas (see above). Also Brahmacarya corresponds with these 2nd step. The word Brahmacarya means "to move in or with Brahma", thought as the ultimate (higher) reality. One can see this generally as walking in harmony with the Tao, or Dharma, or God’s Will. According to Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutra, the practice of Brahmacarya yields vitality.

All divisions of Hinduism see the purpose of life in God’s realisation.

3rd step of AA:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

This saying, "Help, I can’t do this all myself", is a very important point in the Yogic pathway, as described in the Bhagavad Gita, – one of the ancient yogic scriptures from India. In a key scene Arjuna, the hero fighter, is on the battlefield (metaphorically the battle for the control of the mind over the painful thoughts). Among the warriors on both sides, Arjuna found brothers, uncles, teachers, sons, nephews and friends – to whom he was bound by a thousand ties of love, respect, and affection. Arjuna knows he devoutly wishes to avoid this battle, and doesn’t know what to do. He turns to his friend Krishna, who is in the war chariot with him and says: (Ch2:7) "I am weighted down with weak-mindedness. I am confused and cannot understand my duty. I beg of you to say for sure what is right for me to do. I am your disciple. Please help me for I have taken refuge in you." Krishna explains to Arjuna that the aging body and the wavering mind enclose a divine essence – the serene soul. The immortal soul can be liberated from it’s mortal confines by realizing that all turmoil experienced by the body and the mind is a product of ignorance and attachment. To facilitate this realization, Krishna offers the techniques known as Yoga.

There is also a great parallelism between the 3rd step of AA and Ishvara Pranidhana – the 5th rung of Niyama. The challenge here is to corporate with our higher, spiritual Self in a more positive and creative way.

4th step of AA:

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali describes the yogic tools for making a fearless inventory: meditation and introspection. Yoga says that the human mind is subject to certain weaknesses: avidya-wrong notions (ignorance) of the external world, asmita-wrong notions (egoism) of the external world, asmita-wrong notions of oneself (a fault of a narrow view of life), raga-longing (lust) and attachment for sensory objects and affections, dweshad is like and hatred for objects and persons, and abinivesha or the love of a soulless life are the five defects of the mind that must be removed. Yoga, the constant meditation and introspection eradicate these mental flaws. The Yoga Sutras define (the goals of) Yoga: "Yogash chitta-vritti-nirodhah." That means: Yoga is the control (nirodhah = regulation, channeling, mastery, integration, co-ordination, stilling, quieting, setting aside) of the modifications (gross and subtle thought patterns) of the mind field. Yoga Therapy is a deep process of deconstructing all the barriers people may have erected that prevent them from having an authentic connection with their real Self and with the world around them. In my opinion using Mantras is very helpful in Yoga Therapy.

A Mantra is simply a sound, word or phrase that is repeated over and over during Meditation. A disciple sings a word like "OM". The OM influences the disciple’s sub-conscience. A Mantra is a powerful device which frees the sub-conscience of all such shackles. Hence Mantra works subtly to remove all craving for drinks or to smoke pot from the addicts sub-conscience (see below).

Yogic mental releasing has been explained in the yogic literature on the basis of the asakti (attachment), anasakti (non-attachment), vairagya (detachment) model which has been presented by Bhushan (à Bhushan, L.I., A yogic model of mental health. Indian Journal of Psychological Issues, 1 / 1994). According to that model the asakti and the vairagya are the two extreme points of a continuum with anasakti being in the middle. Asakti means attraction with expectation and ego involvement towards certain individuals or objects. These causes raga, dwesha and ahamkara which often manifest as anxiety, aggression, a high need for recognition and possessiveness (e.g. Satya Sai Baba, 9. From Annam To Ananda). As a result, persons high in asakti often suffer from tension, depression, addiction and other internal problems. On the other hand, vairagya is the height of the nivritti way of life. It means complete detachment or non-dependence on material things and personalized relationships – the radical way of the monks and ancient yogis which is not practicable for the most members of the modern society. "Up-to-date Yoga" prefers anasakti as the middle way to enjoy lasting happiness and peace without being involved or disturbed by asakti.

Modern, simplified Yoga can be an integrate part of everyday life.

5th step of AA:

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs

That’s Svadhyaya – Self-Study. To study oneself is to uncover one’s blind spots, ignorance, attachments and aversions. I soon discover that svadhyaya has nothing to do with selfishness and much to do with the depth of human spiritual reality. "Satsang" is an aspect of svadhyaya. That’s a profound experience of finding that others will accept us as we truly are, imperfections and all included. In a Satsang – a meeting of people with a spiritual master – people can also experience Satya – Truthfulness.

In my belief self-forgiveness is a very important part of this step. Before addicts can truly move forward they need to forgive themselves. Forgive themselves for not knowing better. Forgive themselves for poor choices. Forgive themselves for staying. Forgive themselves for going. Forgive themselves for hurting others and for abusing drugs, alcohol, shopping, working or whatever their addiction may be. In my believe God is Forgiveness. In my faith God is gentle. He does not punish. He does not forgive – because there is nothing to forgive. God loves – this is everything. He loves everybody. Everybody, as well as he is. Everybody, with "good" and "bad" qualities. No Last Judgement! No everlasting hell! That’s my faith. I now want to ask: If God is so gentle, why people can’t forgive themselves?

6th step of AA:

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Ishvara Pranidhana – the 5th rung of the Niyamas – means: Centering on the Divine. In the yogic scriptures the attune to God is the observance of stepping outside of the ego and connecting with the Highest Good, the Cosmos, Supreme Consciousness, the energy that pervades all life. ( à e.g.: Goswami Kriyananda, The Spiritual Science of Kriya Yoga, Temple of Kriya Yoga, 2002). Also, this step of the AA corresponds with Santosha, contentment, equanimity, ready to accept whatever is necessary for our own growth.

7th step of AA:

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Worship and prayer are a part of Yoga. These are good skills to connect with the higher being. One can put the remainder into God’s hands. That’s Ishvara Pranidhana again. Ishvara Pranidhana means: by prayer and worship disciples should release themselves and get aware of fears and doubts. God means it good with people and shows them the correct way. In one of the Upanishads we can read:

"More finely than the finest; the creator of all things encloses the only universe. Who recognises HIM in the heart of all beings inherent, reaches everlasting joy" (Svetasvatara Upanishad, www.sanatan.intnet.mu/upanishads/svetasvatara.htm).

8th step of AA:

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Shaucha, cleanliness – the practitioner should cleaning up the messes he has made. "When cleanliness is developed, it reveals what needs to be constantly maintained, and what is eternally clean. What decays is the external. What does not is deep within us" (TKV.Desikachar, Yoga Sutra II.40). Prayer, Asanas, Meditation and positive mental attitude help in observation of this principle. Also, Shaucha includes the practice of Kriyas, a variant of cleansing techniques ranging from methods meant to address the hygiene of the physical body to methods meant to bring balance to the energetic body. Some Kriyas are quite familiar to most of us, including brushing and flossing the teeth, cleaning the tongue, and flushing the sinuses with warm salted water (neti ).

The 8th step of the AA program corresponds also with Asteya, non-stealing in the form of returning, if possible, whatever we might have taken (on a psychological dimension). "When not-taking-things is devotedly practised, the greatest of treasures appear" (Kofi Busia, Yoga Sutras 2.37, www.kofibusia.com/level_2_patanjali/yoga_sutras.html). Asteya upholds forgoing the unauthorised possession of thought, speech and action. Asteya stands against

covetousness and envy. It advocates the cultivation of a
sense of completeness and self-sufficiency in order to progress beyond base cravings.
Shrii Sarkar says the best way to practice non-stealing is auto-suggestion right
from childhood. If this and all other moral codes are imbibed right from childhood,
then later in life one can resist any and all temptations. (Srii Sarkar, Light
Comes, Anand Marga Pub., Calcutta 1986)
9th step of AA:
Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would
injure them or others.
Ahimsa, non-harming: who hurts other humans must adjust it. Active non-harming
is a way of healing. But: ahimsa is not synonymous with absolute non-violence.
Violence can be used in self-defence, but only after non-violent means were applied
and deemed ineffective. Therefore, violence is acceptable when it is the only
way left to protect oneself.
Asteya, non-stealing: rectification or returning something that a person took
for himself.
Tapas, self-discipline: compensation is a hard piece of work. It requires overcoming
and strength. Give up wrong pride. See the truth. These are "oblations".
But maybe it helps to build up new relationships and friendships. During the addiction
the addicts had neglected their friendships, and later lost friends and familiars.
They became isolated and – maybe – more and more depressive.

10th step of AA:

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Continuous Svadhyaya, or self-study, self inquiry. This step encourages the practitioner to continue with the inventory. As in the Yoga it’s to be practised daily. Errors should be admitted immediately – that means Satya, truthfulness. I found out by my practitioner experience that’s necessary to practise Yoga daily in order to make a deep internal progress. One hour per week is not enough. One needs a continous and systematic exercise.

11th step of AA:

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

While encouraging Prayer and Meditation, the 12-Step Program does not give specific guidelines on how this is done. AA steps are not only fixed to the Christian pathway. Everybody with an open spiritual mind can do it: Buddhists, Yogis and others. Yoga can bring the AA principles in a successful practise. Yoga gives clear instructions on how to pray and how to meditate through study of the limbs of the 8-Limb-Path of Raja Yoga (= "Royal Yoga") as following:

1. yamas (restraints)

2. niyamas (observances)

3. asanas (physical postures)

4. pranayama (breath work)

5. pratyahara (sense withdrawal, turning inward)

6. dharana (concentration)

7. dhyana (meditation)

8. moksha (liberation, enlightenment)

In exploring these 8 limbs, a practitioner starts by refining his behaviour in the outer world and subsequently turn his focus inwards until he reaches moksha (enlightenment).


12th step of AA:

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Egoism isn’t a good way. Life is taking and giving. Yoga agrees with this guiding principle of the AA. Helping others is a part of Yoga. Within the Yamas of Patanjali the principle of Aparigraha, non-hoarding, is very important. Yogis don’t keep spiritual awakening only for themselves; they share it with the rest of the universe.

The Gita says:

"As the ignorant men act from attachment to action, O Bharata (Arjuna), so should the wise act without attachment, wishing the welfare of the world".

(B.G., ch.3, Verse 25.)

Helping others is also a part of Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. These kinds of Yoga are described from Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. (à http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/ )


Yoga limbs as help for addicts

> Asana (physical postures) and Pranayama (breath work):

Using very strong asanas e.g. can help to overcome alcohol dependence (Niranjananda, Yoga and Addiction, http://www.yogamag.net/archives/2000/6nov00/yogandad.shtml et al.). In my job – an addiction therapy centre – I developed an Asana/Pranayama-Program which showed significant effects. I instructed 8 disciples – a one-year-group of alcohol addicts – in a program of strong physical exercises. The main exercises were: Sun Salutation, Breath-of-Fire and Kirtan Kriya (see below, chapter "Exercises"). I recorded the scientific results: the craving rate sank from 100 percent at the 1st lesson to 15 percent at the 20th lesson. In the same time the periods of craving-free times have doubled. The rates of pulsation beats (measured in each case at the end of lessons) sank from 102 per minute to 81 per minute. The breathing rates sank from an average of 29 per minute to 18 per minute. The participants estimated their self-esteem like in the following. At the 1st lesson it was near by 45 percent on a scale from

0 to 100. After the 20th lesson the self-esteem reached about 85 percent. Before the start of the yoga training only 2 of 8 participants did any kind of sports. After the 20th lesson all the 8 participants did sports several times a week. To measure the muscular relaxing I used a self-developed "knee-bend-test". At the first lesson the participants could hold out the testing only 8 seconds. After the 20th lesson the participants had the force to keep up the test more than

95 seconds.

> Pratyahara

Pratyahara is withdrawal of the senses. Pratyahara occurs during meditation, breath work or Asanas – any time when the practitioner directs his attention inward. To concentrate the mind is a battle with the distracting senses. When a disciple masters Pratyahara, he is able to focus.

> Dharana (Concentration)
Concentration or Dharana includes teaching the mind to focus on one point or
image. Patanjali says: "Concentration is binding thought in one place"(à
Link see above). The intention is to relax the mind: by fixing the mind on an
object such as a candle flame, a flower, god or a mantra superfluous thoughts
are pushed away gently. In Dharana, concentration is effortless. You know the
mind is concentrating when there is no sense of time passing. How is the connection
to addiction? Really, Dharana-meditation is very important and helpful for an
addicted person. Persons with problems always have a restless mind. Meditation
provides the disciple with a natural, medicine-free experience of calmness.
With a quiet mind the practitioner has a higher capacity to cope with his emotions,
being more and more able to face his duties.

Ressource: http://pulsarnet.com/cw/images/chart2.gif

EFFECT OF YOGA NIDRA ON EEG:

yogapoint.com/images/brain4.jpg

Addiction (Seek) in comparison to Yoga (Find)

Fjodor Dostojewski said that the people of all cultures want to be spiritually contented. For spiritual contentment the society should fulfil three wishes: ecstasy, mysteries and spiritual guidance… three wishes which are more important than all material satisfactions. Addicts seem to promise to themselves the fulfilment of their wishes by drug consumption – for example, ecstasy by "ecstasy", miracles by "mushrooms" and spiritual guidance by "LSD".

At my work-place I get to know the deeper motives of addicts every day. Their addiction is not based simply on weakness, criminal energy or similar one. Their addiction is often an answer to the spiritual emptiness in the midst of the material abundance society.

Ø Ectasy: it means to transcend yourself, to go beyond what you are able to think, know and believe. Yoga awakes this ecstasy within yourself and re-inspires the joy of being alive. The ecstatic energy is called "Kundalini". Yoga Asanas and Pranayamas help to awake this energy. They boost the body and the mind on a higher level. Kundalini gives the brain much power and fills the heart with a feeling of deep cosmic love and happiness. Another way leading to energy and ecstasy is Chanting. Chanting means singing spiritual texts and repeating the names of Gods/Godesses: this relaxes the mind, dissolves worries, and brings forth wisdom and joy. A song from the Rig Veda describes the words of a chant as "bright birds that fly to the heavens." Swami Muktananda referred to chanting as "a subtle tonic that nourishes the inner being, imparts spiritual strength, and purifies the mind and heart." (Sw. Muktananda, Meditate – Happiness lies within you, SYDA Found., USA 1999)

Ø Mysteries: yoga teaches, how the practitioner can dive deep into wonderful mysteries, into the teachings of karma (it means the cycle of cause and reaction), dharma (right way of living and way to the higher truth), reincarnation (concept of re-birthing after the death), god-realization, self-realization and moksha (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth and all the suffering and limitation connected with the embodied worldly existence). Studying the Vedas is one way to find the deeper mysteries of life. The Vedas contain beautiful hymns, incantations, and rituals from ancient India.

Ø Spiritual guidance: Yoga Teachers and Gurus (Master Teachers) give guidance in innumerable talks and letters, lessons and trainings. The guidance helps people to see with clarity the beauty of the true nature and reflects that greatness back to the people from the level of the heart. Guidance returns people again and again to the greater perspective of the soul when people lose their centre amidst daily conflicting demands on the emotional energies.

Today the big mainstream churches don’t offer an alternative to the soulless culture: they don’t give love on to humans, don’t accept different opinions and strive for worldly things. People are looking for alternate ways to keep and change their life… Those who really are searching for Spirituality, are confronted with thousands of offers and become confused, unable to distinguish the true from the false. Yoga is a good help for these seekers.

Life is more than making money and hunting for a higher "status" (power etc.). Money can fill the purse, but not the heart. A higher "status" can not open the mind to heaven. Man likes to have transcendence in his life. Not only his work, his everyday life and his problems. He also wants affiliation, ease, merging. He wishes to feel himself as part of the Divine – loved, honoured. And he likes to be creative and to be seen – not to manufacture soulless things, to buy unreasonable products or to keep unsatisfactory relations…

In Germany we say: one comes to the crossroad (that means one has the choice): Drugs or Spirituality…?

Epilog

Yoga is an all-encompassing system with its emphasis on consciousness as the primary reality. Yoga helps to overcome the powerful negative forces of the sub- consciousness – that means: it’s grievous emotions and negative fixations/attachments. In my opinion Yoga offers invaluable tools for psychotherapy, education, management and social work. Prof. Rao stressed that Yoga has global relevance and can reduce the glaring and unhealthy asymmetry between outer and inner science (à http://www.isro.org/pressrelease/Aug31_2004.htm).

Unfortunately, the use of Yoga in addiction treatment centres is certainly not part of mainstream therapy. Where Yoga has been integrated into addiction recovery, it tends to mirror the growing trend of treating disease holistically.

In this time in Germany yoga has developed more or less as a relaxing program for healthy people, but not as a powerful therapy in the treatment of the common diseases – like addiction.

I hope there will be a change. The results from Yoga-Practise and Research show that Yoga (in the wide field from mainstream medicine to psychology) can people offer an extremely effective help to vanquish addictions, fears and psychic problems.

In my practical work as Addiction- and Yoga-Therapist I have discovered the effectiveness of Yoga methods against addiction diseases. I also study untiringly the literature to understand the "secular" (physical) backgrounds of the Yoga effects (e.g. Holthaus Stephanie M. A, Phenomenological Study: Yoga During Recovery from Drugs or Alcohol, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2004. UMI No. 3144563). Scientists deal with yoga research since decades (à Shannahoff-Khalsa, An Introduction to Kundalini Yoga Meditation Techniques that are Specific for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2004;10(1). et al). Some Doctors and Yoga-Teachers in Europe, India and the US succeed over and over again in confirming the effects of Yoga – and in delivering scientific explanations for this purpose (à Prayer and Spirituality in Health [CAM at the NIH, Winter 2005].et al.). I also found out that there have been more than 100 rigorous studies over 30 years. Yoga practices targeting addictions are effective in decreasing substance usage; at least as effective as such traditional addictions approaches as cognitive-behavioural and dynamic psychotherapies (à www.evelynzak.com/addiction.pdf ). Possibly yoga has more long-lasting treatment effects. Yoga practices are a wonderful adjunct to Alcoholics Anonymous. The research overall presents amazing results (see above).

That’s why I think Yoga should be integrated more and more in a holistic treatment of addictions and other common diseases.

Exercises

A) Sun Solution

I use the following instruction in my courses.

Ressource from www.yogaelements.com/2005/images/visual/elements1.jpg

B) "BREATH of FIRE"

This breath technology should clean " the blood at 3 minutes " (Thomas Wesselhöft, Kundalini Yoga, Falken, Frankfurt 1999) and gives a lot of energy. Besides it is a deep belly-breathing up to the diaphragm. While inhaling one presses the belly outside. Breathing out one pulls the belly with the same intensity inside. In the beginning one can do it slowly to remain in a steady rhythm; later on if one has built it up, he can do it about two sniffs per second. It has to be paid attention not to vary from fire breathing into paradoxical breathing. Also the posture of the head must be taken into consideration (the chin is pulled softly downwards), so that no pressure feeling is developed in the head.

Position for the breath of fire:

….indian style sitting

Attention – I clearly define the breath of fire as an advanced technique to be practised only by advanced students after appropriate instruction. The research of this technique continues. (e.g.: à Shannahoff-Khalsa DS, Sramek BB, Kennel MB. Hemodynamic observations on a yogic breathing technique claimed to help eliminate and prevent heart attacks: a pilot study. J Altern Complement Med 2004; Oct, 10(5):757-766.)


C) "KIRTAN KRIYA"

"Go in the start posture: sartorial seat. The back is straight, the hands lie with the palms upwards on the knees. Inhale, exhale. Meanwhile compress thumb and forefinger and sing the syllable SA. Inhale, exhale. Meanwhile compress thumb and middle finger and sing the syllable TA. Inhale, exhale. Meanwhile compress thumb and ring finger and sing the syllable NA. Inhale, exhale. Meanwhile compress thumb and small finger and sing the syllable MA. The duration of the practise is about 12 minutes totally divided in 4 parts: 3 min. of medium loud-chanting, 3 min. whispers, 3 min. only internal chanting, 3 min. medium loudly again." (instruction of myself)

The electric load of the body changes by bringing the finger tips together. Forefingers and ring fingers are electrically negative in relation to the other fingers.

"Kirtan Kriya … produced an increase in attention, concentration, and short-term memory," says Tucson-based physician Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. He illustrated the effects of the Kriya by scanning the brains of eleven patients with Single Photon Emission Computerised Tomography. The study was executed at the Amen Clinic – in corporation with San Diego University ( à http://www.yogitimes.com/los_angeles/articles/07_2005/healthyyogi.html ).

References

All References are included in the text (see above).


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