I’ve enjoyed sixty-three Christmases with family and friends. Most of them were at home in the suburbs just south of Vancouver, and in the charming old heart of Vienna. A few were in rural India. One was in New Jersey, and one in North Carolina. Although all of these occasions bring back colourful memories of abundance and joy, one of the most memorable happened when I was, internally and externally, quite down and out — at the bottom of a long dive that was about to transform into a steady ascent that is still bringing me higher and higher today. Forty years ago, Christmas 1981 (before portable telephones, personal computers, The Internet, etc.) I was living in a ‘shack by the railroad track’, on the edge of a wealthy neighbourhood. At this time of my life I used to have my place open to parties with local peers on the weekends. On Monday I would cash-in all the beer bottles to buy a bit of food for the week. My fridge was always empty (except for all the alcohol from Friday to Sunday). On this occasion I came back to my humble home late Christmas evening and opened the fridge for some reason. I can’t describe to you my utter surprise when I FOUND IT PACKED FULL OF EVERY IMAGINABLE FOOD! Although I tried to find out who did it, none of my many smiling friends would admit to doing the deed. I still don’t know. When I moved back to Canada twenty years later, a mature married man who had traveled the world and enjoyed undreamed of wonderful experiences, it was about a year before I ran into one of the old crowd (back in the 1970s, a couple hundred teenagers, and then young adults, in North Delta). My heart sprang open and my chest was filled with gravity-defying mirth! Then that same day I ran into three more old buddies in various locations, between ten and thirty kilometers apart, something I consider nothing less than a miracle. (As a result I ended up organizing a reunion that brought about a hundred and fifty of us back together for a nostalgic gathering.)
One thing that life has taught me is that Friendship is the highest form of love (collective consciousness). Even in a family, if the members aren’t ‘friends’, there’s no real bond. May the whole world become a family of best friends.
An artist’s depiction of possibly the first historical mention (Bible) of the cool breeze https://wemeditate.com/subtle-system/kundalini (“Wind of the Holy Spirit”) and flowing waves of light (“Tongues of Flames”) above the heads of Self-realized human beings:
We all seem to be climbing a great mountain, some slower, some quicker. Up here near the summit we discover that we are free from the bindings of our egos, conditionings and physical bodies — that we exist permanently above and beyond these limitations. In Rhonda Byrne’s new book, The Greatest Secret, I was happy to hear that deep experiences I’ve been having for almost forty years, through the teachings of Shri Mataji and the practice of Sahaja Yoga meditation, are becoming mainstream. This isn’t because of mass media, but because human beings are asking the right questions and feeling reality within themselves. But I find that this new book, although it beautifully describes thoughtless-awareness and natural detachment from internal and external complications, is missing much of the detail that so many of us have experienced through daily, actual meditation. Among the most prominent phenomena is the amazing ‘cool breeze’ that flows in our central nervous systems when human beings attain joyful equilibrium. Also missing are the details of the workings of our subtle-systems of energy centers and channels, and the benevolent Kundalini energy in our spines.
Of course, the highest priority is the deep, silent meditation itself, a natural, essential state that should be achieved by all. But The Greatest Secret is only a glimpse through the window of enlightenment. Just sayin’. https://wemeditate.co
• Meditators showed around 7% more grey matter, the largest published difference between healthy groups.
• As grey matter decreases with age and with most mental illnesses, this difference throughout the brain is associated with a younger and healthier brain.
• The grey matter difference was more marked in areas related to the control of attention and emotions.
An investigation on the influence of mental silence in the human brain has just been published in the magazine Plos One. The article is entitled: “Larger whole brain grey matter associated with long-term Sahaja Yoga Meditation: a detailed area by area comparison”. The original text is available at the following link:https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237552
It is said that, for more than forty thousand years, human beings have a language that allows us to communicate with precision, that language is reproduced within our brain as thoughts without interruption. When negative thoughts are repeated in vicious cycles, our mental health can be affected with issues such as stress, anxiety or depression.
Today there is plenty of scientific literature that shows that being with the attention in the present moment, in the here and now, is beneficial for our psyche and our general health. Unfortunately, thoughts take us out of the present moment and to stop the thoughts for a long time is not easy, especially when we are not doing tasks that demands much attention.
Yoga includes many different techniques, among which meditation (Dhayana in classical yoga) plays a leading role. The first yoga treatise, “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, mentions that “yoga is the suppression of the modifications of the mind.” In ancient yoga a higher state of consciousness has been described, called “Nirvichara Samadhi”, which can be translated as “mental silence” or “thoughtless awareness”. In this state, the mind is calm, with a feeling of inner bliss, and with the attention focused on the present moment. Sahaja Yoga Meditation puts into practice the goals of classical Yoga to achieve the state of Nirvichara or mental silence.
Researchers led by Professor Sergio Elías Hernández from the University of La Laguna in Tenerife (ULL), in collaboration with scientists from King’s College London University, Jaume I University of Castellón and Sermas of Madrid, have been exploring for more than ten years the benefits of the state of mental silence on the human brain.
The study was carried out at the ULL MRI scanner, where the researchers recorded the brain anatomy of 23 meditator volunteers, experts in Sahaja Yoga meditation, and 23 non-meditating volunteers. Both groups were made up of healthy volunteers and both groups did not differ in age, educational level, ethnicity, proportion of men and women, etc.
To better understand this study, we must mention that the brain tissue is classified, according to its appearance, into three types: grey matter, made up of neuronal bodies and interconnections, (dark grey in resonance images); the white matter, formed by nerve fibers or long connections between distant areas, (light grey in the resonance images), and the cerebrospinal fluid or watery substance that fills the interior voids and serves as protection and transport of chemical substances.
The study of brain anatomy showed that meditators had, on average, 7% more grey matter in the whole brain. This type of comparison of the grey matter of the brain has been made in recent years among other groups in: athletes, musicians, taxi drivers, Buddhists, mindfulness meditators, etc. In these cases, the analyses showed that the group studied had local differences, greater grey matter, in brain areas associated with their specific practice, but the difference was never in the whole brain as it is the case with mental silence. The difference of 7% larger grey matter is especially significant if one takes into account that our brain loses between 0.15% and 0.3% of grey matter per year and small differences in grey matter can mark whether or not we keep intact our cognitive functions. It should be also noted that diseases, typical of the elderly, such as Alzheimer’s, senile dementia or Parkinson’s are also associated with loss of grey matter.
An advance of this study was published in the same journal Plos One in 2016, but the available methodology did not allow a detailed study to be made to see how the grey matter differences were distributed in the different areas of the brain. Given the uniqueness of the group differences observed throughout the whole brain, the researchers had to develop a specific statistical method (ad- hoc) to be able to evaluate these differences, area by area. Of all the brain areas, the grey matter difference was significantly larger in meditators in the right temporal lobe, an area associated with emotions, and in both frontal lobes, areas associated with cognitive and emotional self-control functions.
Study authors: Sergio Elías Hernándeza*, Roberto Dortab, José Sueroc, Alfonso Barros-Loscertalesd, José Luis González-Morae, Katya Rubiaf
a: Departamento de Ingeniería Industrial, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
b: Departamento de Matemáticas, Estadística e Investigación Operativa, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
c: Centro de Salud Jazmín, Sermas, Madrid, Spain. d: Departamento de Psycología, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain. e: Departamento de Fisiología, Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain f: Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, Londres, UK.
*Author for more information: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Two weeks before May 5, 1982, I learned how to meditate (really meditate, in thoughtless awareness, feeling the benevolent effects of my very own kundalini energy in me). Now Sahaja Yoga is celebrating 50 years of establishing global transformation, from a time when meditation was viewed as an esoteric hobby, to the present when it’s recommended worldwide by health experts for its universal balancing and integrative effects.
How time flies. Today it’s been half-a-century since that crucial sprouting that’s since risen into this majestic tree. Then, for me, it was still a 12-year-old sapling that has gradually lifted me into reality.
It’s so peaceful and fulfilling up here. Thank You, Shri Mataji, and everyone that has dedicated their lives to establishing this essential metamorphosis. 🦋🌳
Here in the twenty-first century, moving amongst us are personages of past renown marked now not by outstanding appearance or popular appreciation, but by the inner treasures they radiate: universal benevolence and the germinating power of enlightenment. A Sunrise approaches that will reveal all the sublime glory of life — not on any media display, but in the hearts of human beings. Look within. That precious hour is upon us.
“We are indeed larvae, eating our way through Earth’s resources in a mindless, caterpillar fashion, but I believe that the imago is already beginning to stir within. When the ‘climate’ is right, it will break out not as some sort of super computer but as an organic being [collective consciousness] that will embody all of the Supernature and look back on technology as a childhood toy.”
In case you ever wondered if it would be possible to enjoy Brigitte Saugstad‘s beautiful statues wherever you go: Now you can! If you live in the USA or Europe, just visit one of the three following Amazon addresses that go to:
“Happy Diwali 2018!” Festival of Light 🌞💗🌞💗🌞💗🌞 (benevolent grace in Greece)
If the ancient waters and coastlines could speak, what amazing tales they could tell us!
Have you ever spontaneously flown somewhere, not knowing what to expect but feeling a rare thrill rising in your heart? When my wife first heard that many of our friends were booked to fly to Greece to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, she took out her smart-phone and booked two seats for us.
I’d never been down to that fabled peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea, but my first impression was similar to that of India, an ancient world that I’ve had the privilege of visiting many times. This initial intuition that began when my wife came home and announced that we would soon be going there, was boosted when we eventually boarded an airliner half full of laughing, singing, childlike Indian women, all of whom had also strongly felt the calling.
My first impressions there were that everything was familiar. It was easy to get around in, like any other Western country. The freeways were almost empty and everyone seemed to drive slowly, which was very relaxing(although it did occur to Brigitte and me that maybe due to the economic hardships the locals are experiencing, not many can afford to speed, or even to drive). Then a massive wall of dark grey-purple cloud rose up and washed the landscape clean with a brief rain. We found it to be a significant welcome for all the pilgrims showing up that weekend, and I was reminded of the ancient demigods who were believed to inhabit this land in prehistory. (Human beings, in particular one or two ‘poets’, long ago wrote perverted interpretations of these titans’ lives on Earth, lowering them to the level of incest and murder, ideas unfortunately still generally accepted today.)
My wife’s favourite thing in life is to wake up early near a beach and go for a long walk and foot-soak there. We were sheltered near the scenic end of a bay, and because it was outside of the busy summer season, there was hardly anyone around. In Greece, even the stray dogs and cats seem at peace as they stretch out beside strangers and give the impression of being completely fulfilled (when actually they’re cleverly making friends to get something to eat!). Every morning our hearts would stretch out to the distant islands and mysterious waters so our souls could consume the vast beauty and deep history around us. We attended colourful Diwali functions, enjoyed ourselves immensely with many new and old friends, and even ascended the ancient inland hills to the Centre of the World, the Navel of Creation! (Weeks later, Brigitte hasn’t lost the inspiring heart-boost that she still rides on daily.)
They say that Zeus, king of the demigods, in order to determine the centre of the world, sent two great eagles flying, one from each extreme, east and west. They met in the place that was later named Delphi. A most magical place! I really felt like I was back in India where everything began thousands of years ago, not in young Europe any more. There’s even a natural free-standing stone in the original centre of the sacred grounds, recognizable as the Hindu child-god, Ganesha, emitting amazing vibrations (light and cool).
All two-hundred-and-fifty of us felt light and joyous, many reminded of the old tours of central India that we used to go on in the nineteen-eighties. In contrast to the great subtle significance of this location, Brigitte pointed out that the manmade history was just full of ego. Pompous conquerers would display statues of their officers there to show the gods and all the world how very important they were. Even down in the so-called civilized nation-state of Athens, such a great, benevolent genius (I would go so far as to say divine messenger) like Socrates was killed by men-on-ego. And here we are, thousands of years later, repeating the same patterns in our heads, hearts and actions.
Descending back down to the twenty-first century at the end of the day, I remembered how, as a twelve-year-old child in Canada in 1970, I had suddenly been overwhelmed to write a long Social Studies essay on the Greek gods, accompanied by a hand-drawn wall mural; and in Art class I passionately attempted to carve a plaster-of-Paris bust of Socrates. I didn’t know what overcame me at that time, but now I guess it was personal insight into a higher realm of existence. Forty-eight years later I’ve breathed those essential airs and walked upon the very roots of legend that send the restless mind up into soothing meditation.
If you’ve never been to Greece, go there soon — with an open mind and heart.
Long, long ago in Canada, when I, as a small child, was hiding in my bedroom listening to the drunken fights of my parents; or, at fifteen, hurrying terrified through a dark suburban neighbourhood seeking rescue as my first massive dose of LSD ripped through my brain; or, as a young adult, begging for coins on a city street or curled up on the concrete under newspapers, trying to catch glimpses of my unreachable dreams,
I could never have suspected that I would someday be enjoying a good book in the living room of my homestead on the other side of the world, loved and respected and at peace with my soul and the universe.
It all comes from within us, every bountiful drop of life manifesting.
Seek the silence of the present moment whence abundance springs.
Union is the key to the front door.
Life is a journey. Step out of the pain shadows into the comforting light And always carry your true home in that beautiful heart of yours.
‘We were reminiscing about Cabella. Our daughter Joy said “For us children, Uncle Eddie was King” and “When I grow up I’m going to follow his tradition of making all the children happy.” Then she told us about the coins you used to bury in the sandpit and how they found enough to buy an ice cream, and other lovely stories and memories.’
36 years ago today I crossed an essential threshold and embarked on an epic journey …
Almost every day since the 20th of April, 1982, I’ve been able to attain clarity, and briefly glimpse blissful Reality through the instrument of my central nervous system, and the state of thoughtless awareness.
The upward spiral unfolds, with wonderful surprises arising just around every curve.
More than anything else, I wish this for you.
(for full-size headphones or bass intense speaker system!)
In separation have I suffered long, But now am glorified in the eternal bliss of Union.
And from my core, That once was small, The sound of Light Expands to all.
Never will I shrink again Into a ball of doubt and pain. Forever forth, in inner sky, I spread my wings and upward fly.
All Life pulsates within my breast.
I have become The hollow drum.
~Ed Saugstad 20 April 2018
—special thanks to Linda Dzus (wife of one of my old best buddies, Doug) who took this amazing photo in their neighbourhood on Mayne Island, British Columbia, the oasis that I briefly took refuge in after attaining self-realisation, 36 years ago—