Category Archives: Meditation

The Blessings

The man whispered :  “God speak to me”

and a bird sang, but the man did not hear

Rufus-naped lark - such a sweet song

So the man yelled :  “God speak to me”

and the thunder rolled across the sky, but the man did not listen

A stormy afternoon - Savute Botswana

The man looked around and said “God let me see you”

And a star shone brightly, but the man did not notice

Orion's Belt - Matseleng Pan Botswana

And the man shouted :  “God show me a miracle”

And a life was born, but the man did not know

Spotted hyena - Kruger National Park

So the man cried out in despair : “Touch me God and let me know you are there”

Whereupon God reached down and touched the man.  But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

A gentle touch

Don’t miss out on God’s blessings just because they aren’t packaged the way you expect them to be.

(Cartel in Olveiroa Pilgrims Hostel, Camino de Santigao, Spain)

A little birdie told me ….

Do you ever have one of those days when you feel quiet and introspective?  You look around and see the world differently and think about deeper things than normal.   Today is one of those days for me and so with this in mind, and with Wilkinson’s World being mainly about birds and nature, lets ponder on a few quotes about birds that dig a little deeper than the surface.  I hope you enjoy the photos that I’ve chosen to go with each thought.

“I don’t ask for the meaning of the song of a bird, or the rising of the sun on a misty morning.  There they are – and they are beautiful.”                  Pete Hamill

   Rufus-naped lark

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.         Rabindranath Tagore

  Green-winged pytilia

God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest.               J G Holland

  Swallow-tailed bee-eater

The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp.              John Berry

  Yellow-bellied greenbul

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.                William Blake

  Great egret

 

Acknowledgement and thanks to the contributors on :    Bird Quotes – BrainyQuote

If any of our readers have any nice quotes to share, do drop us a line or comment below.

 

Camino de Santiago: Camino Frances: Part One

In October 2011 I completed a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, following the ancient path called the Camino Frances.  My journey took approximately 36 days with rest days along the way.  I will attempt, through a few humorous blogs and photographs to convey the spirit and beauty of this incredible route, without dwelling on the spiritual aspect of the walk.

Part One is an introduction to the pilgrimage and what it is all about.  It can also be found by clicking on the Trips tab above.

The Camino has a surreal quality

 

Quiet time – at the end of the day

I enjoy sharing other people’s thoughts on meditation and quiet, reflective time, so was delighted when I stumbled upon a website featuring the poems of the late Jim Metcalf, the unofficial poet-laureate of New Orleans.   He has a lovely way with words and if you’re interested in reading poetry accompanied by beautiful soothing music, then do pay a visit to the site (see below for link).

I hope you enjoy this poem of his, and take time to ponder the thoughts behind it.

Before I Sleep

If I have let this day pass by
and can’t remember something good about it,
then I have been ungrateful
and I beg forgiveness.

Beauty

If I have been involved too much with me…
my wants and woes, to see the beauty that surrounds me,
then I have played the fool and I am sorry.

Peace

If I have not stretched out my hands
to loved ones to show them that I care,
then I have been unfeeling and I am ashamed.

Tranquility

If I have failed to help when it was needed,
yet asked others to help me
then I have been selfish and I apologize.

Love

If I have not seen the face of God
reflected in a million ways and places,
then I have been blind and I ask for another chance
to try again tomorrow.

Jim Metcalf

Do you have a favourite poem or know of a good website for meditative reflections for your quiet time?  If so, I would love to hear from you.


Just for today….

Just for today
Do not worry

Pretty flamingoes - Walvis Bay

Just for today
Do not Anger

Pretty flamingoes - Walvis Bay

Just for today
Honour your parents
Teachers and elders

Pretty flamingoes - Walvis Bay

Just for today
Earn your living honestly
Show gratitude to every living thing

Pretty flamingoes - Walvis Bay

Just for today, ask
Where are you hurrying to?
You will see the same moon tonight
Wherever you go!

Izumi Shikibu

Pretty flamingoes - Walvis Bay

Just for today, follow your bliss
Don’t ask so much what the world needs.
Go out and do what makes you come alive,
because what the world needs most
is people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman

Pretty flamingoes - Walvis Bay

Namaste!  Have a beautiful day!

Quiet Reflections

Earth consciousness has been practised by indigenous people for many centuries, often through meditation and reflection on their simple lives and surroundings.  Their attunement to nature is borne out by quotes and sayings of the wise ones passed down through the ages.  We can be grateful for these pearls of wisdom that are so applicable in our rushed lives right now.

As one who loves to meditate in quiet, peaceful places, let me share some beautiful spaces with you as we ponder on the wisdom of people gone by.

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Honor the sacred
Honor the Earth, our Mother
Honor the Elders
Honor all with whom we  share the Earth
Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones
Swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people
Walk in balance and beauty

Native American Elder

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Earth  Teach Me

Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light
Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory
Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning
Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young
Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone
Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground
Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky
Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall
Earth teach me renewal ~ as the seed that rises in the spring
Earth teach me to forget myself ~ as melted snow forgets its life
Earth teach me to remember kindness ~ as dry fields weep with rain

A Ute Prayer

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

Ancient Indian Proverb

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.

Chief Seattle, 1854

Botanical Gardens - Hamilton NZ

When all the trees have been cut down,
when all the animals have been hunted,
when all the waters are polluted,
when all the air is unsafe to breathe,
only then will you discover you cannot eat money.

Cree Prophecy

Makaranga Lodge gardens - Durban

Have a beautiful, peaceful and reflective day!

Mysterious Crystal Skulls

At about the same time that I was learning to do Reiki healing, I came across a book called “The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls” by Chris Morton and Ceri Louse Thomas.  I was fascinated with the subject matter of the book, which outlined the power of crystals and the mystery and controversy surrounding the crystal skulls that have surfaced in various places around the world.

Little did I know that the book would have me ordering a modern crystal skull for myself and sending me on a quest to see a life-size one for myself.  These intricately carved crystal skulls, although macabre in looks, have amazing energy and my own little moonstone skull, which fits neatly into my hand, is now an integral part of my meditation practice.

My own moonstone skull

My own moonstone skull

According to ancient native tribes, crystal skulls have healing and prophetic properties that could reveal the mysteries of creation and the future of the world.  No-one knows where they came from or who made them, but at a time when the world is focusing on the imminent approach of the year 2012, legend has it that if thirteen sacred skulls are reunited they could prevent catastrophes predicted for this time.  Crystal skulls have connections with both the Mayans and the Aztecs (and possibly Peruvians) and are hallowed by the native tribes who act as their guardians.

On a visit to England in 2008 I was lucky enough to be able to visit the British Museum where there is a magnificent specimen on display.

Crystal skull in British Museum

Unfortunately this skull has been found to be a fake in that it was proved to be a modern production, unlike others that were found in Mexico and Central America, which are thought to be over one hundred years old and some that are classified as ancient – having been created between 1500-2000 years ago.

Write up in British Museum

Write up in British Museum

With no visible tool marks to indicate how they were made, ancient tribes claim that they were either brought to earth by supernatural beings, left over from long lost civilizations (like Atlantis or Lemuria) or made with some technology that is unknown to us.

Crystal skulls first made their appearance towards the end of the 19th century and  both the French Museum and the Museum of Man in London each had one on display at the time.  They were acquired from  Soldiers of Fortune – when the French occupied  Mexico – who obtained them from sites around the country.  Apart from those found in museums today, many private individuals and native tribes have old and ancient skulls.

Crystal skull in British Museum

In 2008 Harrison Ford acted in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, in which the skull was portrayed as exhibiting paranormal phenomena.  If it did nothing else, perhaps it also made folk  more aware of these incredible objects.

A short article like this cannot possibly do justice to a subject as vast as this, but I hope that I have whetted your appetite to do more research on the skulls.  There is a wealth of information to be found on them on the internet and I highly recommend the book “The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls” that I mentioned earlier.  And if you’d like a skull of your own, there are thousands that have been carved in the past decade for the modern market.

Mantras – pathways to joy

I first became aware of and interested in mantras after visiting the Himalayas in 2002.  I wanted a Tibetan meditation cd and stumbled upon the famous Om Mani Padme Hum mantra whilst visiting a small market in Kathmandu.  This mantra is found on every conceivable surface in Nepal and Tibet  but mainly on prayer stones and prayer wheels.

Om Mani Padme Hum Prayer Stone

Om Mani Padme Hum Prayer Stone

For anyone not knowing what a mantra is, let me explain.

There are many definitions of the meaning, but I think that the most understandable is to break the word into two:  “man” being the root sound of the word “mind” and “tra” being the root sound of the word “instrument”.  A mantra is therefore an instrument of the mind.  Traditionally a mantra is repeated one hundred and eight times, but there is no hard and fast rule in this regard.  People who hear them for the first time often wonder if the songwriter was stuck for lyrics!

For those new to meditation, chanting a mantra is a great starting point as it helps to focus the mind on a single sacred power phrase.  We all know how impossible it is to still the ‘chattering monkey’ mind and it can take years of practice to get to the state of altered consciousness that meditators strive for.  This often puts beginners off, but if they started with joyful mantra practices they would soon become hooked!

The world is made up of vibrations that, with practice, can be heard if one sits very quietly.  According to ancient Vedic wisdom the vibrating sounds in nature are expressing the cosmic mind and are the means through which the infinite potential expresses itself as the manifest universe.

Reciting or singing a mantra out loud creates a special pattern of vibration that has transformational properties which can manifest effects in our physical realm.  These properties can be anything from healing to stress reduction and can take one to the field of pure consciousness where the vibration originated.

I said earlier that a mantra is a sacred power phrase, but in itself, a mantra is meaningless.  Once one adds intention to one’s chanting of the mantra it becomes a sutra.  Sutra is literally the Sanskrit word for stitch or sew (‘suture’ in English) and it means to stitch an intention to a mantra to give it a sacred purpose.  Mantras have been repeated by millions of people over thousands of years and this repetition has added strength to their power of manifestation.  It is far more potent to repeat an old much-used mantra than a new one, as one taps into the higher probability of the intention being fulfilled.  It is also not essential to know exactly what the words mean, as long as they are said with intention.

DSC07125 (Small)

I struck gold with the Om Mani Padme Hum cd that I bought, as it is the most practiced mantra in the world.  It is a mantra of compassion and roughly means “Hail to the jewel (the mind) in the lotus (the heart).  When the mind and heart are used together the possibilities to transform oneself and the world are incredible.

As a regular meditator, I can highly recommend the work of Henry Marshall and The Playshop Family for joyful and meaningful mantras for both beginners and seasoned meditators alike.

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These simple, yet powerful mantras that combine the wisdom of the East with the music of the West, are easy to sing along to, both in meditation groups or on one’s own and they leave one feeling uplifted, expanded and happy.  Henry gives an explanation along with each mantra so that one can choose the most appropriate mantra and visualize the effect that one desires.

DSC07116 (Small)

I personally love all the songs but daily chant the hauntingly beautiful one called Dhanyavad Ananda (a mantra of gratitude) that can be found on Henry Marshall’s cd “Mantras II – To Change Your World”.  If you haven’t already experienced the wonderful world of mantras do yourself a favour and give it a try.

Namaste and all the best for 2010.