Guest posting to AnimaMonday Blog

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My thoughts on Land, Sea and Sky with a bit of a twist on the element of Fire 🔥

https://animamonday.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/the-triskelion/

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Intuition

innsaei

I’ve just watched a fascinating Icelandic film called ‘Innsaei: the power of intuition’ on Netflix, I think you can find it on Youtube and other streaming sites. It explored the nature and meaning of thier word ‘Innsaei’, usually translated as Intuition. Although it translates as intuition their concept of Innsaei is so much more, and well worth a watch.

One fascinating exercise they offer involved sitting out in nature and simply ‘being’ with nature, no mental conversation, description or streams of thought about what you see or experience, just pure ‘Awareness.’ I have tried this and it was a really interesting experience, very similar to my usual mindfullness practice but without the stream of thought that usually accompanies my practice (I did find my monkey mind intruding at times LOL). The idea is that your sub-conscious mind builds up connections with the outerworld and nature that are then available to inform your intuition as it bubbles up from the sub-conscious mind. They explain it far better in the film, but the three meanings that the word Innsaei has are real food for thought:

  • “the sea within” the borderless nature of our inner world (the use of the word Sea is not an error.)
  • “to see within” to know yourself well enough to sense your relationship to Nature and Other.
  • “to see from the inside out” the ability to access your intuitive nature and sense the World from your inner perspective.

Poems of Aspiration towards Peace

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I aspire to be a bringer of peace within my world and, to this end, I try to spread peace, gratitude and loving-kindness within my immediate circle of influence. But, I alone cannot change the World; although together, if each of us aspire to, and work towards,
bringing these qualities into being within our own circles of influence, we can effect change on a deep level in the wider community.

As a Bard of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids I take inspiration from one of the Triads found in ‘The Barddas’ compiled by Iolo Morganwg, where he writes:

The three foundations of Bardism: peace; utility; and justice. Others say: peace; love; and justice.

J. Williams (Ab Ithel). The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg Volume 1 (Kindle Locations 4530-4531). Global Grey. Kindle Edition.

With this in mind I have come across a few poems that have inspired me today, I would love to share them with you. I hope they inspire you to aspire for peace in our world.

The first two are from the Buddhist Tradition: Source link

Being Peace – Thich Nhat Hanh

If we are peaceful,
If we are happy,
We can smile and blossom like a flower.
And everyone in our family,
Our entire society,
Will benefit
From our peace.

 

Bodhisattva Prayer For Humanity  – Shantideva

May I be a guard for those who need protection,
A guide for those on the path,
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood.
May I be a lamp in the darkness,
A resting place for the weary,
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles.
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening,
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened.

______________________________

The next one is from the Christian Tradition: Source Link

A prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Amen.

______________________________

The next one if from the Druid Tradition: Source Link

Druid Peace Prayer – Order of Bards, Druids and Ovates

Deep within the still centre of my being,
may I find peace.

Silently within the quiet of the Grove,
may I share peace.

Gently and powerfully,
within the greater circle of humankind,
may I radiate peace.

______________________________

The last one is from the Peace Mantra Foundation: Source Link

The Peace Mantra

Peace in my Heart.
Peace in this Place.
Peace in our Land.
And throughout the World,
Peace

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Teddy Bear’s Picnic!

It never ceases to amaze me when inspiration arises at the most unexpected time, or in the most obscure of places.  It all began on the day of the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, which is a nice promotional day organised by the Talyllyn Railway where families take a ride on the narrow-gauge railway from Tywyn to Abergynolwen on the edges of the wonderful Snowdonia National Park in North Wales.

 

The weather was gorgeous and perfect for a picnic in the play area at Abergynolwen Station. Scarlett was already tucking into a tasty cool ice-cream! and cuddling up to her Teddy bear.

We had a great time on the picnic, and we were joined by a small pack of Teddy Bears that had joined the party on our table! 20180726_120109

You may at this point be wondering what the strange thing was that happened whilst out at the Teddy Bears Picnic? Well, it happened on the train journey back to Tywyn, as the Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub of the trains wheels on the track sent me into an almost hypnotic trance.

A Train Journey: Metaphor for mindfulness Practice

As I was gently swayed from side to side by the gentle rocking of the carriage I automatically slipped into a state of mindfulness. The gentle Lub-Dub becoming the focus of my attention as I became aware of how the gentle rocking was synchronised with the repetative sounds. I found this blend of sound and movement to be extremely relaxing.

At times my attention was grabbed by something within the passing countryside and my state of mindfulness was, for a moment, broken as the object of interest took hold of my consciousness. Sometimes I was able to relax my attention and return to the Lub-Dub sounds and the gentle swaying as the attention grabbing scene disappeared out of view. This reminded me of how in mindful practice, a thought, vision or sound could grab-hold of your attention and, without you even being aware that it had happened,  could hook your conscious attention. Before you know it you find yourself on a train of thought that takes you away from being mindful of the ‘Now’ moment. The moment you become conscious of this happening you have the opportunity to gently, without irritation of expectation, return your attention back to where you are. Becoming aware of your breathing helps you to centre back into the moment and once more allowing your attention to fall, relaxed, upon the current surroundings and what is occurring within the ‘Now’.

As I contemplated this process, and how the train journey itself was an excellent metaphor for the whole mindfulness experience, I realised that the things that grabbed my attention and ‘Hooked’ me were mainly sights or sounds that initiated some kind of emotional response within me. It really didn’t matter what the emotion was; be it Awe, Curiosity, Irritation, anger etc. the power of the emotional body to take control of your attention and thoughts was quite surprising and quite a revelation. Just like life itself the train journey had plenty of opportunities to grab my attention and take me on a thought journey away from the experience of the moment.

My next revelation was realising that my thoughts would often be taken, either forward along the track to possible future experiences or back along the track to what had already happened. This was another aspect that mimicked the process of mindful practice. Whilst practicing mindfulness I often find that it takes some time, and quite a bit of persistence, to let go of my thoughts about the future or the past and to just experience the moment of ‘Now’. This doesn’t require any effort or physical activity, but requires a letting go of attachment to whatever is driving this though form. Just like on the train where you can look back along the track to see where you have been or forward to where the train is being taken, it would quite easy to allow your attention and conscious awareness to follow these trains of thought and to become so engrossed in what has been, or the possibilities of what may be, that the beauty that exists just outside the train carriage is missed.

Looking out the window to the tantalising hint of the sea that appears through the trees it would be tempting to get drawn into the future and the past. Thoughts of enjoying the seashore when the journey is are in conflict with thoughts reaching back into the past as the memories, and the emotions related to the memories, come flooding back and clamour for my conscious attention.20180726_134948

At times the train was forced to slow down, or stop, for a minute or two and I was able to allow my awareness to fall onto the surrounding beauty. I had time to take in the scene and feel gratitude for the sense of calm and peace that nature often provides. Having no distractions at these times, other than my wandering thoughts, I was able to appreciate the moment and see aspects of the countryside that otherwise would be missed. These were like the moments within my mindfulness practice where I become fully immersed in the now and become acutely aware of all that surrounds me or what is happening to, and within, me. Those moments of clarity and pure mindfulness are like the metaphorical station stops along the train journey of life.

My message to you, the reader, is simple:

mindful train ticket

Have a mindful day!
Regards Chris /|\

 

Chamomile & Lavender Tea: What a magical herbal mix.

The gentle breeze was just enough to take the heat out of the mid-day Sun while I sat watching the bees as they were busy coming and going from the hives. It was idyllic and I was lulled into a state of mindfulness by the warm breeze and the gentle hum of the hives. Just what the Dr. ordered for some spiritual recuperation 🙂

During my sojourn into the ‘Now’ the chamomile that grows around the hives caught my attention  as they swayed and bobbed in the breeze followed quickly by the subtle scent of the lavender encroaching into the periphery of my senses.

Not one to pass-up a message from nature I felt inspired to make a nice cup of Chamomile & Lavender tea. I’d have a look at the properties of these two herbs after I’d indulged myself in the brew.

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Chamomile & Lavender Tea

Properties of Chamomile (9 top Properties)

  1. High Source of Antioxidants
  2. Fights Anxiety and Depression
  3. Improves Digestion
  4. Has Strong Anti-Inflammatory and Pain-Reducing Abilities
  5. Helps Fight Cancer (in particular skin, prostate, breast and ovarian cancers)
  6. Relieves Congestion
  7. Promotes Skin Health
  8. Keeps Gums and Teeth Healthy
  9. Improves Heart Health

According to Dr Nasha Winters and Jess Higgins Kelley in their book, ‘The Metabolic Approach to Cancer‘, state the following regarding Chamomile:

Apigenin, a plant flavonoid found in Parsely’s stems and leaves (as well as in celery and chamomile tea) demonstrates cytotoxic activities)…

…its cytotoxic activity has been found comparable to that of doxorubicin.

Properties of Lavender

  • Antiseptic and Anti-inflammatory
  • Treats Anxiety, Insomnia, depression and Restlessness
  • Helps Digestive Issues
  • Relieves pain
  • Antifungal
  • Useful in wound healing

I’d say that nature was giving me a nice little helping hand there with its hint at making a chamomile and lavender tea! relaxing and calming properties plus anti-cancer properties 🙂

See below for a few sources to support the above, but there are loads more out there if you have a look.

Have a relaxed and chilled-out day, and remember to tell those you love that “You Love Them”

Peace and love
Chris /|\

Sources: