Refreshing AND Deepening

This is a follow-up to the blog I posted on Friday, “StarFire Teja’s StarFire Friday Prayer: May You Feel Refreshed” in which I wrote about how your intentions and guided imagery regularly need to be refreshed.

Perhaps you’ve already read a blog I posted in January called “Radiance & Darkness” in which I talked about how opposing forces can be simultaneously true. Well, I remembered that after posting the blog on Friday, thus I’m writing this follow-up.

While some prayers and visualizations get stale and need to be refreshed, the opposite is also true! Some prayers and spiritual practices can be done over and over and over, and you go deeper and deeper with them each time. Your deeper mind loves newness, and it also thrives on repetition. Both are true. As you try out the various practices suggested in these blogs, you will know when to let some go, and when to dive deeper into others. When you listen to your inner wisdom you will know when to refresh and when to deepen.

At the beginning of my new book I offer a section called Radiance Rising, which is an extended list of spiritual practices you can do while reading the book and beyond. One of the practices is a forty-verse chant called the Hanuman Chalisa (CD with versions of that chant by Krishna Das: Flow of Grace), and I have been singing that prayer daily for almost ten years. Talk about repetition!

After the section with spiritual practices, I tell the magical story of Rama and Sita, in my fantastical version of the Ramayana. Many people, including myself, study the Ramayana as a spiritual practice. Currently I am studying my own version on Sundays, and it really uplifts me for the following week.

I have been studying this ancient story from India for almost fifteen years, and while reading nearly one dozen versions, I have gone deeper into the meanings and I have also realized many applications to my daily life. When you read this book, you will recognize your own wisdom through the heroes of the tale.

Please order your happy copy on Lulu today:
The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes

Or if you prefer Amazon:
The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes

Please share your experiences with refreshing and deepening in the comments below, down where it says “Leave a Reply.”

May All Beings Be Free of Suffering.
May All Beings Be Happy!

 

Background image Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Contributing to the Ancient Tradition of Ramayana

Reading the Ramayana takes you on a magical journey through your own deepest self. Through the timeless wisdom of this ancient story you will recognize your own wisdom. That has certainly been my experience each time I have read the Ramayana, and I have studied nearly one dozen versions of this tale over the past fifteen years. The Ramayana originated in India, but it has spread throughout South East Asia, and around the world. More than three hundred versions have been recorded, and millions of people deeply love this story.

I also deeply love this sacred story, and, at times I have struggled with the Divine Avatar Rama’s actions. In many of the versions, in certain scenes he performs controversial actions such as killing and hunting, even though the highest Vedic principle is Ahimsa, which means non-harming. So, at a painful moment in my spiritual journey, I felt like I had to choose between my highest ideal of non-violence and my Hindu Yogic Path. They suddenly did not seem compatible. At that black-and-white juncture, I dove deeply into many questions and into some profound soul-searching, and from that query arose a bright, full-colored, new possibility: Instead of throwing out the Ramayana and all of my other yogic spiritual practices, I could write my own version of the Ramayana, and elevate all of Rama’s actions to be in alignment with the highest Vedic principle of Ahimsa (non-harming).

In his rendition of the Ramayana (1957), Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (Indian politician and close associate of Mahatma Gandhi-ji) writes, “Let those who find faults in Raama see faults, and if these critics faultlessly pursue dharma and avoid in their own lives the flaws they discover in Raama, the bhaktas of Sri Raama will indeed welcome it with joy. If they exhibit the virtues of Raama and add to these more virtues and greater flawlessness, who can complain?”

Yes, that is exactly what I have done! As StarFire Teja, I see killing humans and demons as a flaw, and I do not kill humans nor demons in my own life. I also see hunting animals and eating their meat as flaws, and I do not hunt animals nor do I eat any animal products in my own life. In The Tejaswini Ramayana, I exhibit the virtues of Rama and add to them the virtues of the highest Vedic Ahimsa: elevating others instead of killing them, and eating plant-based foods instead of hunting animals. Thus Rama has greater flawlessness in The Tejaswini Ramayana…. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari would be proud.

And, when you are reading this book, you will enjoy a magical journey through your deepest self, recognizing your own emotions as expressed through the Divine Super Heroes. As you journey with Rama and Sita, their experience will give you hope for the human condition. I pray that my contribution to the ancient tradition of Ramayana will elevate you and many other beings!

Om Shri Shakahari Rama!
StarFire Teja’s Book is now on Amazon!
Amazon Author Page here: Teja Shankara

May You Feel the Forest Within

In our busy modern lives, many of us who live in cities may not get the chance to visit the forest very often, but we can experience the forest within, through the tool of guided imagery. Anytime you feel like you need to reset your nervous system, close your eyes, even if it is just for a few minutes. Then, while breathing naturally, visualize yourself in the forest. Really imagine that you are there, with all of your senses. Notice what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. Then return to your day, feeling the forest within.

And, whenever possible, go to visit an actual forest! Surrounded by the healing color green, we feel Peace inside our beings. So much healing happens in nature. To tap into the healing powers, some people are now taking small groups into the forest for guided therapy. Have you heard of Forest Bathing? Sari Telpner, a Forest Therapy Guide, hosts a beautiful website where you can read all about Forest Therapy, also called Forest Bathing. (Visit her site here: Wild Wellness Guide.)

Do you ever hike barefoot in the woods? In recent years, hiking barefoot has become one of my favorite pastimes. I have hiked barefoot in many beautiful places including California, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Soon I will post a blog article about the benefits of walking barefoot in nature.

In the Ramayana, the ancient magical story from India, when Rama and his wife Sita are exiled to the forest for fourteen years, they connect deeply with the healing energies of nature. They love the forest and all its creatures, and when we read this story we feel that love along with them. A long, long time ago, before television and internet, in many villages in India it was customary for everyone to gather around the fire each evening and tell the story of the Ramayana. Now this story is available for you to read in a brand new version, which is a fusion of sacred ancient scripture with futuristic elevated vision. You will love reading this story! Please read more about it here: The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.

Whether you bring the forest to you through a mid-day visualization, or you visit an actual forest (and perhaps journey with a Forest Therapy Guide), or you enjoy the forest through the eyes of Rama and Sita while reading The Tejaswini Ramayana, in any case I pray it brings you Peace. May that peace linger in you and benefit those you meet. May you feel the forest within.

What Does the Word Magic Mean to You?

When you hear the word Magic, what thoughts, associations, feelings, sensations, and visions arise in you?

When I hear the word Magic, I think of something cosmic, something out of the ordinary, something fantastical or whimsical. Just hearing the word elevates my mind and I feel more open to unusual or enchanting things. For me Magic often shows up in the form of synchronicities, and the more I notice them, the more they seem to appear.

Recently I was working on clarifying my goals for this year, and I felt like I needed some “outside” help, so I declared “Nine Days of Magic” for myself. During those nine days, which felt more special than usual days, I noticed lots of little things that felt magical, which might not ordinarily have felt magical. I realized that the mundane becomes magical when we are looking through the eyes of magic. It’s really all about our perception and what we are looking for.

So I learned that Magic doesn’t always show up as sparkling crystals! On the ninth day, which was yesterday, first thing in the morning when I opened my curtains, a dark speckled bird flew right up to my window! That felt like Magic! Then later on my walk, I felt the Magic in seeing flocks of birds soaring in the white winter sky above. As I watched those birds flying, I reflected on my self-declared “Nine Days of Magic” and I felt so grateful that during that time I gained the clarity that I was seeking about my goals.

If you are needing help working on an issue in your life, or you just simply need a few days to feel more fun, try declaring some days of Magic for yourself and see what happens. This is yet another way to Happy Up your mind!

May All Beings Be Happy!

To read the magical tale of Rama and Sita, in my exciting new version, click on the book’s title here:
The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes

 

 

image Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

“It Is Your Duty To Live”

At the seashore, the wise old bear Jambavan instructed the distraught young monkey Angada, “It is your duty to live.”

(That quote is from the version by R.K. Narayan, The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic Suggested By the Tamil Version of Kamban.)

This scene in the Ramayana comes at a critical moment in the story, when the monkeys and bears have been searching for the kidnapped princess Sita for more than one month, and they do not want to return to Prince Rama without locating her whereabouts. The monkey prince Angada declares that they should all just sit down in the sand and prepare to die. He says, “Let us leave behind this earthly world of samsara, that is filled with suffering and misery.” (Quote from Teja Shankara’s version, The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.) Then Hanuman, the great Super Hero of the monkey tribe, encourages them to keep going by reminding them of Jatayu, the great eagle who lost his life fighting for Goodness. That reminder leads to something unexpected… continue reading this exciting story in The Tejaswini Ramayana: The Way of Rama in the Shakahara StarFire Universes.

Over the past fifteen years I studied nearly one dozen versions of the Ramayana, which is a sacred ancient tale from India. The story is beautiful and magical, and has enchanted millions of people through the ages. The story is timeless and addresses many aspects of the human condition. People of all ages love this story. Many of the scenes relate to situations in our own lives, such as this scene described above. Many people have felt despair about failure at some point in their lives.

When I read that quote “It is your duty to live” it really resonated deep within me, and during despairing moments, I hear that quote inside my mind. As mentioned in a previous blog post, “Radiance & Darkness,” I have a lot of fiery energy that I shine into the world, and I also have some darkness, and in my darkness, it can be pretty dark. By dark, I’m referring primarily to negative despairing thoughts in which I want to die. I would not commit suicide, I could never do that to my family and friends, but in those dark moments I imagine how sweet it would be to die peacefully by natural causes. Can you relate to this? Do you ever wish to die?

Even if I was not concerned about hurting my loved ones, I still would not commit suicide because I believe that suicide is not ever right action. It is murder and it is causing oneself to have a violent death, which is not ever a good thing for the soul. The ideal death, most people would agree, is a peaceful one.

So, for anyone out there who is in despair, during your dark moments try to remember that it is your duty to live. We are here in these bodies, on this planet Earth at this time, for a reason. Thus, it is our duty to live. And, we are not ever alone, even if we might feel like it sometimes. Actually, we are all part of one interconnected energy that is Love.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255, and it is available 24 hours everyday.

Sending Love and Hope to anyone who needs upliftment today.