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4 Love in the Time of Corona By Rev. Alan L. Pritz
8 The Time for a Spiritual Revolution is NOW By Craig Kolavo
12 Reaching Out to Depressed Teenagers By Elliott Robertson
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Love in the Time of Corona By Rev. Alan L. Pritz
The world is in a challenging place. Our lives have been shifted into uncharted territory as the latest Corona Virus, Covid-19, reaps havoc with economies, societies, and global balance. Rather humbling to have the world grind to a halt by a sub-microscopic piece of genetic material. Scientific definitions aside, we are called to respond to a scenario that sources—often the media—deem calamitous at best, catastrophic at worst. Yet I propose a different perspective, one that is not fear driven but, instead, more gracious and magnanimous. First of all, fear does nothing useful. It numbs the mind and fuels reactive, panic-based self-centeredness. Consider a spark landing amidst a dry pine forest. Fire erupts and undoubtedly must be contained. Fearful responses are like winds that whip the blaze into an unfettered inferno. Reasoned strategies contain, control, and ultimately eliminate the threat. Our behaviors— which arise first in thought —determine whether Corona will gain further destructive power or, alternately, provide
opportunities to ennoble us. The spiritual world is not separate from the physical. It is the subtle canvas upon which the picture of matter is painted. We, however, get to choose and express the color palate it manifests through our thoughts and deeds. One set of choices results in a gloriously expansive masterpiece; another depicts the cruel hues of defeatism, depression, and self-centeredness. Each of us selects our contribution to the painting by how we respond to what’s before us, moment by moment, day by day. THIS TIME IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHINE Naturally, I advocate for making this an opportunity to shine. I know times are difficult, especially for those who are ill or economically deprived. Life often isn’t easy but it’s always impacted by choices. Giving in to the temptation to shrink, to withdraw, to focus on “us four and no more” is a perfect recipe for social/ global dysfunction that could be avoided by different choices, by conscious opposition to whatever is contractive. Counter fear with courage, panic with calmness, and meanness with generosity. CONTINUED PAGE 6...
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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13... CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4... Using a combination of both anti-bacterial and antiparasitic herbs while also detoxifying body is an There is a reason why spiritual traditions the discuss proper integrative health approach that assists in ridding the attitudes and behaviors. It’s because we need how-tobodyprinciples of this pernicious ailment. addition, adjunctive live that apply to all Incircumstances, good herbal hasimportant? been shown to safely aid orin and bad.medicine Why is this Because we thrive remedying infections thatwell manifest as arthritis, damage suffer according to how we adhere to, or violate, to the central nervousorder. systemYes, or weakening the heart. the laws of natural I snuck of spirituality into the mix. Ironically, one needn’t subscribe to any Providing pain relief stimulation of the faith to acknowledge that and harmony is preferable to immune system, acupuncture is a natural, inharmony; love, joy, and peace more attractive than complementary approachThis thatis common further assuages the hate, despair, or violence. sense. Lifehealth challenges of Lyme Disease. enhancing behaviors promote personal well-being and social good. That said, what can we do in the face of Besides the springtime ailments allergiessuggestions and Lyme the current situation? I’ll makeofseveral Disease, what areas of your where yet preface all are by other this counsel, “Do health that which acupuncture can be an invaluable ennobles, expands, and assists. aid? Refrain from that which diminishes, constricts, or deprives.” Hopefully STRESS MANAGEMENT these points will seem reasonable and easily put into Stress is a major cause of lost work hours, sick days practice. and lowered productivity in both home life and the workplace. But it doesn’t have to EXPANDS, be a mainstay in DO THAT WHICH ENNOBLES, your life! Acupuncture is a holistic remedy that can AND ASSISTS balance both emotionalBeand physical Start with theyour body/mind. prudent andwell-being socially so detrimental your daily responsible, butstress not factors fearful.don’t Feardiminish compromises the vitality. Scientific research shows that acupuncture
immune system and, in the case of a contagious disease, releases neurotransmitters endorphins, serotonin is self-defeating. We’ve allsuch readasthe news to understand and andwhatever more hospitals, issuesnorepinephrine. and responses. AddMore to these promotes clinics and the corporate employee wellnessdiet, programs health from inside out: Proper hygiene, and, as are incorporating acupuncture supplements. into their preventive amenable, immune-enhancing Exercise, healthcare offerings as a way addressdeeply. stress-related get fresh air and sunshine. Yes,tobreathe Relax. illnesses. Stress and tension deplete energy so if you can, practice skills designed to recharge and renew. This may sound BOOSTING THE SYSTEM esoteric but such areIMMUNE common in yoga, tai chi, or chi Agung combination acupuncture herbal medicine has circles. Aofgenuine smile and is said to distribute life been proven to be impactful building to force—prana/chi—to every inbody cell. immunity The happy prevent Chinese herbssince are used for balancing, person isillness. less subject to disease happiness attracts a harmonizing cleansing the the body’s system. They greater supplyand of life energy into body. Maintaining can treat a wide of health issues the andright an accredited a positive, joyfularray attitude is exactly thing to herbal consultant can detail to use them as adjuncts do. Fast from worry. Watchhow comedies, laugh, practice to medications. appreciation and gratitude. You’d be amazed how deprivation can highlight the abundance we ordinarily PAIN MANAGEMENT overlook, or help foster insights about things we might Pain is agranted. significant distraction anyone! force, Pain take for A grateful heart for is a powerful medications can be Unfortunately, expensive or addictive, only as is compassion. people often have been addressing symptoms This not the cause. a Today we encouragedpain to stockpile. generates mentality are of the dangers of‘illness,’ opioids greed. and need to find thataware prompts a secondary If everyone safe alternative pathsoffor pain relief.re-visit Acupuncture considered the needs others they’d the desire helps manyWe pain conditions, from of pulled muscles to to hoard. have an abundance goods that will headaches to don’t backaches and more. Pain symptoms can remain if we participate in frenzied buying. While be reduced in as few as six sessions. Many types of pain
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at the store recognize that excess buying may cause another to go without. Get what you require so others can too. Seem simplistic? It is. This isn’t astrophysics; it’s consideration. Just as a micro-organism can bring the world to a halt, so basic expressions of loving kindness can help the wheels of global order continue moving smoothly.
over delusion. And, pray. Thought is a force. When it is focused on the Divine and directed with beneficial intent for the healing of individuals, societies, or the planet, a tremendous power is released. Although subtle in nature, the vibrations of spirituality and healing generated by prayer engender positive changes in the subtle realms that ultimately manifest in positive material outcomes. Whether confronted by a pandemic NOURISH YOUR INNER BEING or not, the right path in life is always to include others Lastly, yet most importantly, nourish the inner being. in your welfare. By serving all, you serve your Self and, What frees people from suffering? Will money do so? in this fashion, emerge triumphant over trials. Will toilet paper? Ultimately, nothing material can. Only direct experience of one’s soul nature provides Rev. Alan Pritz is an Interfaith Minister, disciple of this. The world perpetuates dramas to enforce spiritual Paramahansa Yogananda, and author of Pocket Guide truths. One of these is that faith in Spirit is a divine To Meditation (Crossing Press: 1996) & Meditation As law. A smooth life isn’t necessarily a victorious life. No a Way of Life: Philosophy & Practice (Quest: 2014) matter if sickness or death dance about you, do not Rev. Alan has taught meditation, yoga, and related matters be discouraged. Earthly life is an ephemeral existence; for 36+ years. Learn more at www.Awake-in-Life.com. lasting reality is spiritual not material. Be helpful and learn to see the Divine in all regardless of race or creed; love everyone as your own. Selfishness cramps the soul in a limiting prison of material desire. Concentrate on Click here to visit www.awake-in-life.com the human family without restrictions. Do your part to improve the world but don’t be bound by its troubles or you’ll be ensnared by them; that’s the secret of victory
The time for a spiritual revolution is NOW By Craig Kolavo
As I sat on the floor in my closet, unpacking boxes of dusty journals and notebooks I’d collected over the past 20 plus years, the task at hand seemed overwhelming. How do I organize all of these life experiences into a coherent story? How do I put these events into a clear, chronological order for my kids to understand? You see, I had no plans to write a book. My original intention for writing was simple and somewhat selfish. I was hoping to explain to my children some of the discoveries I’ve made on this crazy adventure of life. Maybe all parents feel this way at some point. Why should my kids have to experience the same struggles, pain, and suffering I’ve been through? I know stuff! They can learn from my mistakes. This painfully slow process turned out to be very transformational. Months turned into years. Finally, I stepped back and began to see the story unfolding before me. It was like I discovered a secret treasure map. Unfortunately, this map was given to me in puzzle form, and the pieces were revealed over decades. Funny how the Universe works. When this puzzle was finally assembled, it was a real aha moment. On second thought, it was actually 8 www.esswellness.com
more of an oh-shit moment! Although I was excited to see on paper what I’d been feeling for many years, I instantly knew I was going to have to share my discovery with all. The thought of this was terrifying. My insecurities quickly came to the surface. My demons were saying, “Who the hell do you think you are? People will think you’re crazy!” I’m grateful for my wife and the small group of friends who motivated me throughout this painstaking process. WHY IS THERE SO MUCH PAIN IN THE WORLD As I studied this treasure map, a theme began to emerge. Through my decades of soul-searching, the same nagging questions kept bubbling to the surface. Why is there so much pain and suffering in this world? Why are so many of us living with illness, disease and addiction? Why all the fear, anxiety and hate? The entire planet seems to be on edge, and temperatures are rising.
By stepping back and taking a panoramic view of the situation, the answers began to reveal themselves. It became obvious to me that we continue to repeat the same mistakes. We are treating the symptoms of our dis-ease, which is the chaos we see in our world, rather than exploring for the root cause. Focusing on symptoms will only result in prescriptions for bigger bombs and more Prozac. Instead, why don’t we ask the difficult questions, like “Why is everyone so pissed off?” Contrary to what many believe, this worldwide crisis did not start on September 11, 2001, nor did it begin on November 8, 2016. We have been sleepwalking for generations. We’ve been stuck in a depressive state of apathy, allowing a loud minority to rule the often-silent majority. The struggles we see in the outer world are a direct reflection of the battle being played out in our inner world. We have been consumed by the external stimuli, completely identified with our small selves. ROOT CAUSE IS DISCONNECTION FROM OUR TRUE SELF In other words, we have been disconnected from our True Nature. This is the “root cause” I’m referring to. Most of life’s pain, suffering, and struggles can be traced back to this disconnection. Although I believe that forgetting our Divine Nature is a necessary stage in our spiritual evolution, so is remembering! When we learn how to end this inner battle, peace will soon follow in the outer world. One of the many things I’ve exposed on this journey is that we all share the same collective purpose, which CONTINUED PAGE 10... spring 2020
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9... is to Discover, Surrender, and Inspire. We must first Discover the Divine within, this dormant power embedded in all of humanity. This is our Sleeping Giant patiently waiting to be discovered. Every experience we have during the School of Life is designed to lead us to this discovery. We must then Surrender to this power. Divinity is your birthright. Yes, you were born into royalty. It is time to awaken! Finally, we must Inspire others on this path. After discovering this “secret treasure map” my writing project soon transformed into the book, I Am God in Disguise, So are You. My goal was now to demystify the spiritual path and inspire others to join me on this adventure. I resist having this message lumped into the “New Age” movement. This is actually an age-old message. This is the same message Jesus was teaching over 2,000 years ago. I’m not a religious guy, but I was thrilled to find these Bible quotes: “The words I say to you, I do not speak on my own authority. It’s the Father in me doing this work. Whoever believes in me will do the work I am doing” (John 14:10). This
next one is even more direct: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you” (Corinthians 3:16). Richard Rohr, a bestselling author who has also been a Catholic priest for the past 50 years says, “humanity was not ready for this message 2,000 years ago, but maybe the time is now.” ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE DAWN Despite these turbulent times, I am still an optimist. I feel we are entering a stage of positive change and increased awareness. This era will prove to be a blessing in disguise, propelling us towards this change. Unfortunately, it’s often darkest before the dawn. During these times of collective pain, humanity always rises to the occasion. Look at natural disasters as an example. Living on the Gulf Coast for 30 plus years, I have experienced the devastation of many hurricanes. People always rise up and take care of their neighbors. This is baked into our DNA. When the rescue boat pulls up to your door, they don’t ask who you voted for! Unfortunately, it often takes these highly emotional states to bring people together. I feel the turbulence we
see in today’s world is one of these storms. A spiritual revolution is long overdue. A simple shift in awareness is all that is needed. No shots will be fired. No blood will be shed. The beauty of discovering our Divine Nature is that we also see this Divinity in all beings. No longer will you see your fellow humans defined by their skin color, nationality, or sexual preference. When these superficial labels and layers are peeled away, we discover our ONENESS. Maybe it would be helpful if I explain how I define God. To me, God is my Life Force, a vibrating energy that animates every cell in my body. This same Life Force also flows through all of creation. This is what connects us all! When Einstein discussed this invisible energy field, he would say, “This is physics, not philosophy!” Knowing this, how could we ever hate our neighbor?
will affect all facets of your life. We develop an X-ray vision. Our bullshit detectors become very sensitive. Whether the message is coming from the pulpit or the podium, we will demand more from our leaders. Upon awakening, it becomes impossible to support any candidate who promotes fear, hate, or separation. A Sleeping Giant lies dormant within all of us. It’s time for a wakeup call! Don’t hit the snooze button. This is your birthright. You were born into royalty. Reclaim your power and join the revolution. Craig Kolavo is author of I Am God in Disguise, So Are You. A practical guide to creating lasting change in today’s world. 100 percent of e-Book proceeds benefit www.water.org. Learn more at www.awesomlife.com.
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Although this spiritual revolution is not about religion or politics, you will soon discover this awakening
Reaching Out to Depressed Teenagers By Elliott Robertson
I’m concerned about the teenagers in today’s world. In November of 2018, The Washington Post reported on the skyrocketing rates of depression in American youth:
• A new report on the state of mental health in the United States says that in recent years, there have been “alarming” increases in major depression in youth... • According to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, “The rise was most rapid among those ages 12 to 17, increasing from 8.7 percent in 2005 to 12.7 percent in 2015.” I was a depressed teen once. I disliked high school. I didn’t fit in. I was never diagnosed or on medications. It wasn’t major.
I’ll never forget the day my mother said she had something she wanted to talk about with me. We sat down in the living room and she told me she was concerned about me. She told me depression was nothing to be ashamed about, that it was very common. She offered to arrange for me to see a psychologist. “Just let me know if you’d like to,” she said. “It could be helpful. Many people see psychologists—there’s no need to be ashamed about seeing one.” That brief communication turned my spirits around. Just a little, but enough to start the journey upwards. It was the caring underneath my mother’s words that spoke to me, of course. I never gave much thought to seeing a psychologist. Still, I’ll be forever grateful for being seen and cared for. For a moment, my heart was receiving oxygen.
WHAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT OURSELVES FROM OTHERS I’m always interested in people’s life stories. I wonder what gold can be gleaned from those who came before us. What can we learn about ourselves from the autobiographies of those who preceded us?
belief rooted in the heart and not in “the monkey mind” did not wither when she was being chased by the Nazis.
I consider St. Theresa’s life. She lost her mother when she was four years old; a few years later her older sister, who had acted as her second mother, entered a Carmelite convent in Lisieux, where she would be cloistered and forbidden to return. I wonder how St. Theresa came to lead a life of deep contentment and great fulfillment.
St. Theresa wrote in her autobiography of being devastated by her mother’s passing and devastated once again when her older sister left her when she was nine. She shed tears; she didn’t fall into self-pity, bitterness or depression. She knew from a young age that life was larger than the circumstances that came her way.
I consider the short life of Anne Frank. She lived out her days with a bright, positive focus, even when she and her family were hiding from the Nazis. This saint and this child were able to journey through times of great personal challenge without succumbing to depression. I wonder if they were able to navigate the difficulties because they were living in their hearts, rather than being led by the chatter of the judgmental mind? Anne Frank’s journal entries testify to her abiding in her heart. Her belief in the goodness of humans—a
DEPRESSION AND THE MONKEY MIND As a spiritual coach, I have come to believe that more than anything else, “the monkey mind” accounts for the increasing number of people who are depressed. When we spend our days swimming in the soup of judgments coming from the chattering mind, we are more likely to see the world as a place to be feared. CONTINUED PAGE 15...
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 13... We are also more likely to see ourselves as powerless to make things better. We get stuck in the misery of seeing the world through this lens—not only due to habituation, but also because the mind doesn’t like to be confused or to admit that it might be wrong. If someone suggests that other possibilities might be available — say, the possibility of seeing oneself through the eyes of love,
moments of oxygenating the heart help her pivot from the direction of misery to something closer to the direction of heaven? Years ago, my mother said, “I know things can get better.” She offered to find a psychologist for me in a time before visualizations became popular. Perhaps you’ll want to share your caring spirit with a depressed teenager in your life, be it your child, grandchild, or someone else.
or the possibility of choosing different responses to the world — the mind is apt to snuff out the idea like a candle snuffer puts an end to the candle’s flame. “No, that is simply not true,” the mind will say. “I already know the world is unsupportive and difficult and I have evidence.” Or, if someone suggests that you’re not socially inept, to use another example, the mind will say, “You made a blunder at the party a few months ago—you are an idiot.”
Offer the help of a psychologist, if you choose to. Or suggest the following practice to your dear one:
I wonder if the depressed teenagers of today are trapped in their “monkey mind” and need to find a pathway from the mind into the heart. Would Sally benefit from imagining herself as a magnificent light-
Let your dear one know everyone’s different. What works for some people might not work as well for someone else. Still, new approaches might be worth a try.
filled being with a heart that has been designed to love the world? Would she get a moment of respite from the quicksand of her “monkey mind” and the harsh judgments it stirs up by tapping into her imagination?
Elliott Robertson is the author of Say Yes to Life: Seven Keys to Living Life Full Out from Within. A love and joy coach, he holds an MA in psychology and is a workshop leader. For a complementary guided visualization, please visit SayYesToLifeBook.com.
OXYGENATING THE HEART MOVES US OUT OF DEPRESSION What if she were to start each day for a few weeks playing with these images and sensing her nobility? Would her nobility and grandeur become less hidden, or at least more visible and palpable to herself? Would she begin to befriend her true self? Would these
Morning practice: Take two or three minutes upon waking up to imagine yourself standing by the shoreline (or anywhere in nature) radiating light and inner beauty and standing tall in your true essence. Try this for three or four weeks to see if the effects are cumulative or deepening over time.
Click here to visit sayyestolifebook.com