By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
If you read my articles often, you probably know that I think music is one of the most spiritual things we can enjoy. I have reggae music to thank for this opinion, and I’ve always been impressed by how Rastas and other spiritual musicians impart their perspectives and philosophies into their music.
No matter how we feel about life and spirituality, if we practice music in conjunction with meditation or another form of consciousness exploration, it can help us elevate our consciousness while filling us with a sense of excitement and eternal enjoyment.
Music harnesses the sacred power of sound to help us raise our vibration, and like meditation or anything else, all it takes to get the most out of it is commitment. Not only will we get better and better if we play continuously – we’ll also increase our reception to music’s spiritual properties.
The great thing about music is that we don’t have to play it to benefit from it, and we can listen to it instead.
Playing it might be a better or more potent way to uplift ourselves, but listening to it gives us the advantage of enjoying music that’s already written and composed and usually features more than one instrument.
If we play alone, we’ll only have one or two instruments unless we record ourselves and play over those recordings, so in some cases, listening might uplift us more. I’d recommend finding a group of conscious music lovers who are willing to play it with you.
I recently watched an interview with Foo Fighters’ front man Dave Grohl, whose music I’ve always enjoyed, and he mentioned that while a lot of ‘one man bands’ are out there and some people do like to write and play by themselves, finding other people to play and write with is a better way to go.
Why? Because having other perspectives on our musical creations will challenge us and allow us to see new points of view that we would’ve missed by ourselves. Not to mention that, personally, I’d rather have jurisdiction over one or two instruments than all of them, which’d be a lot of work.
Music brings people together, and playing/writing with others could form a bond between us and them that might not have been there were it not for the music. I’m not saying we shouldn’t play or write by ourselves, but we might benefit from finding other music lovers who are willing to join us.
The last point I want to make before wrapping this up is that, in my opinion, we don’t have to rely solely on music for a higher vibration or an expanded sense of spirituality. A lot of musicians do, and that’s okay, but there are so many other ways to raise our vibration and we might want to experiment with a few different things.
There are various ways we can move closer to enlightenment, and if we want to explore all or even some of them, we’ll have to make time for them all. I like to write, for example, and I also enjoy music and meditation.
I’m trying to get used to meditating more often because I think routine meditation is important, and I (or anyone else in my shoes) can embrace a combination of writing, music and meditation throughout the day.
It requires commitment, but I’m sure it’ll be more than worth it in the end when we’ve sharpened our creative skills and we can use them to connect with the Christ within.
Terence McKenna told us that art, creativity and self-expression can trap us or liberate us depending on how we use them, and if you’re reading this article, chances are that you’d rather use art, which includes music and writing, to find enlightenment than please the senses.
Everything we’ve been given on this planet can be used as a means to a higher consciousness and a healthier outlook on life.
As long as we don’t burn ourselves out by relying too heavily on any one avenue (except maybe meditation, which, admittedly, can also have its limits), we’ll get the most out of all of the tools that have been placed before us.
So feel free to pick up your guitar, or any other instrument you enjoy, and play your heart out. And remember that, as Sri Chinmoy said, the music uplifts us even more when we open up and allow our higher consciousness, Source, etc. to play through us.
I’m starting to think we’re already embodiments of that higher consciousness just as we are, which, in my eyes, means that we’re perfectly capable of spiritual exaltation in our current form and we don’t need fancy practices to help us align with who and what we already are at our cure.
As long as we can open the mind and direct our thoughts, words, emotions, etc. to the higher consciousness we seek, these creative and linguistic tools will in fact liberate us and show us the way back home.
Creativity is beautifully empowering, and I sincerely believe that if we practice it in conjunction with other things that help us align with the Self, we’ll not only enlighten ourselves – we’ll help others find the higher vibration the world clearly needs.
I’m a twenty-one year old spiritual writer, blogger and channel for the creative expression of the inner universe, and I created The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
The Culture of Awareness features daily spiritual and alternative news, articles I’ve written, and more. Its purpose is to awaken and uplift by providing material about the fall of the planetary elite and a new paradigm of unity and spirituality.
I’ve contributed to a few different spiritual websites including The Master Shift, Waking Times, Golden Age of Gaia, Wake Up World and Expanded Consciousness. I can also be found on Facebook (Wes Annac and The Culture of Awareness) and Twitter, and I write a paid weekly newsletter that you can subscribe to for $11.11 a month here.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Is there anything more beautiful than a person smiling, or better yet, laughing? I don’t think so. It’s almost contagious.
You’ve likely seen the YouTube videos of babies laughing and couldn’t help but smile.
And there’s probably a special person in your life that only needs to smile and you feel your heart lift. Maybe it doesn’t even need to be someone you know. I’ve had this happen to me with a complete stranger.
When you see someone smiling from ear to ear, filled with joy, you can’t help but smile too. Am I right?
I live in a walk-able city, so I walk a lot. Sometimes I catch myself trying not to smile or laugh as I walk down the street remembering something funny. But then I’m reminded of this quote.
Why would I ever want to stifle my happiness and joy? Why would I ever want to hide my happiness?
One Sunday afternoon I was rollerblading along the beach path, feeling the sunshine on my face, listening to my favorite Spotify playlist, feeling good and smiling for these reasons, when a guy on a bike coming at me from the opposite direction reached out and high-fived me.
Seriously, how fun is that?
When my boyfriend calls me on my cell phone, I have it programmed so this silly, grinning picture of him pops up on my screen. It makes me smile every time I see it (which also makes it really tough to stay mad at him on the rare occasion that I am, because who can stay mad when they are smiling?).
Smiles breed more smiles.
Life is just better when you approach it with a smile. Plus, you really don’t know how much you can brighten someone else’s day with something so simple.
We tend to be so serious all of the time. We chart our course based on our to-do lists and we spend so much time worrying about the past or the future.
When really, all any of us want is to feel like we matter. So, what if it’s not really about measuring up to any arbitrary yardstick?
What if the secret to feeling like we matter is as simple as looking for reasons to smile no matter what?
Your smile has the power to transform someone’s day, light up the room, change the vibe, and open you up to opportunities, love, connection, and the present moment.
Your smile can redirect your entire day toward possibility, fun, adventure, and being carefree.
I think smiling is the key to letting go and embracing how beautiful we (and life) are right now.
Here are three steps to embrace your beauty and smile more every single day.
1. Begin and end with you.
Most people open their eyes in the morning, roll out of bed, and just start banging away at all the stuff that needs to get done until they eventually climb back into bed exhausted, close their eyes, and then get up the next day to do it all over again.
Let’s not do this.
It sounds hokey, but what if you started your day with a smile… at yourself? Yes. Look at yourself in the mirror—into your own eyes—and smile.
Your smile has superpowers. So why not give that gift to yourself first thing when you start your day and right before you go to bed? It’s like setting an intention, only with action instead of words.
For the next week, give it a try. Look into the mirror, into your own eyes, and smile. Feel the love and the worthiness wash over you.
You are good enough. You are smart, beautiful, radiant, stunning, and your smile is a gift to anyone that gets the opportunity to witness it.
2. Beauty has nothing to do with perfection.
Especially here in the U.S., we have this very skewed perception of what beauty looks like. Thank goodness that is changing and we are beginning to understand that not one person on this planet is perfect. In fact, our flaws and imperfections are what make us special. They are endearing.
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m imperfect. My nose is crooked, I have stretch marks, and I will spare you the rest of the boring details that you will probably say, “whoop-di-do” about because to you, they don’t seem like that big of a deal.
Let me tell you, for a long time, they were a big deal to me. My point is this: we all think our problems and imperfections are so noticeable or huge, when in reality, they really aren’t to anyone else but ourselves.
We are our own worst critics. People love you—all of you—including your imperfections.
3. Embrace what is while being eager for more.
That being said, it’s okay to want what you want. You want to lose twenty pounds, cut your hair, improve your wardrobe, make more money, buy a bigger house, or find the love of your life?
Go for it!!
It’s human nature to have desires, to want to expand and experience more.
But here’s the catch: do it from a place of inspiration and excitement, not from a place of fear or lack.
Life is not suddenly going to be puppy dogs and sunshine when you “get there.”
Look for every opportunity to smile and fall in love with life right now, while you are on your way to any goal that you have set for yourself, and I promise, life will be so much more fun and rewarding. Chasing after something in order to fill a void never pans out.
Being happy with what is, looking for things to appreciate, seeing the silver lining right here and now, smiling and laughing every day as much as you can, and being eager for more at the same time is the name of the “true happiness and fulfillment” game.
There are not many situations in life where a smile wouldn’t make things better. So look for reasons to smile.
Let your light shine. Smile at your loved ones, coworkers, friends, neighbors, and strangers on the street. Smiling breeds smiling, which brings more joy, and who doesn’t want more of that?
Give it a try and see how much lighter and happier you feel. Your smile is a beautiful gift. Share it.
Which of these steps are you most excited to practice first?
Smiling woman image via Shutterstock
About Sheila Viers
Sheila Viers is the CEO of the premium gym & yoga bag brand, Live Well 360, and creator of ROCK Your Dream Body, the non-diet approach to weight loss and feeling amazing in your skin. Visit sheilaviers.com for more from Sheila and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram too!
The long Easter weekend offers lots of opportunities to really get cracking in the garden. Monty Don has suggestions for beautiful climbers that thrive in shady spots and gets on with planting up his vegetable garden.
Carol Klein returns to help first-time gardeners Dan and Dominique, and guides them in what to look for at a garden centre as they hunt out trees and shrubs for their new borders.
And Joe Swift visits a very special quarry garden in Staffordshire, racing to get ready in time to open to the public on Easter Sunday, despite being hit by the severe winter storms.
If, while looking upon a flower, someone knelt beside you and whispered in your ear, “Therein sits God,” would you continue to call the flower, a flower? Would not the stem become a scepter and the ring of petals become a crown? If you looked upon a tree and were told that the Divine saturated every leaf, would you continue to use the word tree, or would you call it Heavenly? Would you call a rock, a simple rock, if the whisperer explained that the stone hums along with the entire universe? Would a mountain become a throne? Would not a blade of grass become an ornament of light, a glorious undulation of the whole? What if you could grasp, even for an instant, the marvel of this Unity? How would life change?
If you knew the Divine was in the air, how differently would you breathe? If you knew the Divine was under your feet, how more carefully would you tread? If you knew that the Divine were in every drop of water, how differently would you bathe each limb of your body? Knowing such things, would you continue to place the sacred here and there, within and yonder?
Would you continue to restrict Divinity to a temple, or a book, or to the Heavens? Would you keep parceling and partitioning yourself and the world, or would you seek out the Presence in all places? Would you at last accept your identity as a precious jewel in the fabric of the whole?
Yet, there is a separation. You are here and the flower is there. But the whisperer explains: the flower helps us to forget our wholeness for a while, to help us understand that we delve and dance with a will of our own, even as we play within the wonder of creation, within the unity that Is, in the Oneness that will always hold us.
Learn more About James
In the springtime
go out and observe
on the fruit trees.
as the fruit grows.
So too will
the lower self, the false self, the ego,
as the Divine
grows within you.
As taught by Vivakenanda, and shared by Dr. Wayne Dyer on the PBS program ‘Wishes Fulfilled’
The teacher Vivakenanda was asked by his devotees, “How do you do it? How do you access your Higher Self? How do you make this your reality?” He answered with the above example to help us focus on our spiritual growth, knowing whatever is unnecessary to our highest learning will dissolve away like fruit blossoms.
It reminds me of Carl Jung: “Our most important problems cannot be solved. They must be outgrown.” This powerful concept helps retrain how I think, to pay NO attention to the things I don’t like in my life. I’m too busy being focused on where I’m headed. As Ernest Holmes taught, I choose to “Only look at that which you wish to experience.”
When I was single I noticed healthy, loving relationships around me with a smile and a glowing heart, knowing it would one day be my own joy – and now it is. When I allowed an unhealthy substance to take over my life, I prayed for and focused on what it felt like to be a light and carefree non-drinker, and that is my joyful experience of life now.
Every day I continue growing towards who I am becoming. I visualize myself feeling, behaving, and acting peacefully no matter what external events are happening. I certainly have a ways to go, but every slip up [such as yesterday when I was grumpy with my husband when I hadn’t noticed how hungry I’d become] helps strengthen my resolve to focus on calmness and inner peace. To be aware of what pulls me off balance so that I can remain steady. And I fully believe we all get where we’re going by looking forward, and giving zero attention to what we no longer want. Let’s focus on what we DO want, and let the rest fall away like finished fruiting blossoms.
Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE
“The businessless person does everything without leaving any mark. He lives in a joyful, relaxed way, achieving a lot without aiming for anything.”
“If we cultivate the spirit of aimlessness, we will be fresh and free, like the rose. But if the rose wishes to become a lotus, she will no longer be happy. A rose doesn’t need to become a lotus.”
“A rose should just be a rose, and deeply manifest all her beauty and fragrance in the present moment.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Nothing to Do, Nowhere to Go, p. 174
This says that we only really live when we realize the true worth of our physicality. Living as we do, bringing spirit into flesh with every breath and every thought that we create, we are the universe in all its magnificence coming into our form. This takes us into great intensity when we are present and aware right now, but much less so when we are distracted by ideas about what will be the next moment or looking at what was in the past.
Dear Ascension Pioneers!
I have ascended into a Higher state of Being and living my life, so the only way that I can serve All That Is, is to remain in these higher vibrations. Service to Grace of the Divine does not mean to lower our vibration in order to feel closer to others or them feeling closer to us. It is allowing ourselves to embody the vibratory state that we Exist within, and to show the Way to others … to those who also wish to ascend. Ascension is not a given, and I AM a pure example of that. It is a conscious choice and a constant task of raising our vibration and walking through our Spirit initiations. The old world is no longer my reality, and I AM sorry if that makes some people disappointed. But the only true disappointment is when we disappoint ourselves, and I AM not willing to go down that road, for it’s simply not my personal choice.
I choose to embody only Grace of the Divine, purity and innocence of my childlike Soul and the wisdom of my Higher Self!
Within Divine Love, Polona Aurea Dawn
P.S. Here are the updates about my personal services shared on my Blog: http://ascension-pioneers.blogspot.co…
Watch, learn and experience the strangest alien like life forms move, breathe and survive. Also, see microscopic creatures moving body parts up close as well as cells duplicating. Our waters hold secrets yet to be discovered. There is always life where is should never be. Here, this deep sea life can only be described as alien. Enjoy this educational underwater experience.
The stunning footage of deep-sea squids comes from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), where researchers use remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to observe and record deep-sea animal behaviors.
Learn more about MBARI *Monterey Bay Aquaruim Research Institute*
*Become A Memeber! http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/md…
*Make A Donation! http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr…
*Plan Your Visit! http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/vi…
*Animals And Exibits! http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/ef…
*Subscribe To Monterey Bay Aquarium YouTube Channel! http://www.youtube.com/user/MontereyB…
Image Source – Ajaytao 2012 Blog
Image Source: Thrive On News