Meditation in the Cave of Mary Magdalene at Winter Solstice

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The Cave of Mary Magdalene is set high in the cliff face beneath the rising Sun. According to legend, Mary Magdalene dwelt here in this Cave as a teacher and healer for thirty years.

The Cave of Mary Magdalene, high up in the side of a Provencal mountain, is a doorway into sacred space. It symbolizes the doorway which exists within you now, between the outer and inner Life. In Hebrew the name Magdalene means inner strength, and the protective space in which creativity can take place. The space of conscious meeting for formless spirit and universal formation.

The figure of Mary Magdalene represents the feminine consciousness within us all, both women and men, that desires to be fully alive, to awaken to our true nature, and realize our creative potential.

IMG_2663To enter within your innermost Self, listen with your whole body. Hear the silence, and the songs arising out of that timeless silence. Breathe consciously, and feel the still Presence out of which creative life is continually arising, as this moment, now.

Breathe with the Sun and the Earth, breathe with the forests and the Oceans. Breathe with the stars in the night sky.

Through engendering Love, compassion, and empathy in the human collective, parasitical thought forms from the egocentric mind cannot pollute or drain life from the world around us, nor destroy the new born spiritual awakening which is now taking root in the New Humanity.

Despite the negativity that we see and hear through politics and the media, there has never been a greater opportunity to awaken to the beauty of the universal consciousness that flows through every living thing, and that is available for us to step into right now, wherever we are.

IMG_2617This potential to awaken to the Bright Light of the Spirit is within the heart of every Woman and Man. It is a rebirth that takes us into the intensity of Life in the present moment.

The intense creative Presence of the fullness of life is timeless, calling us to awaken and join with the rest of creation in shared abundance: in a greater community where we join with all of our fellow species as companions.IMG_2544

To take this path is not avoidance of the human world, and all of the unnecessary suffering that so much psychological ignorance is causing at this time. Spirituality is not a way of enhancing the ego, making you richer and more successful or a better person than others. Spiritual awakening is to be inclusive, to consciously embrace multi-dimensional and diversifying Life, and live this Life fully.

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To enter within the depths of the human Spirit is to leave behind the baggage of mental noise, to leave our stories, histories and narratives about who we are and what we need.

Be still and enter the contemplative silence of no-mind: the suspension of all thought. Be conscious that the spiritual dimension is here within you now, in your breath and in your blood.

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It is only the unobserved mind and all its compulsive thought forms that separates us from the Malkut HaShamaim.

Malkut HaShamaim is translated as the Kingdom of Heaven. In Hebrew it means the formless Source of dynamic infinite potential, the unified field of every possible form of Life, beyond all our conceptions of time and space.

IMG_2687In Kabbalah this Source is sometimes called the Brilliance of Life: Bahir and Zohar are Hebrew words which seek to express the inner Fire – the essence of all Life, Source of every Woman and Man, and every living thing.

The essence of Kabbalah is to receive Life, which means to still the mind and become silent within. This creates a conscious vessel, a sacred space which receives the fire of life, and the realisation of connection to the abundance of this multi-dimensional universe, which is always here, now.

Love is another word for Consciousness, and it has no opposite. Love is a state of non-duality, where we cannot hate or be indifferent, cannot hide or lie, nor be afraid of and seek to control Life.

IMG_2632We are One with all that the mind interprets as the outside world

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When you are consciously present the whole universe can be felt as alive within you.

Mary Magdalene is the feminine face of fully realized Humanity, called Christ consciousness in biblical Greek. In the external world, she appears to have lost everything. She is an exile, a refugee, a woman who has witnessed the worst of human cruelty, the beginning of the war that will lay waste to her homeland. Yet she has found the certainty of the spiritual universe within herself, she lives and breathes it and teaches it to those around her.

We all have this same ability to connect with the spiritual universe and this opportunity is open to us now. It is not a future that we need to wait for.

When we choose to be present, we are joining the greater community of life. This means we are no longer enslaved by, the unconscious human mind. Our first step to true liberation and peace is realizing that we can step outside of the unobserved human mind, see the madness of the human world and not be overwhelmed by it. You too can tap into this creative spiritual dimension that frees you, by becoming conscious now. And if not now, when?

 

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Awakening to the Tree of Life

You are the Tree of Life in human form, a microcosmic reflection of the Universe. To begin to realise this is to consciously inhabit your body, and to live within awareness of non-duality. 

artwork by Melissa Martinez called Getting to know the Tree of Life, sacred geometry.

This wonderful artwork by Melissa Martinez called Getting to know… Tree of Life, Sacred Geometry – utilizing the hand-drawn diagram below from the book Patterns of Creation, depicts beautifully the inner reality of the Tree of Life. Every Woman and Man is a Tree of Life – a microcosm of the Universe in human form.

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Hand-drawn diagram of The Tree of Life. From the book Patterns of Creation. Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John.

The word for tree in ancient Hebrew is Etz. This word is deeply significant and has three profound meanings. It signifies firstly the totality of multi-dimensional life, in all its beauty and diversity: The World Tree, consciousness beholding consciousness through the diversity of everything that exists.

The second meaning is spinal cord. This takes us beyond the vertebrae and the skeletal structure of the physical body. It refers to the central axis of your entire spiritual, physical and psychological being, your vitality, right down to the cellular level. 

The third meaning is “building blocks” – the building blocks of life, not only that which is visible and tangible, but the deep underlying structures at the cellular and atomic levels.

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The Tree of Life is not a theory, something to believe in, or that needs to be endlessly discussed. It is our spiritual reality, our wholeness, connecting us directly with the life of the physical body, and the life of the Earth and all our fellow creatures.

To truly realise Etz Ha-Haim – The Tree of Life – bring all of your attention to this abundant vitality of life within. This vitality has its source in the formless Spiritual dimension at your core, and continually creates your mind and body, out of the timeless Present Moment.

Sit or stand quietly and breathe with awareness, breathing from the base of the spine so that the breath deepens naturally.

Enjoy the feelings of increasing aliveness, following the breath as it enters and leaves the body. Through each conscious breath you are connecting with the vitality of Life – both inner and outer – in all its magnificent diversity. From here you enter space without thought, simply being present. img_0795

Through conscious breathing, and enjoying the vitality that continually creates and sustains the body, the mind becomes still.  Silent space opens within; inner and outer merge, are realised as One.
Through the practice of the Conscious Breath of Life, realisation comes that you are a multi-dimentional being, connected to every living thing in the natural world, the solar system, and the Cosmos.

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“You are a Tree of Life, a living vine, connected to all that is unfolding in the natural world, the solar system and stars. You have within you the water and the wine, and beyond these symbols of form and Spirit, the light of consciousnes that continually gives birth to, and sustains, Creation.” From the book Patterns of Creation. Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John.

At your heart, you are rooted in the Eternal Present – I Am, timeless Now – out of which everything is created, formed and made into the life of the Cosmos.

The Tree of Life represents the still and silent spaciousness out of which the creativity of Universal Life continually emerges. This is always accessible to you. It is only through identification with the thought forms in the unobserved mind that you lose connection with timeless creative space. With its addiction to drama and crisis, the unobserved mind is always trying to make one problem after another. Then the spiritual dimension seems remote and inaccessible, and you feel disconnected from life.

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As you practice conscious breathing, movement and speaking in daily life, you open the possibility to consciously choose to be free from the collective and individual negative thought forms that torment us, and drain our life. Breathing and being present in all the little things of daily life, through all these seemingly insignificant routines and gestures, gives back the freedom of creative space.

Then you realize that in reality creative space has never left you. You are the Tree of Life in human form.

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Be the conscious breath

“Be still (become silent within – no mind) 
And know (as revelation)
The I that is Elohim (Presence – The Unity of Life).
Elohim will raise up (spiritually awaken) unconscious humanity.
Elohim exalts the whole created Earth.”
Psalm 46:10 (My translation from the Hebrew).
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What is the “I” that is Elohim?

The Hebrew letters Elohim are a meditation, and have always been mistranslated as God. But Elohim is not, and never has been, a deity. To experience the “I that is Elohim” directly is one of the most profound mystical teachings in the Bible.

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Take a conscious breath: be aware of the spine, let it be straight but not tense, with each conscious breath you are allowing the soles of the feet to connect with the Earth. Consciously connecting with the Earth, allowing it to support you, deepens the Presence in which the mind becomes still and silent.

Be aware, that as the spine relaxes, it elongates: you are allowing space between the vertebrae from the coccyx to the cranium. As you breathe out, be aware of the space before the in-breath, a pause that allows the breath to draw in naturally, without effort. As your shoulders and arms release tension, the chest opens, so that you feel space opening out from your centre, around the heart and solar-plexus.

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The Tree of Life showing the sacred geometry of life through the six directions of space. (Hand-drawn diagram from the book Patterns of Creation.)

Once you gain a deeper sense of inner stillness, become aware that Elohim – Presence -Unifying field of Life; Source of your Being – connects you with the whole of created existence.

This eternal Presence radiates from deep within you, through the six directions of space.

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This radiant Spirit is everywhere, in everything, the Source of all life.IMG_4512

From a greater awareness of life expressing itself in diversity on the Earth, become aware of your connection with the planets in the Solar system.
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The Earth and its Moon exist in symbiotic relationship as part of the great dance of life.

Be aware of the central point of the Solar system – the Sun – and through the Sun, your connection with the galaxy and the entire Cosmos. Everything is alive, everything is being breathed into existence.
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What we view in the sky is the core of the Sun. We live within the radiant body of the Sun, our physical bodies are made from the energy of the Sun and other stars.

As you breathe in, bring this awareness back to the center within you, beyond body and mind, beyond form. As you release the breath, be aware of the formless creative Spirit that breathes you: be aware that you are being breathed.

Elohim is the timeless source of all life, out of which you are continually created. As your awareness of the I that is Elohim increases, the sense of  an egocentric “I” and “mine” begins to diminish.

Star birth cloud - Hubble imagesYou are the living breath of the Universe in human form.
Breathe consciously, allow the conscious breath to carry you on your journey through life, with, and as, the creative pulse of life.
The universe is breathing you, and when you are conscious of the Eternal timeless Presence, the I that is Elohim, the universal breath flows through you.

Spiritual and Creative Retreats In France

Realising Inner Space through the Conscious Breath. Finding freedom to expand and Be.

 

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View from the garden

Practicing conscious presence connects you to the creative potential within yourself and the whole of life.

In the teachings of Kabbalah, the Hebrew word for this deeper awareness is Tipheret: 

תפארת

The meaning of Tipheret is Conscious Presence – the radiant Sun of consciousness which shines in beauty, goodness and truth as the heart of your Being.

This is universal, beyond time, and mind-made cultural divisions, and it lives within each person, and within all life, in the Unity of Being.

Tipheret connotes movement out of stillness – the observing consciousness remains in the stillness of peace during all our activities and the challenges that life presents to us.

Through the Hebrew letters, Tipheret means consciously meeting life in whatever form it comes to us. Then we can co-create with life while simultaneously releasing the past, which allows space for the new emerge out of the Eternal Presence.

Staying connected to inner Presence whilst the surface of life – the realm of the mind – continually changes is the essence of meditation, which enables you to bring this deeper awareness into your daily life.

IMG_4272The Light of Tipheret and the Tree of Life.

The lit candles of the Menorah represent the Tree of Life, an ancient and universal symbol for  the living Presence at the heart of your Being.

To light the candles is to awaken to the Conscious Breath, the life-force manifesting the body, and connect directly with the light of consciousness within all life.

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Dawn on New Years Day at theRetreat Centre.

To practice this more deeply join us on one of our retreats here in Southern France. For more details please click on the link to our retreats website below. 

Link to our retreats website: www.meditationretreatsinfrance.com

The Light of Consciousness.

Life is sacred, the Natural World is a reflection of the One Consciousness that permeates the Solar system, Galaxy, and Cosmos. This abundant flow of creativity gives rise to and sustains every living thing.

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Every moment of every day we are surrounded by intense beauty, which blazes forth from everything that appears to us as the external world. To feel this intense depth of life, become consciously present to this same lifeforce welling up from deep within you.

How can we cut ourselves off from the Earth that sustains our physical life?

How can we cut ourselves off from space, the solar system and the stars, that sustain our life, and through which we journey when we leave our physical body, and return to our spiritual home that is not built of matter but of what we experience through the physical senses as light?

IMG_3828Many years ago, I began to experience the Light of Consciousness, just as my life opened out, and I moved to the beautiful mountainous area of North Wales on the edge of the Snowdonia national park. In this elemental place, this Presence grew stronger in me. I lived where mountains sloped down to meet the sea, and the constant changing light and sunsets melted into the open horizon.

2014-10-13 09.53.17There I began to experience the essence of life behind the thin veil of physicality, in the living rock, in the woodlands and forests with their flowers, birds, animals and insects, and in the rivers and waterfalls swelling the abundance of life. I began to feel how all physical existence comes out of light, and how light shapes and holds all the diverse beauty of the natural world. 

2014-10-14 04.31.16Light is consciousness of Being made manifest in the Cosmos. The Light of Consciousness lives and breathes the rhythms and cycles of planets and stars, and they give life to the Earth in all its diversifying forms. Constant movement and change held by the still silence, that is the essence of life.

2014-10-14 05.06.46You are a Tree of Life rooted in the Stillness of the One,

connected to all that is unfolded in the Vast Cosmos,

the Solar System, and the Natural World.

Breathe and be Present to the vitality of Life flowing through you: This is the Love of Elohim. 

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Depiction of the Tree of Life, within the Vesica Piscis. The diagram comes from the book Patterns of Creation.

 This post is an extract from the Book Patterns of Creation.

Weekend Workshop at The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

Saturday the 19th and Sunday 20th of September 2015

  The Kabbalah

   Awakening to Unity

  with Stephen Pope

 “At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.”

Kabbalah teaches that the spiritual dimension is not distant or separate. It is present within us right now, as the core of our being and the Essence of who we really are. Only our mind-made sense of separation and fear keep us from awakening to the direct experience of Unity and Peace with all life.

Patterns of Creation - book coverLike the mystics and shamans of every culture, as we awaken spiritually, we make the mystical, journeys of ascent into the formless heavenly realities, and descent into the life of the body and the natural world and know them both as aspects of the One Creation.

This weekend we will work with some of the most powerful gateways to spiritual awakening – expanding awareness through meditation and the conscious breath, awakening the vital energy of the body and connecting with the animal spirits and the living Earth.

From this comes true freedom, as we transcend the mind dominated by ego to know our Unity with all life and realize the Peace and Stillness of Sacred Presence at our core.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years and a meditation teacher for the past 20 years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts. His book Patterns of Creation –Axis Mundi Books, June 2012. Is a radical and acclaimed exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

 10.00am Saturday – 4.00pm Sunday, including evening session on Saturday                           

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals   £165
You can join us for this companion Friday evening session as well  at a special price with two nights accommodation   £190

The Heart of the Wild

 7 – 9pm on Friday 18th September
with Eleanor O’Hanlon and Stephen Pope 

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The mystical and shamanic traditions teach that all life is conscious, interconnected and whole and we humans can commune with the spirits of minerals, plants, animals and the Earth itself. Western science and religious dogma broke that connection between humans and other life.

But now western science and shamanic teachings have begun to meet – many leading researchers in animal behaviour have come to see animals as conscious individuals that can choose to interact and commune with us.

Award-winning author Eleanor O’Hanlon speaks about this recent revolution and shares her own experiences of intimate connection with wild creatures from the desert elephants and rhinos of Namibia to the gray whales in Baja California. And with guided meditation, Stephen Pope takes us deeper into direct experience of inner connection with the animal spirits and the living Earth.

Eleanor O’Hanlon is a writer and conservationist. Her book Eyes of the Wild won the 2014 Nautilus Gold Award for Nature Writing. http:www.eyesofthewild.org

  £12 suggested donation for the Friday evening only 

All bookings through The Abbey Sutton Courtenay:

 The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 
Telephone: 01235 847 401 
Email: admin@theabbey.uk.com  
http://www.theabbey.uk.com              

Meditation on Conscious Communion

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Everything is Alive – everything is Conscious.

All the stars, planets, all of the minerals, plants and animals: All are creative life forms within the One sea of consciousness. All are expressions of the single conscious breath, behind which, Life is Still, Silent, timeless, Presence.

In biblical Hebrew Elohim (usually translated as God) expresses timeless Creative Presence.

As you read this now: Breathe with awareness, feel the spaciousness within connecting to all that appears as external to you.

אֱלֹהִים

Eternal – timeless – formless – Presence;

Formless movement out of the present moment; 

Conscious Breath of Life; 

Creative Potentiality, 

taking shape and form as the Great Ocean of Creative Space. 

Feel the stillness out of which the movement of the breath arises. 

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The Universe shines forth continuous creativity, and we bathe in its Brilliance. 

The Light of Consciousness.

The Sun blazes this same Cosmic Brilliance, a cell within the great Universal body.

The Earth is that Brilliance; 

All life forms are that Brilliance;

You are that Brilliance in Human form.

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Become conscious of the movement of your breath, anchoring you in Presence.

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A Blue Whale on a rolling breath, Loreto, Baja California, Mexico.

You are a point of consciousness within multiple fields of consciousness that interpenetrate each other: A multi-dimentional being within a multi-dimentional Universe.

When you realise the formless unity of all these fields of consciousness you share life with, you partake in conscious communion.

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You are connected to a vast web of life, from sub atomic particles to the Earth itself. You are connected to the Solar system and the Stars of the Galaxy, to the depths of the Cosmos.

Planet-earthAll that we experience through the physical senses is the surface of things. 

Breathe consciously and feel the aliveness opening out beneath the surface.

As you go within, following the conscious breath, you enter a multi-dimensional creative Universe, obscured by the compulsive thinking of the egoic mind.

The intense aliveness within you is met by the intensity of aliveness in all that appears to the mind as the external Universe.

The call To Be in immediate Presence brings Peace and Inspiration into the World.

This is your gift to all Life.

Subject and object diminish into the One Conscious Communion of Life.

Easter 2015 Retreat in Southern France: Practicing Conscious Presence

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The Essence of Life

2014-10-01 06.49.30This blog post is inspired by a walking meditation in forested mountains on the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Meditation in the Forest.

Through the conscious breath I felt a deepening connection with the underlying Spirit of Life.

On the surface of things, Life is not meant to be easy, the struggle for life means death is ever present: the continual creative upwelling demands intense awareness from the life forms inhabiting the Earth. 

Alert awakened Presence is the cutting edge of continual renewal, as the essence of Life shapes the manifest World.

In the intense Presence of Life – beneath the appearance of things – everything is known 

to be One.

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In reflecting Conscious Presence, inner and outer dissolve into One: There is no other. That which Is the underlying formless source of external reality, is felt, and known, to be within.

Beneath the different forms of multiple movements lies the great Ocean of formless fluidity, Ha-Main in Hebrew, potent life force, fluid space allowing all things to be in existence, to interact, one with another, to transform from one form into another.

Each life form has its time before it dissolves to be reborn anew.

 הַמַּיִם

Ha Maim – the Waters of Life.

Nothing is separate; the beholding consciousness meets that of the conscious whole. All our mind-made divisions resolve into One breath.

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The 11th century German Mystic Hildegard of Bingen spoke of the intense Greenness of Life as the expression of God’s Presence.

In ancient Hebrew the expression of the intensity of Life is found in the words, Ani El Shaddai. These words point to the reality that is the foundation of the Abundant Life of the natural World. Usually mistranslated as “I am Almighty God”, its meaning is much deeper:- 

אֲנִי־אֵל שַׁדַּי

 Ani – El Saddai

I – the One, the all nourishing essence of Life.

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אֲנִי

Ani – The I of consciousness – Being – The Real,

Still, Presence.

Be Still and breathe with awareness of the life force within you.

The physical Universe continually emerges out of intense alert Presence.

אֵל

El -No-thing, Being, source of the continual flow of Life; the creative dance- every movement emerging out of, and supported by Stillness.

The potency and potential of every emergent life form.

שַׁדַּי

Shaddai; all nourishing abundance, the vivifying fire, the breath of cosmic motion; the feminine breasts – to nourish its progeny into evolving, ever changing, diversifying life.

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With Her foot resting upon a skull – She symbolises the still centre, beyond the cycles of life and death.

El-Shaddai: The power of Life that underlies nature, the planetary being, the solar system, the galaxy and the universe, continually breathes life into every form.

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To Breathe with awareness is to begin to engage fully with life – to meet consciousness with consciousness.

  When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

 The realisation of non-dualuality, each movement unified by awareness of stillness. 

 Universal Creativity revealed in consciousness beholding itself.

One Breath Meditation

 

Corsican Sunset

Corsican Sunset

On Sun warmed rock, a gentle wind caressing my skin, the deepening rhythmic pulse of the sea fills my senses, opening out into the fathomless deep of creative potential.

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Sun enraptured rock, the earth rising up blood-red into flesh and bones.

The rising wind blows through me.

Cells suspended in ever expanding space, the rhythmic sea, mirrored in the rising and falling Breath.

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Ancient iron rich lava flow – Corsica

Landscape, wind and ocean merge as one continuous up-welling movement within timeless, still space, continuously filling to the brim.

I am no more. 

Life moves through and beyond any thought of me.

אֲנִי

Ani, the I of consciousness in Hebrew,

the fullness of Life; No-thing, Presence, becoming all.

The Universe’s singing like a great bowl consumes me into her song.

She takes me into herself,

I, without thought; deepening Presence – the spirit of the breath of Life.

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The radiance of every form of Life rings out continually to humanity calling us into awakening.

אֶֽהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶֽהְיֶה

Ehieh Asher Ehieh

Ehieh is the unspoken manta heard in each consciously taken Breath.

One Breath filling every form of life with song,

each part in communion as the dance unfolds in the blaze of the universe.

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NASA – hs interacting spiral Galaxies