Emotional/Spiritual Channel Conditioning
Spirituality requires exercise just like the body because the desired emotional/spiritual channels need to be kept open and undesired ones closed. Things happens with open channels in a phenomena known as synchronicity.
Spiritual Yoga for Awareness and Mental Discipline
(July 7, 2022) Yoga is a physical and spiritual exercise which developed in India after the Zoroastrian Persians invaded the Indus Valley. The word "yoga" means "connection" in Sanskrit which gives a hint of its original purpose.
Most people who start Yoga today just want a well balanced exercise regimen which also exercises balance and flexibility. Yet after about 6 months many people notice themselves becoming more aware of their emotional/spiritual flows. When I asked others on a Yoga retreat how they got into Yoga most said this very thing. Its spiritual benefits came as a complete surprise.
Yoga's Short Term Use in Preparing for a Connective Practice
Yoga works at two time scales. The short time scale is a single Yoga session. At the end of such a session the mind is ready for a connective practice like a ritual, meditation, or a divination. The long term time scale is all about changing our habits of mind in a more connective direction.
A yoga session, when properly done in a spiritual way, works by having the student focus on feeling the sensations of their body as they move through the poses. Most of the time we do not consciously feel our body so this is an exploration of self-awareness. The poses are done to the point of feeling something out in the body away from the central core. Pain is never supposed to be felt because that means the student has pushed the pose too far. These generated feelings are "out there" yet they are still a part of our body. Once these "out there" sensations becomes habitual the student can then extend them more readily out beyond the body to others and to the spiritual realm.
At the end of every practice is a short meditation time called "Shivasina." At this time the mind is primed for connectivity and ready for some divination . Try to look out through your eyelids and clear your mind. You may eventually see different colors and patterns triggered by the eyeball's inner floaties. Interpreting these later requires that you know your personal emotional/spiritual correspondences.
Yoga's Long Term Use in Connective Emotional/Spiritual Conditioning
Yoga affects our habits of mind. Connective repetition of the various body feelings enhances the brain's ability to perceive connections in other emotional areas. This is analogous to athletic training. If an athlete becomes good at one sport then he or she more readily takes up others because the basic body coordination skill set is already there. Thus yoga makes a person more spiritually aware in general. Over time this generates a generous and open personality which is something opposite from that promoted by dogmatic religions which promote narrow mindedness.
Yoga's Use in Mental Discipline Conditioning
Some people are like leaves in the wind, being blown this way and that based upon whatever compulsive desire comes into their mind. They cannot hold fast to goals and end up being isolated from others because they do not do what they say they will do. Being able to hold onto a goal and keep promises is important for growth, balance, and staying connected to others.
Yoga helps with this because it emotionally conditions the mind to put up with discomfort. Holding poses produces some discomfort. This forces the student to separate the feeling of discomfort from the underlying sensation in order to transcend the discomfort for the greater goal of Yoga (connection).
The story of Taliesin at Sacred Texts comes from the translation done by Lady Charlotte Guest in 1877. The story of Taliesin is the story of how the magical Bard of the Welsh gained his magical wisdom and music from drinking a potion of Awen and going through a series of transformations. The Greeks also had such a Bardic archetype going by the name of Orpheus who became the center of his own mystery cult.
Stories based up such fantastic ancient tales are great learning tools to expand the mind. The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids uses the story of Taliesin in its introductory course work.Image from Sacred Texts Archivee online at: https://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/mab/mab32.htm
Training for Emotional Channel Opening and Awareness
(July 7, 2022) As a group, Nature Pagans tend to be the most creative people around because they have imagination and are not afraid to use it. Nature Pagans tend to keep their childhood imagination whereas most adults tend to lose it. This allows Pagans to go beyond asking the question "why" into asking the question "why not." As physicists like to say: "One good question is worth a thousand facts."
So we need to collect life experiences to find our various likes and dislikes. We have to occasionally get out of our habitual routines and push our comfort level from time to time.
Experiencing mind expanding artistic creations is a must. This ranges from reading insightful fiction and poetry, to viewing insightful art, movies and TV shows, to attending plays and dance performances, to listening to music. All these things are collectively known as "culture" and this is different from those events which only pander to our preconceived notions or to our more primal instincts and potential addictions.
Aphorisms are short wise sayings tend to open up a emotion channels. A good spiritual exercise is to read one each day and reflect upon it.
Learning About Other People's Emotional/Spiritual Channels
We tend to assume people feel and value things just like us. This is not the case. Learning what other people have felt or might feel allows us to understand ourselves and others. This can range from study of psychology and neuroscience to reading insightful fiction and biographies.
The study of mythology holds a special place because mythological characters and themes often reflect emotional archetypes. These are genetically defined emotions common to all humans.
(July 7, 2022) Meditation and divination are two halves of the same coin. Both are ways to check on the state of our emotional/spiritual channels by exposing the unperceived emotional/spiritual currents in our lives. Divination predicts the future only indirectly. Uncovering the hidden allows for more accurate insights into future events.
Meditation and divination are intertwined because of the Spiritual Uncertainty Principle. We are unable to separate out the influences coming from our own brain from the influences coming from our spiritual and social networks.
Nature-based meditation is not the meditation of the Buddhist tradition. Stillness of mind is not the goal but only a means to an end. Mind stillness is used to find those quiet voices in the background which are covered up by the loud mind chatter of day to day living. Meditation is a spiritual listening practice.
Divination is also a spiritual listening practice except that Divination uses various techniques to guide thoughts for uncovering the hidden spiritual/emotional influences. A basic divination technique flowing right out of meditation is using the chakras to focus thoughts on the resonances from different parts of the body.
Spirit walks are a good divination/meditation practice for any level of practitioner. Find a place in nature where you will not be interacting with people and try changing your perception by just feeling and reaching out. Perhaps close your eyes for a bit and mentally or even physically go through the opening stages of a ritual. Then start walking with spiritually soft eyes. See things not as they are but for what they might mean. What are the trees, flowers, and birds saying to you?
Tarot is the premier divination method used in Nature Spirituality. It works because it applies the Barnum effect to a journey. At any given time everyone is on several life journeys involving work, family, relationships, religion, hobbies, etc. Consequently, the cards drawn will usually speak to one or more of these life journey's. The Barnum effect is our tendency to interpret general statements and images and apply them to our own unique circumstances. This is a very effective method to draw out hidden or suppressed concerns either from one's inner being or from one's emotional/spiritual network.