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Sevaji, also known as Johannes Linstead, is an award-winning musician whose recordings of World Music and Latin Guitar have charted in the Top Ten on Billboard magazine’s New Age chart. He has More »

In The Presence Of Love

Wherever you go you are surrounded by vibrations. Everything is giving off some sort of vibration that we feel on both subtle and gross levels. Occasionally these vibrations affect us in ways we are unaware of and some we can measure with the way they make us feel.
 
When we feel at peace we know we are where we are meant to be. When we feel uneasy, we can surmise that something is not right and not serving our highest purpose. But bear in mind that if our mind is not serving us correctly that being in even the right place will still feel wrong.
 
Sometimes we need to heal ourselves of the past so that we can benefit from the present and recognize where we are meant to be. Meditation helps to bring healing and helps to bring us out of the past to be more mindful of the present.
 
The beauty of nature also touches us and heals us on so many levels often inspiring us to relax and slow down from the hectic pace that we have grown accustomed to. The vibration of the trees, the flowers, and the earth beneath our feet bring a serenity that not many things in life offer. The fresh air, the gentle music of a bird’s song, the vibrant colours of myriad flowers and leaves, soothes the senses and reminds us that there is life in abundance beyond the cold city walls.
 
Have you ever communed with a tree or a flower? Within their silence is the essence of love. If you can become as still and silent as the tree, the tree will reveal many secrets, but only if you listen from within. The tree’s silent centre is the same centre that exists in you, in every animal, in every plant, in every drop of water. It is only within this silence that life can be know, that love can be known.
 
Perhaps, if you have been truly blessed and aware, you have met someone in which your silence and there silence have met. In that silence is the presence of love. Sitting with a person who has made meditation a part of their life it is bound to happen, because while others have been busy chasing fame and fortune, they instead have spent a good portion of their life searching for that silence.
 
Meditation – that is, the search inwards – is certain to bring one closer to their inner silence and once it has been found the lotus flower awakens. The lotus flower has always been there, it exists in everyone, from the sinner to the saint, but so few have taken the time to nurture it.
 
Just like any flower, it is fragile and needs to be tended to. A flower will not live without the right soil, the right amount of water, and the right amount of sunlight.
 
Think of all your thoughts, actions, and emotions as either sustenance for the lotus flower to blossom or as poison that will slowly make the flower wilt, wither and die.
 
Do you on a daily basis bring light to your being or darkness? Love awakens while hatred, anger, jealousy, fear, greed, and so on, bring dis-ease.
 
If you come to sit with me, to meditate with me, I don’t want your words, beliefs and opinions. Words, beliefs and opinions never bring true commonality and often bring discord. Instead, sit with me in the presence of love, in stillness, in silence. Let my silence meet your silence and in that silence there can be no separation, only communion.
 
If you and I can sit together and merge from that place of shunya, of nothingness, then together we will know the greatest secret of life: that amidst the chaos of the world, amidst all our differences, and amidst all our conflicting beliefs, there is peace, there is oneness, there is love.

The Political Mind

As humans, a so-called “evolved” species, we have a vastly complex hierarchy of power, far more complex than in the animal kingdom. In the animal kingdom it is quite simple: the most powerful rules. In a pride of lions only one lion will be the primary alpha male. To determine this, the male lions will engage in a ferocious fight and whoever is the victor is established as the leader of the pride. Occasionally, a challenger will emerge to contest the rule leading to yet another bloody battle.

In the human domain, we have numerous countries – or prides – dividing the planet, each with a ruler and various sub-rulers. This ruler is never the strongest nor the smartest. What seems to win the position is the degree of cunningness. Thus, the political mind must use various tactics to win the votes of the citizens – the more diabolical the better.

Centuries ago, Italian political strategist Niccolo Machiavelli wrote a manifesto now known as The Prince in which he gave direction on how to use ruthless tactics to control populations and win battles and conquer foreign lands.

In The Prince he wrote, “If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”

To a spiritually conscious person this sounds utterly insane. And indeed it is. This sort of ruthlessness is not the way to create peaceful society but the way to control a kingdom through fear. And this has been the mentality of almost all politicians throughout the ages: to use diabolical strategies to compensate for lack of strength and intelligence, to rule by force rather than by wisdom.

Most people, the average working class who earn an honest living, do not want war; they wish only to pursue happiness. Why go to war, risk your life, and kill people, when you can do your 9 to 5 job and then go home and enjoy time with your family, friends, or pet?

Happiness and stability are the enemies of the power hungry politician. So a politician must prove a threat to your happiness to justify a war, or increase taxes, or enlarge the government, or take away your freedoms for your own protection.

It is only in instability that political agendas can be rapidly pursued. Hence, people like Machiavelli are valued by governments. There are very cunning people behind the scenes that you never hear of that work for governments devising ways to extract money from you or take away your rights by creating wars, laws and new taxes.

In the last few decades, for example, the Middle East has really been the playground for the US, orchestrating many problems there by funding one leader to fight against another leader, selling weapons, creating coups, and imposing puppet leadership that will allow the US to control resources. “Religion” or “freedom” or “terrorism” have been the pretext to justify their greed and acts of aggression.

Humanity must awaken to the deception perpetrated on mankind by such cunning leaders. Once you become aware of the schemes the patterns become clear.

Remember: in anger, hatred, violence, greed, and lust for power you are easily swallowed into their political control. Instead see the insanity for it is and choose spiritual wisdom. Awaken kindness. Awaken compassion. Awaken peace. Awaken generosity. Awaken unity. But most of all, awaken love.

My Heart’s Soliloquy

Sing to my soul in a gentle whisper
As I pluck the strings of my guitar
For you I will create the most divine music
All I ask is that you never stray afar

I walked through this eternal garden
Life after life searching always in vane
But you were here with me all along
In the earth, the trees and the rain

With inner silence I hear your voice speak
With closed eyes I see your divine form
The heavenly angels sing of your beauty
While the stars dance above this earthly storm

Though the raging world may be in chaos
Meditating on your love I find tranquility
Peace, love, compassion and surrender
These are the words of my heart’s soliloquy

Forget Not Thy Mother

An ocean is a unity of many vital elements merged together to become one organic wholeness. You can separate one drop and that drop becomes an ocean unto its self, a microcosmic expression of a vast flowing, life sustaining, macrocosm.

To know a drop of water is to know the whole ocean. Each droplet contains the essence and the miracle is that you can return that drop of water into any ocean in the world and it is absorbed back into the whole. It merges wholly and unconditionally.

This is much like human consciousness. Every individual droplet of consciousness is connected to a greater consciousness. But by a phenomenon called ego we believe ourselves to be separate from the ocean of consciousness that is the living, breathing universe.

Until we merge we experience separation and a longing to unite. This often goes misunderstood and people turn to relationships to find fulfillment or turn to other things to fill the void.

When we were in our mother’s womb we were one with our mother, nurtured, sustained, connected. We were loved and protected. We had all we needed. Then one day we were brought into the world to begin discovering life and all its lessons.

For a time, after after birth the mother and child energy is still connected. If you can recall, when you were apart from your mother you felt the pain of separation and cried until you were nestled back into her loving arms.

Like all children as we matured the separation took place. We learned to stand on our own two feet and we learned to walk away from the love of the mother and be independent.

We have separated from Mother Nature. We have forgotten to be in gratitude for the sustenance she has provided to all. We have been given soil to grow trees and plants for fruits and vegetables, the sun for warmth, the rains to quench our thirst, the air to breathe. But somewhere in our evolution we have forgotten to honor the mother – Mother Nature in this case – and we can see the consequences of this separation – poisoned water systems, destroyed forests, toxic air, damaged ozone layer, and so forth.

We have also forgotten the Divine Mother, the sacred connection between each human life and the eternal love of the universe. This universe is the womb from which all life has been brought into being. We have forgotten the infinite love that awaits us and instead seek fulfillment in the material instead of what we could call the maternal – the Adi Shakti, which is eternal and everlasting.

To be engrossed with the material only is to be in the transitory and not the eternal. To find the eternal one must remember the divine feminine in all one’s actions, that is, to honor and love all life, to grow in wisdom and understanding, to live simply and honestly in accord with spiritual principals, and to serve the world in gratitude knowing that you are part of it all and all of it is part of you.

I mentioned that a drop of water is a separate ocean unto its self. But it is when that single drop unites with many, many other drops that it becomes something far greater. It is a case of the sum of the whole being greater than the parts. This is experienced during group meditation, for example.

Something magical happens when people meditate together. Instead of being individual drops, they begin to merge and form a powerful ocean. This group energy can be used to uplift global consciousness – not just of meditators, but of normal everyday people, too. Criminals can be elevated and even plants and animals can be elevated by the efforts of compassionate, loving, and healing thoughts by concerted meditators.

We are constantly being guided upwards to heavenly realms, but we sabotage ourselves by rigid thinking, misguided belief systems, or self-serving interests that benefit the one and not the many. Through meditation, devotion and surrender we invite the creative energy – this Adi Shakti power – to fill us and we no longer function as an individual; we become a vessel for the Divine Mother, the primal creative energy, to guide us to truth and pure living.

Like a drop of water contains the whole ocean, each human being contains the whole universe. To surrender ego and self-serving interests we lose nothing but gain the backing of cosmic consciousness. With this reservoir of creative energy comes the ability to manifest a beautiful and kind world.

A vast ocean that embodies love and compassion is needed now more than ever to guide humanity and all life forms upwards. A single drop cannot effect the world with the same force of an entire ocean, therefore, unite dear yogis and merge with the divine. Become oceanic.

Tathata

There is a most beautiful and sacred word in the spiritual lexicon. Many have not heard it: it is Tathata. Tathata translates as “acceptance” but it is far more than this because it must be interpreted beyond the mundane meaning of words. It has a spiritual connotation that must be felt and experienced to understand it.

When we say we accept something – a situation, a person, or a flaw – we typically do not mean we fully accept it; we usually mean that we tolerate it. And tolerance comes in many shapes and sizes.

When we use language we use words very loosely, like the word “love”. We may say “I love that shirt”, but do we really love it? We may say we love a person, but to what depth do we really love that person?

Love is a totality, it is not a partial phenomenon. Either you love fully or you do not love at all. With the word Tathata it is just like true love: total acceptance. Not partway, not semi, not pseudo acceptance but entire wholehearted acceptance.

But what is it that we are to accept? Life, as it is.

Life is joy. Life is tragedy. Life is pleasure. And life is pain. It is logical to accept the good, for who would reject the enjoyable things in life? But it seems very illogical to accept the bad, for who wants to accept tragedy, pain, and sorrow? However, this is what gives the word its spiritual potency.

True spiritual power comes from acceptance. If you think about it, what power is there in accepting only the good? None, because when the bad comes what will happen to your inner peace? It will crumble like a castle made of sand.

Life ebbs and flows, like the waves of the ocean, and sooner or later the tide will turn and wash away your inner peace if you are not spiritually prepared. Power, in a spiritual sense, arrives when you can whether the storms of life and never be defeated.

Tathata is mastery of self and mastery of consciousness. The spiritual potency of tathata says, “Oh, Divine Creator, you can bring me whatever challenges you like, but I will not be shaken. I shall remain steadfast in my love of You and my love of life itself. All that I experience are your generous gifts.”

The more we reject the more we suffer. The more we accept the more we are at peace.

It is a very difficult concept to digest, because to accept the negative sounds very apathetic and uncaring. There are famines, diseases, murders, wars, corruption. How can we possibly accept this?

First, imagine it is you who is experiencing the famine, for example. Can you accept it? Your un-acceptance will not change the fact that you are starving. Your un-acceptance will not bring you food. Your un-acceptance will not fill your belly.

If you are starving you have choices, choices that may not even change your physical suffering. One is un-acceptance; that you become negative: you get angry, resentful, and fearful. The other choice is acceptance, to enter the state of tathata and be at peace with the situation. Either way, your death may come, but in tathata you are at peace with that which you cannot change.

There is a Christian prayer from St Francis of Assisi that I love. It states:
“Lord, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Tathata is total acceptance, balanced with wisdom and guided by truth. Truth recognizes what is false. Wisdom is understanding how to transform the false to truth. And tathata is accepting that which is that cannot be changed, and that which is but can through your love be transformed.

Motivation

In an interview I was asked by TO Lifestyle to offer some advice about motivation. My response:

The best words of motivation I can offer would be to observe what your own motivation is. Some people are motivated by power, money, sex, the need for fame, and so on. If this has worked for you and you are truly content within, by all means carry on. But if lasting peace has not been found in these endeavours consider something more eternal. I can think of nothing better than love to motivate one’s life path. Love, in the truest sense of the word, has never motivated anyone to destructive ways. Love motivates peace, forgiveness, healing, compassion. Love has inspired the most beautiful poetry, paintings, sculptures and architecture that has graced this earth. Therefore, I say be guided by love and you will always be inspired to offer the world the best of who you are.

http://mmaquotes.blogspot.ca/2014/10/johannes-linstead-seva-singh-on.html http://tolifestyle.com/post/100473986913/what-inspired-the-title-of-your-album-midnight

Divine Music of God

For many the mind is a cacophony of noise
For others the mind is a complicated symphony
For few the mind it is a strummed guitar
For the enlightened, the mind is a hollow bamboo flute

Krishna-FluteIn the cacophony the outside world is playing the instruments off-key with great discord and confusion. There is no direction and no guidance. There is no rhythm to life. This is the world of fear, lack of self-control, and enslavement. The mind and body are not at peace and the heart suffers greatly.

With the symphony, the outside world still conducts the music, but one may have moments when he or she is the soloist, or at least has the illusion of such. One may fit comfortably into society but is still a slave to the economy, debt, governments, and other forms of rulership. It is a tolerable enslavement and one may not even be aware that he or she is not free.

With the strummed guitar the seeker learns to play his own song away from the crowd. He is becoming an individual, discovering what beauty he has hidden within. The music is in harmony with himself and nature but there is still a longing to create a great masterpiece. There is still separation: the guitar and the player are not yet one.

With the hollow bamboo flute, one enters into mastership and life itself becomes the greatest masterpiece. The Master surrenders the illusions of mind and ego and becomes the flute, allowing the universe to play its song through him. This liberation from mind and ego is the ultimate freedom.

Empty yourself of you, your will, your ego, your mind. Be like a hollow bamboo flute. Be the divine music of God. Let the universe dance inside you until you are no longer the dancer and you become the dance itself. When the dancer fully surrenders to the dance, when the musician becomes the music, a strange phenomena occurs: ecstasy.

– Sevaji

Loss and Grieving

There are two sacred and mystical moments in everyone’s life: the moment the soul enters the body and the moment the soul leaves the body. We call these moments birth and death. The first is usually a cause for rejoicing and celebration, while the latter is often feared and met with tears of sadness.

Reflect for a moment on birth: from where did this soul come? Reflect for a moment on death: to where will this soul go? Is there a soul? These are the great mysteries that we have all contemplated at some point in our lives.

We can remain philosophical about the existence and nature of the soul and its journey, but we can never really know until we so fully merge with that higher aspect of who we are by delving deeper into the spiritual path and thereby shattering the illusions and limitations of who we believe ourselves to be. Only then we fully realize we are not simply one dimensional human beings but vast and infinite soul beings.

To be consumed by the philosophy surrounding the enigmas of the soul or spirit will not lead to many answers. The understanding needs to begin with that which is within reach, that which is graspable. What is within reach and graspable? Your own mortal heart.

We could not endeavor to understand the distant stars, planets and galaxies if we didn’t first understanding this earthly abode. We had to first understand what was graspable; the laws of gravity, physics, matters, and so on. Equally we must first understand our own physical form and mortality. Why? Because there must be some fundamental and significant reason as to why the soul inhabits a physical form in the first place.

Does the soul enter a body haphazardly or is there a higher reason? Many religious teachings believe that the soul incarnates into a body to learn certain lessons that only the physical realm can provide. Some would even go so far as to say the every soul is an aspect of God, and that we are all thus here as part of God experiencing the material world.

No matter what lies after death it is all speculation and conjecture, and you will not truly know until you experience it for yourself.

To me, what seems to be of more importance is that which is graspable and within reach here an now – not what may or may not be after death. The bigger question is not so metaphysical, not so esoteric, but is simply: what significance can we give to our life today in this very moment?

We have caused others pain and we have felt our own pain. We have laughed and we have cried. We can watch thousands and even millions of people suffer on the television and it may affect us a little or perhaps not even at all, but when the suffering is our own suddenly we remember how deep pain can go.

When someone we love dearly departs this life, we may suffer the loss so profoundly as if our hearts are being ripped apart. Sorrow can go so deep within us that at times we wish we could leave this earth as well. Suddenly we realize how deeply we love. Suddenly we are forced to remember we have a heart.

Death can bring out so many emotions: confusion, fear, forgiveness, love, sadness, and even anger. But these are the difficult lessons that we must all witness and grow from, for each have the power to raise our consciousness and to grow in compassion.

It is okay to be sad. It is okay to grieve. The sense of loss reminds us that we have a heart capable of feeling such profound emotion. It’s like a sudden jolt to the heart chakra, revealing our capacity to love. Loss reminds us to always cherish the people close to us and to never hold back from loving them, for we never know when they may also depart. Unfortunately, all too often these lessons forgotten over time.

We could watch the suffering of others from a distance but until we experience it for ourselves we know absolutely nothing about it. The person in the final moments before death is learning many things. We as the loved ones experiencing the loss learn many things. And one day someone who cares about us will learn about suffering from our own death. This is the cycle.

Death, whether other’s death or our own, teaches us something so intimate if we are truly aware and listen. And if we are blessed to learn something through it, it is essential that we hold these lessons very dearly within our hearts. As dearly as we hold our departed loved ones in our hearts, so too must we hold the lessons, just as close, as difficult as it may be.

The heart is fragile. Love is fragile. Life is fragile and so fleeting. Understanding this, how can we squander it so foolishly and selfishly as we do? This needs to be pondered. With every birth a death comes as a guarantee. And this is beautiful if we can release our fears of the unknown. Death is a doorway into a mystery and a chance to begin a new cycle.

Remembering our own mortality and the lessons of loss gives us the perspective to honour and cherish life and the desire to cause no harm nor suffering for any sentient being. You are alive today, but you may not be tomorrow or even in the next breath so honour your life and do good things with the short time you have here in this body. By living each day with loving kindness, by giving freely of your love, and by remembering all the lessons that both life and death have given you, you will live without regrets.

Birthing Reality

This is a magnificent thought: that at this very moment you are giving birth to reality. Stop and reflect on how wondrous this truly is!

No matter where you are at this very moment you are creating your very own reality. If you can’t really grasp the magnitude of this idea you will more than likely question your power.

You may say, “Well, if I am creating my reality I want something better right now!” But alas, you can have something better right now. If you are feeling a little down you have the power right now to change that. The reverse is also true; if you are happy you can actually will yourself to be sad.

You may not realize you are willing things into being, but you are. Sure some restrictions apply, but the more locked into limiting beliefs the more the restrictions – which are self imposed – will affect your ability to shift reality. Likewise, the less bound by limiting beliefs the greater your power to affect the here-now.

The Wiccan faith (yes, the ones that were considered witches) were and still are among the various spiritualist, cults, and certain religions that discovered and utilized the power of intent to affect reality. They were known for their spells and incantations that harnessed the forces of energy and nature to enact their will. The closing affirmation to their magic spells was often “As I will, so mote it be!”

If your mind is as it was meant to be, as a servant to serve you in this earthly life, then recognizing that you are giving birth to reality with every thought is an exciting concept. But if your mind is off, stuck on destructive thinking, then it may be a repulsive concept because it means that you are responsible.

Whether you like it or not, you are birthing reality every moment. Practice birthing reality consciously at random times until you get the hang of it and can be a fully conscious creator of your life. What would you like to change right now? Do you want to be more happy? Healthier? More kind, less grumpy? Think about what you believe you can change right now and will it to be so.

Once you get the knack for it the sky is the limit. You can birth an amazing earthly existence if you wish to but take this to the realm of spirit and you can create miracles around you with every thought. Imagine if every thought you think could serve you to the highest measure…These are the words Confucius spoke some two thousand five hundred years ago: “Is virtue a thing remote? I wish to be virtuous, and lo! Virtue is at hand.”

Make your mind work for you, think it and lo! it shall be!

The Music of Life

What a blessing music has been to me. When I was a child I was fascinated that by stringing together a few notes the sound produced could either make no sense or could touch my heart. What was is that made the notes melodious and soul stirring? What was the secret behind this? These question lead to a deep inquiry within me, almost like a religious person’s journey to find god.

I never set out to find god; I only set out to know my self, to understand what things bring me joy and peace, and what things bring me closer to know my heart and to know my soul. Many beautiful mistakes were made along the way, each a new discovery in itself, just like a child who begins to learn to play the piano or guitar. First there will be many bad notes played and perhaps a poor sense of rhythm, but with time the notes begin to flow with rhythm and, if the commitment and dedication is there, the novice grows into an apprentice and eventually into a master.

Composing music lead me to go deep within, to spend many hours in solitude. In my silence I discovered that the current of creativity that I once thought was “me” is not me. For as the inward journey continued I discovered that this current is everyone and everything and everywhere.

The universe is a divine orchestra of which humans play a part, along with the birds, the trees, the ocean waves, the moon, the sun, the planets, the galaxy…The greatest discovery was that the more I surrender this concept of “me” the more the unending gift of the divine flows into me. The cosmos is an inexhaustible symphony of sounds, colors, lights, and vibrations all dancing a sacred dance. Once you learn the steps the dance is easy…