Day 17 of the Feast
Dear One,

In 1971, the late Captain Dr. Edgar Mitchell became the sixth man to walk on the moon. On his return journey, he hurtled earthward through the abyss of space and was in awe of the vastness of the galaxy. The sight of the earth, moon, planets, stars, and the space between each and every heavenly body, gave him a new perspective, one that is rare for humans to have.

Mitchell became engulfed by a profound “sense of universal connectedness.” Her reported that intuitively he sensed that his presence, that of his fellow astronauts, and that of the planet he saw through the spacecraft window, were all part of a deliberate, universal process, and that the glittering cosmos itself was in some way conscious. This new perspective transformed the way he saw life and creation.

In an online interview, Mitchell was quoted as saying, “The universe seems friendly and caring—loving, even. With a love as real as the love my wife feels for me back in Houston. That love flows into you and calms you in a way that is scary to anyone who pretends to have scientific knowledge.”

The experience was so overwhelming for him, his life would never be the same. When he returned to Earth, he began his practice of meditation and co-founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences in 1973, an organization to this day dedicated to the exploration of consciousness.

In 2007, Edgar Mitchell spoke about practices that help people to open up to healing and expanded awareness: 

“.......key practices go back in time to the ancient mystical and metaphysical practices of meditation, of communing with nature, of getting in resonance. I would call that 'quantum resonance with all that is', with the basic levels of nature.... that from which all matter arises."

"...Throughout all of our history, the cloistered groups like the mystery schools and many of the religious cloister groups honor their meditation practices and their ability to commune with nature ...each one of them may have a little different concept about what God is, let’s just say Nature (with a capital N) in this case. And that has been my experience, too."

"It was my experience on my flight back from the moon as I looked at Earth from deep space, was to get into this type of state. In the ancient literature it’s called Samadhi state: a state of mind in which you are at one, at one with the deepest levels of nature, and that seems to be a fairly universal, uniform state in which all sorts of wonderful transformation and transcendent thinking emerges. And I think all our so-called psychic or intuitive abilities at least originate somewhere in that state."

The photos of our blue planet Earth floating in space taken from the moon flights also stirred something in our collective awareness, and a new sense of endearment for this beautiful planet all earthlings call home, gave rise to what today is known as the environmental movement. It is the movement we are all a part of, one which awakens us to the connectedness with, and responsibility for, this living breathing planet earth and all her inhabitants.
Thank you for putting your spirituality first during this time of deep practice. I am practicing with you.

Love, Sarah

Sarah McLean
Director, Feast for the Soul, Inc.

Meditation Teacher Highlight
Sheikh Ghassan Manasra is an ordained Sheikh in the Qadiri Sufi Order in the Holy Land, and son of Sheikh Abdel Salaam Manasra – head of the Qadiri Sufi Order in the Holy Land. He is the founder of Anwar-Il-Salaam, the Lights of Peace Center in Nazareth, and Director of Islamic Cultural Center in Nazareth. Ghassan has received multiple awards and accolades for his peacemaking, including most recently the 2014 “Outstanding Leader in Inter-religious Dialogue Award” from the Dialogue Institute at Temple University.

Spiritual Practice Tip
Comfort is Key.

It's important to be comfortable in your meditation position, and if possible to be relaxed in body and relaxed in your state of gentle attention.

The lotus position, a traditional yoga posture for meditation, is not required for you to meditate. If crossing your legs is uncomfortable, and all you are dealing iwth is pain, your attention will be distracted. So, it's fine to sit on a sofa or chair and have your back supported. Some people sit on cushions on the floor. Whatever posture you take, it's best not to lie down unless you physically need to (that's because most people fall asleep and that is NOT meditation.) You can meditate while you are sitting down almost anywhere - as long as you are not operating heavy machinery.

In meditation the state of mind is one of being open, attentive, and non-reactive. It's as if you are a cat sitting motionless watching a bird move through the garden, or a praying mantis resting in attention as she waits for a bite to eat, or my dog Gigi who sits and watches the fluffy tailed squirrel search for acorns on the giant oak tree outside of our home. It's a mind waiting to be charmed by something that will allow it to transcend and find unity in duality.

Meditation creates a new state of consciousness, one where you are relaxed yet attentive, responsive and not reactive, and attending to the present moment with an expanded awareness. This way of being is practiced in meditation and then is infused into your life when you are not meditating. I believe one of the best reasons to meditate is so you can walk in the world in a present and open-hearted way.

Living the Feast
Go outside.

You don't need to go to the moon to have the experience that Edgar Mitchell had. You can get into nature to feel connected to all that is. A 15-minute walk in the woods not only will help you to appreciate the life around you, it can cause measurable changes in physiology. Japanese researchers at Chiba University sent 84 subjects to stroll in seven different forests, while the same number of volunteers walked around city centers. The forest walkers hit a relaxation jackpot: Overall they showed a 16 percent decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, a 2 percent drop in blood pressure, and a 4 percent drop in heart rate. This is because the human body can relax in pleasant, natural surroundings because it evolved there. Our senses are adapted to interpret in- formation about plants and streams, not traffic and high-rises. Read more!
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