Day 23 of the Feast
Dear One,

I have been pondering these quotes by three mystics and invite you to do so today, too.

God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence.
- Mother Teresa, A Gift for God

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth. 
 - Mahatma Gandhi

The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
- Albert Einstein , The Merging of Spirit and Science
T hank 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.

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Meditation Teacher Highlight
Matthew Spangler’s Empowered Peac e meditation guides listeners to experience the space of peace within, and then give you time to integrate that state into the experiences of your daily life. His intention is for the value of meditation to become accessible and actualized during ‘non-meditation’ time. One's meditation experiences can then become a foundation for one's state of being in the world. His direct experience provides the core inspiration on his path as a teacher; one in which he shares this Vedic knowledge and practices.

Spiritual Practice Tip
Are You Restless?

Restlessness in meditation it can be a signal that stress is being released from the mind and body. That's because meditation is the perfect antidote for stress; it allows the elimination of stress that has built up in your nervous system. When we are busy and stressed, we might not want to meditate, but that is when we need it the most!

There's a purification process that goes on in meditation. Impurities start to dissolve as the mind and body settle down and find wholeness. This purification generates movement: it can create movement of the mind (like thoughts, daydreams, colors, visuals, etc.), movement of the body (twitches, temperature changes, breathing changes, itching, pain, lightness/heaviness, etc.) or movement of the emotions (fear, shame, ,sadness, happiness, etc.) It's important to recognize that restlessness is normal.

The fact that you are having thoughts is an indication you are releasing stress, but it's important to note that the content of the thoughts in meditation has no particular correlation to the stress you are releasing.

If there is a lot of movement or energy in meditation, imagine the body as a wide container where the energy is allowed to bounce around like a ping pong ball. Accepting it like this can take away the extra agitation of fighting the restlessness. Sitting still with the restlessness often allows it to settle down on its own. So sitting through the physical, mental, and emotional distractions and staying with the practice is how you can have a deep practice.

Because the settling can take a while, you'll need to be patient. And, you can practice welcoming everything, resisting nothing in meditation. Sometimes the mind will marshal myriad arguments to convince you to act on some restless impulse. But don't! It's important not to give in to any compulsions, rational or irrational, including the thoughts that you need to check your email or defrost the freezer immediately, or that meditation would be better later. Staying with the practice is what makes you more responsive and clear.
Living the Feast
Come to Your Senses

What does it mean to be present? Can we actually "be" anywhere but in the present? Not really. We always are present in both senses of that word: in the here and now. But the mind might wander into the past or in some version of the future. So when you say
"I want to be more present," you are referring to bringing your mind right here, right where your life is, right where your body is.
To have your attention anywhere other than here and now is to be living in a fantasy, in the unreal. So in our practice we say, simply, come right back here, be present to what is. Come to your senses. Literally.

What is my sensory experience right now, in this moment? Without judgement about whether you like it or not, without preferences, ask yourself:
  • What am I seeing? The colors, the shapes, the forms, the shadow and light. Movement.
  • What am I hearing? The hum of the air conditioner, murmured conversations from the hall, distant traffic, my dog panting.
  • What am I smelling? Someone's cologne, the incense, brownies.
  • What am I tasting? Toothpaste, tea, crackers, cookies.
  • What am I feeling? My rear and thighs on the chair, the shirt on my back, my feet in my shoes, the heat on my face.

Come to your senses. It takes all of about half a minute. Without any evaluation, your senses can bring you right here and now.  Make this your new habit.

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