Day 6 of the Feast
Dear One,

While in high school I often skipped school and took the subway from the suburb where I lived outside of Boston into Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I didn't know then that I was heading to the birthplace of the Transcendentalist Club, a group of radical thinkers such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller who gathered to discuss radical ideas. I just knew I felt at home there.

Emerson, who many call America's greatest philosopher, and his friends believed that each one of us is responsible for our own growth and development, and each and every decision and action we make has consequences that reach far beyond their initial effects, ultimately toward a universal response. Emerson believed we were each part and parcel of the"whole" or the eternal "One". He wrote these radical ideas in his first essay and included what I would call a glimpse into his spiritual awakening:

"Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”

It was during one of those trips to the hallowed ground of Harvard Square where I first attempted to meditate. Before I knew how to do it, or what it would do for me, I assumed the position, cross-legged, on the floor on the back of the train, and I closed my eyes. I didn't know what to do next, but I had a feeling that meditation would lead me to somewhere very mysterious and deep. After all, didn't the Beatles do it? Didn't it have something to do with enlightenment, whatever that was? It all seemed very cool.

It wasn't until I was in my mid 20's that I learned how to meditate and committed to a daily meditation practice: every day, twice a day I sat and practiced a silent mantra meditation. Each time I meditated, I felt like I was coming home - as a part or particle of God. It was more than cool.

Now 30 years later, like Emerson, I believe that the Universal Being circulates through each one of us. It's intelligent, peaceful, and present and we can tap into it through meditation. Because of my meditation practice, I am more peaceful, compassionate, and wise. I imagine that you are too. I also dream that our peaceful vibes somehow merge and they together contribute to the creation of peace on this planet. It's the ripple effect as my peace ripple joins yours, and when it's a big enough ripple, perspectives will change and there will be a universal response: each one of us will make choices that reflect the principles of fairness over greed, peace over anger, equality over exclusivity, interconnectedness over separateness, and kindness over cruelty. Each choice will reflect a reverence for life.

I want to thank you for putting your spirituality first during the Feast and always. Thank you for being part of this great big dream of peace.
I am practicing with you.

Love, Sarah

Sarah McLean
Director, Feast for the Soul, Inc.

Meditation Teacher Highlight

The popular Zen Buddhist monk, Thay, shares a beautiful talk about how a spiritual practitioner should be able to handle strong emotions like fear and anger, and generate inner joy and happiness. He teaches that we need to cultivate this inner joy in order to withstand the challenges that the world presents. He's a wise and beautiful teacher who encourages peace. In this talk he offers 16 mindfulness exercises. What a gift!

Spiritual Practice Tip
Heart Centered Breath

Embrace your heart with the energy of mindfulness. Direct your attention to the your heart area (that place you point to when you say "I") and breathe a little more deeply than normal.

As you breathe in, imagine you are doing so through your heart, and, as you breathe out, imagine it is through your heart. (In the beginning, placing your hand over your heart as you breathe can help you in directing your focus to your heart-center.)

Be sure your breathing is smooth, unforced, and comfortable. You can do this anywhere and anytime. And as you know, what you put your attention on is enlivened, and that includes your heart wisdom. This easy practice can shift your perspective to one of peace and gratitude, and this helps you to be more clear, tap into the eternal one, make better decisions, and tune in to the conditions of happiness that are available in any moment.
Living the Feast
Amma , known as the "hugging saint", is popular the world over. Some would say she's enlightened. Some would say she's an embodiment of god. She shares a way of seeing the world that I pray becomes the only way I see the world, and the way we all can view the world:

“Everything seems permeated with divinity. Every blade of grass and every sand particle is filled with Divine energy. The awakened one has the attitude of deep reverence and humility towards all of creation, because once you go beyond the ego, you are nothing -- you are infinite nothingness filled with Divine consciousness. When you have the attitude of constantly bowing down with a feeling of humility towards all of existence, that existence flows into you. You experience that everything is part of you, nothing is separate."
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