Conversations in Silence

Narenda (Nick) was a customer at a family video store I managed for 12 years, called Video Castle. He would often have long conversations with me about God, meditation, and how to live a healthy and well-balanced life. He eventually invited me to his meditation group where I met interesting people from all backgrounds who were in professional fields and dedicated to spiritual growth and connections. Originally from India, Narendra was an engineer so his practical concepts were easy to understand.

“True spirituality is simple, contemporary and practical,” he would say. “It never loses the yardstick of common sense.” 

He introduced me to life-changing books such as Conversations with God and Daughter of Fire. He later wrote his own book, Conversations in Silence, which is a diary of three years which reveals his transition from a fairly typical, stressed-out businessman to a blissful, loving man eager to share his newly spiritual gifts. 

Conversations in Silence

To learn more about Conversations in Silence, click here:

The book focus on his experiences with spiritual master, Mother Meera. Narendra met Mother Meera through a picture. He noticed something extraordinary loving and mesmerizing about this young Indian lady’s big eyes. He learned that she lived in Germany and hoped that one day he would get to meet her. That opportunity came when his work sent him on an assignment in Germany.

Born in a small village in India, she allegedly had her first samadhi, a state of complete spiritual absorption, at the age of six, which lasted for a whole day. When she was 12, her uncle met her for the first time and was convinced that the girl had already appeared to him in the form of visions. He came to believe that she is the Diving Mother and started to take care of her, allowing her to unfold her inner experiences. In 1981 she made her first trip to West Germany, where she settled with her uncle. She married a German in 1982.

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Mother Meera is an embodiment of the Divine Feminine, the Divine Mother on earth. She gives thousands of visitors her unique blessing of Darshan – in silence – and teaches the unity of all religions. Everyone can go their own ways. It is only important to be connected with the light (the personal spiritual role model) every day by praying, reading or meditating. She doesn’t charge any money for her work and she will not give lectures. Her reported task on Earth was in calling down a dynamic light-force from the Supreme (Paramatman – the supreme Self) in collaboration with other saints and diving beings, as she says, making spiritual progress on earth easier. About this light she says, “Like electricity, the light is everywhere, but one must know how to activate it. I have come for that.” 

Narendra’s accounts in this book, his determination to attain enlightenment, are inspiring. After work as an engineer, he is anxious to drive for hours to sit – even if briefly – in front of Mother Meera. One wonders how this world would be if we gave as much attention to our spiritual growth as we did to the physical and mental aspects of our lives.

In her presence he had numerous supernatural experiences, including many healings. When fully convince, he accepted Yogananda as his Spiritual Master. Through Mother Meera’s help, he was put on fast track and given many spiritual gifts. Most of his spiritual education came in the form of pictures during meditations. One of the gifts is his ability to measure a person’s consciousness level. As a Perceptor, Narendra has the ability to quickly transform people of all faiths and Masters, as ordered by the Divine. In his workshops, he uses everyday language, graphics, and common-sense approach. 

He notes in his book: Reading holy books is a great; the practice of prescribed values comes next. Beyond a point, an individual spiritual journey is so unique that copying someone else’s path alone will not help. During the advanced stage, one cannot join a spiritual club and expect faster results. This journey has to be completed alone just like a surgeon performing a surgery himself. During training, however, a surgeon must be in the company of other experts. Similarly, the spiritual journey requires that we accept our unique true-self once we have been “normalized.”

Here’s a video where Narendra talks about meditation and he holds workshops on some Saturdays in the mornings at the Rochester Library.

Meditation as a Creative Tool

 

The mind of a writer is busy with what they weren’t able to write yesterday, what they need to write today, and what stories they have to complete before their time is up on this earth. Our modern-day lifestyles are filled with lists of to-dos: duties to attend to; places to go; dreams to fulfill; and on and on. Meditation is truly a great tool that can help you become the wonderful writer you’re meant to be.

Meditation has been important to me on the mat and off the mat. It has helped me navigate through my writing career, giving me clarity of thought, and the energy and inspiration necessary for the task of completing a book, then another and another. In some cases, it can be a remedy for writers block.

But meditation, probably as old as human civilization, is not reserved for writers or other creative activities. A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry followed 114 adults for ten years and showed that those with strong spiritual beliefs had only one-fourth the risk for major depression compared to non-spiritual adults. The researchers behind the study are now looking into how the brain creates spiritual experiences. Yale and Columbia University published their findings in Cerebral Cortex.

Author and neuroscience professor Marc N. Potanza, Ph.D. of Yale University’s Yale Child Study wrote “Spiritual experiences are robust states that may have profound impacts on people’s lives. Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders.”

These studies are taking place in various universities across the United States, including here in Michigan. Heather Rae is a yoga instructor, meditation coach, energy and body worker and ordained minister/priestess. Her meditation practice is being studied at Wayne State Medical School. Heather’s studio, Little Lotus, is in Ferndale, where she teaches her signature style Akasha Yoga along with other traditional styles, meditation, wellness workshops and offers body and energy work one-on-one with clients.

When I was looking for someone to lead the meditation workshop at The Path of Consciousness spiritual and writing retreat, a friend referred me to Heather, said she was great in this field. On her website page, https://www.heatherraemagic.com, she writes, “My love of yoga, meditation, magic, and connecting to the Divine led me to create my own style, Akasha yoga – a divine flow centered around nature, with a balance of lunar energy stepping into your grace with fluidity and fiery solar en into your own power. This ritual on your mat works to guide you into your true self – the self that’s luminescent, connected to the entire universe, and where anything is possible.”

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You don’t even have to sit down to clear your mind. Taking a mindfulness stroll is just as effective. That’s why I love my daily walks, where I connect with my breathing, listen to the birds, the sound of the wind, the rustling of leaves, occasional barking dogs, children playing, or people quarrelling inside their homes. Each walk, like everything in life, gives much unexpected insight.

Meditation lets you see with a new perception, and helps you address the different areas in your life. Especially in today’s noisy world, it’s really important to unplug from the noise and find ways to go within. Songwriter Naomi Judd said, “Solitude is creativity’s best friend, and solitude is refreshment for our souls.”

Has your soul received its refreshment today?

On her website, Heather lists a number of ways that meditation and other spiritual tools that are beneficial. For instance, she describes how an abundance mentality opens us to new possibilities and leads to creativity. By contract, a mindset grounded in scarcity is restrictive, which can make us feel anxious and fearful Meditation and the use of affirmations help shift the mindset from scarcity to abundance. She also provides free guided meditations so visit her at https://www.heatherraemagic.com/ to find if there’s something there for you. 

One of the Best-Kept Secrets

One beautiful sunny morning in March 2014, I drove to Colombiere Conference and Retreat Center to cover a story for The Chaldean News about a women’s Lenten retreat. It was a Friday and my son, a preschooler, didn’t have school that day. One of the directors of the retreat encouraged me to bring him along so I did.

Colombiere is nestled on acres of towering pines and oaks in Clarkston, Michigan. I remember upon entering the long road that leads to the building, I felt a sudden disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Inside, my son stopped to view some of the statues and look out the window at the walking trails and gardens. We took the elevators to an upper floor and went into a most lovely chapel with bluish décor. Father Sameem Balius was performing mass. He talked about the importance of retreats, how they renew peoples’ faith and help them experience the loving presence of God and to seek the wisdom necessary for good daily living.

Colombiere

 

Later we moved the cafeteria, which was surrounded by large windows. My son and I observed the green acres of land. A few nuns were doing their morning walks. I interviewed the priests and organizers of the retreat, who initially started it years prior “to combine prayer, meditation and spiritual education”, and went home feeling blessed to have had the opportunity to visit this place, especially with my young son. (I included below a link of the article I wrote in 2014).

Two years later, my family and I went to Cancun, Mexico and I ended up participating in a spiritual ceremony that had me thinking to bring home the experience I enjoyed in the Riviera Maya. As an author of 12 books, I wanted to also combine writing workshops with it. I’ve worked with many writers and have found that oftentimes, there are spiritual blocks preventing them from moving forward in their career. I’ve also worked with many people who have healed several issues in their lives through the process of writing. I decided to start a writing and spiritual retreat and named it The Path of Consciousness, based on the sign welcoming patrons to the spiritual ceremony in Mexico. Last year, Reverend Barbara Yarnell of the Center of Enlightenment and another dear friend Lisa Argo offered to help me find the right venue and prepare other necessary work.

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Someone suggested we visit Colombiere. The name didn’t ring a bell but when we arrived to the building, upon driving into the long road, I immediately remembered the day my son and I went there, the peace that enveloped me and I’m sure him as well since he was so good throughout the day, allowing me to enjoy mass and interview people. From that one visit, we agreed this is the perfect place for the writing and spiritual retreat and didn’t end up touring other retreats. Later, I discovered that Colombiere is said to be “one of the best-kept secrets.”

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As someone who loves history, when I learned of the story behind Colombiere, I invited Janice Seeley, director of conferences and retreats, to come on my show and share it. Colombiere opened as a Jesuit training facility in 1959. It is named after Claude de la Colombiere, a Jesuit teacher, orator and spiritual director, who lived in France from 1641 to 1682 and was canonized May 31, 1992. In the course of preparation for the priesthood, the young Jesuit undergoes fifteen years of training, years of formation. Some examples of the classes offered in liberal arts were English, Latin, Greek, French, Literature, History, Education, and Speech. This rich background prepares the young Jesuit for further studies in philosophy and theology.

From the beginning, the Jesuit Healthcare Center for retired priests and brothers has been located there, as well as a large community of Jesuits involved in the operation of Colombiere. After the number of seminarians declined by the late 70s and 80s, they decided to open up an infirmary/retirement center for the Jesuit priests. In addition, the remainder of the building opened up as a retreat center. Although the facilities reflect the Jesuit influence, they are not limited to those of the Catholic faith. Colombiere hosts a wide spectrum of non-profit and for profit groups and is available for educational, religious, and governmental day and overnight programs, as well as both corporate and religious retreats.

Aside from having the writing and spiritual retreat there, I’m also considering having the Girl Scout troop which I lead to spend a night or two there, where mothers and daughters can enjoy quiet time without the interruption of electronics or television. If you want to check out the spiritual and writing conference and retreat which will be from October 5 to 7, visit this link The Path of Consciousness
Read Article about Chaldean Women’s Retreat

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