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Your heart is love’s tavern

There is a brief moment when you imagined that your sorrow was working against you. For an instant there was the sense that your sadness, your despair, and your loneliness were obstacles on the path. But love is a shape-shifter. She will take any form she must to unlock a secret place within you.

Even in the center of your fear, right in the heart of your anxiety, weaved into the fabric of your most scary places there is a raging intelligence, a firestorm of pure creativity. Love is awakening those parts of you that have drifted asleep. This is not a journey into some transcendent, detached, and safe place, but into the heart of a wild, untamed groundlessness. You will feel so much more than you ever felt, care so much more than you ever thought possible, yet you will know nothing. Love will even convince you of her absence if that is how she must reach you.

It may seem like an ordinary Saturday, but what is happening here is far from ordinary. Stop. Breathe. Lay your hands on your sacred body. Touch the earth and feel the aliveness and the rare opportunity that has been given here. It will not last long, friends, for love will be calling you home soon. Every person you meet, each feeling that surges within you, every emotion that comes knocking at the door of your heart, every form that appears – love is sending its messengers to you, one by one.

Your body is love’s temple, your heart is its tavern, your eyes are its windows, your words of kindness are its voice, the way you sweetly touch another are its hands – for it is only through you that love can explode into this world.

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The light within the darkness

In speaking with a friend this morning, I was reminded of the great bias in our culture toward the light and away from the darkness. When we meet with a friend who is depressed, introverted, shut down, or otherwise not beaming and joyful, we become quite convinced, quite quickly, that something is wrong. We scramble to put them back together, to remind them of all the gifts in their life, to let them know everything will be better soon. Of course this is natural. But much of this also arises out of our own discomfort and anxiety around the darkness, and all that is unresolved within us. Perhaps as little ones it was not safe to feel these feelings, not to mention express them.

It is possible the kindest thing we can offer to our precious friend is to sit in the darkness with them, so that they know that we are fully here with them; we do not need to remove them from the darkness, we do not need them to “heal,” “transform,” be happy or awaken – we will love them as they are. We resist the temptation to project our unlived life upon them.

Love is the totality, it is whole, it is raging and alive in the darkness, shining brightly in its own way. Within this darkness, this sadness, this grief, this existential aloneness is something very real, breaking through the dream of partiality. There is a richness here, something is happening, but what that is does not support conventional egoic process; nor does it support our cultural fantasy of a life of invulnerability. Here, everything is alive, everything is path, everything is God. God is not only the joy and sweetness, but comes at times as Kali to reorder your world. We can hold hands with our friend and look at Kali together and finally see what she has to say.

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Embodied Vulnerability and Non-Division

Recorded live in our Boulder studios for the Self-Acceptance Project, Bruce shares with Tami (and viewers around the world) the importance of both psychological and spiritual approaches to the journey of freedom, love, and awareness. In my experience, Bruce is one of the most gifted and innovative therapists out there and someone I feel honored to call a friend and mentor.

As part of our free, 12-week video event series, I invited 23 psychologists, psychotherapists, neuroscientists, and spiritual teachers to speak with my friend and longtime colleague, Tami Simon, to ask the tough questions, and to explore the the relationship between self-acceptance and the larger spiritual journey.

All episodes of the Self-Acceptance Project are now posted and can be accessed as video or audio downloads, or can be streamed at no cost from the comfort of your own home. Our deep gratitude to the 35,000+ of you who registered for the series; we hope you enjoyed and benefited from it.

It is our intention to bring you more high-quality content in this area over the months and years to come. Our next series will focus on Deepening Intimacy, launching in the new year.

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Red Hot & Holy – up close and personal with the...

Ever wonder what really happens behind the scenes at Sounds True? When the lights go down and the cameras start rolling? With our new book Red Hot & Holy, our red hot sister and friend Sera Beak offers a provocative and intimate view of what it means to get up close and personal with the divine in modern times. Sera’s luscious writing and renegade spiritual wisdom slices through religious and new age dogma, making her debut book The Red Book a breakout success. With Red Hot & Holy she offers something far more personal— an illuminating, extra-sensual, and utterly authentic portrait of the heart-opening process of mystical realization. This hot and holy book invites you to embrace your soul, unleash your true Self, and burn, baby, burn with divine love.

Learn more about Red Hot & Holy 

Confessions of an “Aha Moment” Junkie

Perhaps the most priceless moments of our lives are when we get the big “aha!”—when we hear for the first time a radical truth that allows us to experience and be in the world in a completely new and freer way. For me, it’s the ultimate high.

Halfway through my second decade at Sounds True, I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of teachings, and with each season’s offerings I am always excited about the next “aha” that might be around the corner. Here are a few of my favorites from over the years:

1. The universe is big, and I am old.

Scientists estimate that our universe includes a trillion galaxies. (That’s 1,000,000,000,000 if you’re into zeroes.) Depending on which way you look at the night sky, the light reaching your eyes may have been traveling for millions of years … completing a journey that began long before any of our opposable-thumb-blessed ancestors decided to trade the treetops for caves. Even more astounding is the fact that the cosmic dust in the form of the “you” perceiving that light is even older—as ancient as the universe itself, or an estimated 20 billion years old. Remember that the next time you get one of those “over the hill” birthday cards. (I encountered these “aha” moments while listening to Brian Swimme’s classic audio program Canticle to the Cosmos.)

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2. I can change my mind…and my brain.

Many Sounds True programs talk about our beautiful and mysterious brains, from how much we’ve learned in the past twenty-plus years to how little we may really understand about this amazing organ. I’ve lost track of the “aha” moments I’ve enjoyed listening to teachers like Dr. Rick Hanson, whose practice of “taking in the good” can literally rewire our neural pathways to help us experience more joy and less stress — or to Dr. Kelly McGonigal, with her empowering wisdom on making changes in alignment with our values — or Jon Kabat-Zinn, whose mindfulness meditations for pain relief have helped me manage migraine headaches.

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3. The heart knows best and we’re all in this together. For me, the teachings of Jack Kornfield are like rich nutrients and cool, clean water for the soil of the garden of the heart. Although we might think of “aha” moments as a mental phenomenon, the heart can certainly have its share of “aha” moments that leave one utterly speechless. Jack’s program The Jewel of Liberation has many such moments, reminding us of our fundamental interconnection and our boundless capacity for love, wisdom, and compassion.

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Maybe the essence of spiritual awakening is the “aha” moment—or whatever it is that we experience that finally and utterly shifts our perspective beyond any individual limits once and for all. Do you have any memorable “aha” moments you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about them!

Daniel Pinchbeck: The Many Angles of 2012

Tami Simon interviews journalist Daniel Pinchbeck, the author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, in an exploration of the various views on the meaning of 2012 and examine their validity. By doing so we dive into the broad array of different perspectives, held across the world, on the importance of this quickly approaching date. (49 minutes)

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