The real meaning of ‘aura’

13/03/2017 at 10:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Aura photo

Photo courtesy of Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

This week, in my meditation studio, we’re focusing on the word ‘aura’. But what does that actually mean?

The Cambridge Dictionary is a good starting point. Aura is defined there as ‘a feeling or character that a person or place seems to have’ and also as ’a type of light that some people say they can see around people and animals’.

To get a truly authentic sense of the word, however, we need to go back in time.

Aura was a Greek goddess, a personification of the breeze, breath and fresh, cool air.

Her name came from an ancient seed word meaning breeze, or fresh air. That same seed word also came to manifest over in Finland as ‘the Finnish Maiden’, a personification of Finland itself.

So ‘aura’ evokes a presence. It can encapsulate the spirit of an individual, or a community, or a place. It has a freshness about it, a sense of movement: new ideas and invigorating air arrive; old energies and air depart.

When healers and other energy therapists use the word ‘aura’, they’re generally referring to the energy field of a person, or other living being. Healers talk about sensing ‘stuck’ energy, a lack of flow in certain parts of a human energy field that can be associated with areas of pain or discomfort.  Linked with the physical discomfort may well be emotional issues that have not been fully processed – that have been ‘stuck’ in some way. The healing process enables flow to return to these areas. Physical symptoms can improve. Emotional wellbeing can return.

In this context it makes perfect sense that Aura, the classical personification of fresh air and breezes, is meant to be a gently dynamic force. When a person is fit and healthy there seems to be a glow and vibrancy about them – in some immensely subtle way, they shimmer. Likewise, when a person is very happy they glow. Think about a young couple who are about to marry, for example. Or think about a woman when she is expecting a baby.  In contrast, when someone has clinical depression, it can feel as thought they are ‘stuck’ in their sad emotions.

We notice auras without always realising it. Someone is ‘full of hot air’. Someone else has a quietly menacing air. Yet another person has a reassuring presence.

Being aware of auras in this way helps us choose wisely how we deal with situations. The truth is that noticing auras, far from simply being the preserve of psychics, is a good life skill for all of us.

How to keep a dream diary

01/06/2015 at 10:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Guidance of my dreams

Keeping a dream diary is one of the kindest, wisest gifts you can give yourself. Even if you don’t remember your dreams, keep a journal anyway. Record whatever you can recall on waking up. If you only catch a fleeting mood, record it. Hold this intention: ‘I am now ready for the guidance of my dreams’. And, in time, your diary will begin to fill.

I was inspired back in the 1990s by an early version of Denise Linn’s book, The Hidden Power of Dreams. I loved her suggestion that you write an uplifting title in the front of your journal. This might be something along the lines of ‘My dream diary: a beautiful book filled with beautiful gifts’. Many volumes later, I still write something similar.

On each left hand page…

Write the date, and a title for a dream you had the night before. The title can be anything that seems to sum up your dream. Then simply write down your dream. 

You may find you don’t remember any dreams. In that case, just write down any fleeting thoughts or feelings you had on waking up. Try to notice if you had any pictures or words in your mind on waking, and record those. Or you may find you had several unrelated dreams in the same night. Just write them down, as if they were chapters of the same dream.

On each right hand page…

Write down any thoughts or observations you have about the dream. Perhaps you were doing something the day before that triggered it? Over time you will begin to understand the meaning of different images in your dream. It can be helpful and enjoyable to draw or paint a picture of the dream on this page – you can gain new insights that way.

The key to your dreams

Be aware that everything and everyone in your dream is representing an aspect of yourself. Everything is symbolic. You don’t have to understand all the symbols, but it’s very rewarding when you start to interpret them. You can think of it as a puzzle to which only you hold the key. And over time, the more you study your dreams, the more you will understand.

 Never be scared of your dreams – they are there to help you to understand yourself and your life choices better.

Your own dream dictionary

The best dream dictionary you can ever have comes from first hand observation of your own dreams: go by how the dream symbols feel – their essence, their energy. Where in your own life do you have a similar feeling?

 Here are some examples to get you started…

Narrow streets, or doors that are difficult to go through may suggest that a current course of action, or a current attitude, is not ideal. Conversely, if a dream has a sense of space, with wide avenues and clear views, it may be showing you that your current course in life is the right one for you.

People you dream of may represent some aspect of yourself that you are working on. What qualities do you associate with that person? 

If someone dies in a dream, it often means a new chapter of your own self-development is beginning, and maybe it’s a new chapter for that person too (it doesn’t mean that anyone is actually going to die!)

If a house or car is in need of repair, it may mean your health or career is in need of some tender loving care. Newly discovered floors and rooms in a building can mean that you will be exploring new areas of your own interests and abilities – maybe a new career is opening up for you.

Scary people or monsters chasing you may mean that a repressed part of your psyche is ready to be reintegrated. When you’re awake, spend some time loving and blessing the scary beings, ask them what they want… in your imagination, hug them!

Water often represents emotions – is it flowing, turbulent, flooding, or calm?



Nature: A beautiful object from nature – such as a flower or a feather – may represent an aspect of your natural self that you are beginning to reconnect with, and can also represent guidance from other realms.

Night guidance

Note that over time your observed dreams are likely to become more vivid, more colourful, as though you are actually there. You may experience the bliss of flying, and receive clear spiritual lessons that remain in your mind when you wake up. You may wake up with recipes, formulas… all sorts of knowledge that can help you, and other people.

Record it all in your dream diary. And be ready to carry your new knowledge into your waking life. That’s when the fun really begins!

2015-03-05 12.41.53

Avebury vision: gateway to the Universe

01/09/2013 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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Avebury stones 1

John Wilding lives with his family in the centre of Avebury Stone Circle. It must be a little like living in a fairy tale, full of myth and magic. Do you know Avebury? It’s a picturesque Wiltshire village which contains the largest stone circle in the world. (Or maybe, even, the stone circle contains the village).

John runs the Henge Shop, which is full of delightful mystic gems and esoteric books. It’s a hub for spiritual travellers from all around the world.

To help the visitors, John is setting up a new website, to be called Visit Avebury. Last week he asked me to write 200 words on sacred sites and meditation for the new website. “I’d love to,” I emailed back.

It then occurred to me that I can’t remember the last time I meditated at Avebury. How can that be? I only live 15 minutes’ drive away. So I decided to get up early at the weekend and do my usual morning meditation there, within the circle…

First, I share a quick breakfast with my nine-year-old daughter, who usually loves a trip. She wants to know why I am going to Avebury. She doesn’t look impressed when I explain.

“Are you definitely going to meditate at the stones?” she asks.

“I am.”

“Then I’m definitely not coming,” she decides.

I smile. It appears that my daughter has just started to understand that parents can be Seriously Embarrassing.

As I walk down to the garage, I happen to glance into our front yard. I see the words ‘hope’, ‘joy’ and ‘love’ chalked onto the stone slabs in a childish hand. I smile again. Maybe she and I are not so different after all.

At Avebury, I walk over to my favourite part of the circle, the quieter north semi-circle. There are no people here, just sheep. I go up to several of the stones and place the palms of my hands against their rough surface. It feels like a form of greeting, a ‘signing in’ as it were. I study the patterns of rock and lichen. I am tuning in.

I notice that I am feeling distinctly light-headed, and the feeling persists.

Carefully, I choose a stone in the outer circle to sit by – then walk to an entirely different one. I sit on the ground and lean back. The stone supports my back so well, it almost feels soft.

Meditation stone

The sun is warm in front of me. The stone is cool behind me.

A gentle wind brushes a few hairs against my face. I hear wood pigeons cooing placidly high in the trees.

I decide to do a listening meditation. Simply breathe, and listen, and feel, and listen.

Meanwhile, my mind has decided to do its bit to unlock the mysteries of the circle. No one really knows why Avebury Stone Circle is here, and there are countless theories. My mind is intrigued by the fact that there are two smaller inner circles within the outer circle. Within the best surviving inner circle, near where I’m sitting, there are two giant stones which many people call a female  and a male stone. Guess which is which…

Avebury stones 2

And then I remember that I am here to meditate. I am here to breathe, listen and feel…

Maybe, my mind points out, the stone circle is a Neolithic depiction of Yin and Yang? All physical matter is composed of binary opposites: sun and moon, male and female, hot and cold and so on… surely Avebury is a beautiful representation of that?

And then I remember, once more, that I am here to meditate…

The area around my heart begins to feel warm: a spreading, pleasant glow.

It’s then that I notice that a particular, unusual word keeps popping up in my mind:

“Locus. The circle is a locus.”

Just in case there is any doubt, the voice repeats itself.

“Locus.”

And then… it happens.

I hear these words:

“It is not the stones themselves that matter. It’s the spaces in between. “

Without any warning, there is a whoosh!

I see a gateway to the All That Is. The stones are the gateway.  Through them, I can see the Universe.

And on my right side, between the stones, laughing, I can see women, very like those I have seen before. Maybe they are the same. Natural, lean and bare-limbed, they are laughing at me, though not unkindly.

At least you are beginning to get it,” they are saying.

And then I am through the gateway and I am dancing between the particles of matter.

I am bigger than the stars and smaller than the atoms.

My previous light-headed feeling has gone, because I am now in the space in which  I am meant to be. This is my normal state of being, I realise. The rest is just a crammed up, box-like dream.

This is real life. This is reality.

I am in bliss.

I am bliss.

There is only bliss… bliss stretching out to infinity….

Gradually, as if from above, I become aware of the pattern of the stones again. I understand now how they act as a locus. The circular structure is helpful for returning back to your body.

We can think it, perhaps, as a Neolithic landing pad for the soul.

And then I am back again, sitting on baked bare earth, the sun on my face, cool stone behind my back. My heart area still feels pleasantly warm and glowing.

I am happy.

I return home via Silbury Hill, the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe.

Silbury

In my psychically open state, I can see a man directing others in front of a younger and smaller mound. A wise woman, well-regarded, is behind him. She is in the light. Younger men are asking why they are building up the sky.

The old man says, “It will remind them. 

“The time of forgetting will come. 

“The time of forgetting is necessary.

But then, the time of remembering will come. “

This is fascinating, and I want to stay, to learn more. But I am feeling a growing pressure. At home, my family are waiting for my return. So Silbury must be a story for another day.

Avebury stones 3

How to trust your intuition

06/09/2011 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Intuition is about not trying to force your way through a locked window or door.

“I don’t trust my intuition” is something I hear again and again from new clients. It’s not really surprising – when we were growing up it was standard practice to teach children to ignore their innermost feelings, in favour of what they ‘should’ be thinking.

Luckily, times have changed. In-tuition – our internal tuition – is now highly valued by many of the world’s most successful people. To give one example, not long before Tim Cook became the CEO of Apple, he gave a talk to young graduates at his old university, in which he urged them to work hard, be prepared… and then trust their intuition over logic or plans.

“There are times in our lives when the careful consideration of cost and benefits just doesn’t seem like the right way to make a decision,” said Cook. “There are times in all of our lives when a reliance on gut or intuition just seems more appropriate – when a particular course of action just feels right. And interestingly I’ve discovered it’s in facing life’s most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right.”

In fact, if you want to be successful, you need your intuition. Period. So how do you trust it? Here’s how.

Stop being a busy bee hitting your head against a window

How many times have you seen this? A bee has flown into the room. It’s trying to get out through a closed window. Again, and again, it buzzes angrily and bangs its head against the glass.

The glass is the barrier to a solution. The busy, buzzing bee is your brain. If you are stuck for a solution, walk away from it. Stop thinking about it. Sleep on it. If you don’t have time for that, sit still, focus on your breath, and meditate.

When you calm your busy brain, you allow the answer to bubble up in your consciousness.  For the bee, the solution is an open door that happens to be near the frustrating window. For you, it’s an elegant new solution that you would never have reached by going through the same old thought processes.

Intuition is about having the courage to step back, to find a new open door.

Spot the ‘Ah-ha’ moments

When the right solution, or pathway, bubbles up in your mind – it’s an ‘Ah-ha!’ moment. Make a note of that feeling – every time you feel it. Eventually, with lots of practice, you’ll spot the ‘Ah-ha’ feeling in its earliest stages, so you won’t necessarily have to go to sleep or meditate.

When you get really good, you’ll just have to switch attention away from the problem or dilemma, take a deep breath or two… and let that ah-ha moment pop up.

 

Clean up your psyche

Imagine that our buzzing bee does eventually decide to fly away from the closed window. But the room is absolutely full of stuff: furniture and junk. The bee gets stuck in a corner somewhere, buzzing sadly away, its wings all dusty, between a cushion and a drawer… how will the bee ever find that open door?

Imagine, now, that the room is sparkling clean and full of space. The bee flies about it easily, and finds the open door very quickly. The junk in that room is actually the stuff that we carry about with us: old, stuck emotions and memories… We’re talking about the difficult, painful experiences from childhood onwards that we have blocked off because we didn’t know what to do with them at the time, so we just stuck them in a drawer somewhere in our psyche.

If you want to trust your intuition, you have to clear the room that is your psyche – regularly. Give it a really good spring-clean, and then vacuum and dust it regularly. How do you do that? There are many ways:

• Find a notebook or an art pad and start expressing your thoughts and feelings.

• Keep a dream journal and record all the dreams that you remember – dreams are the psyche’s natural way of sorting out all the junk.

• Detox the body physically with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

• Visit a holistic practitioner, such as a healer or intuition consultant who specialises in clearing emotional junk and helping you to reconnect with your inner knowledge.

The work is worth it, because your intuition is an invaluable, golden friend, a guide that can take you to your most authentic desires – and give you loads of fun along the way.

Tim Cook again: “In turning important decisions over to intuition one has to give up on the idea of developing a life plan that will bear any resemblance to what ultimately unfolds. Intuition is something that occurs in the moment, and if you are open to it. If you listen to it it has the potential to direct or redirect you in a way that is best for you.”

Try it and see.

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