- Issue 102  Christmas & Hanukah -

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Welcome to Conscious Living, our newsletter designed to share our current activities and growth, along with articles and information that we hope will be supportive and encouraging in your efforts to live each moment with more joy and satisfaction.

Christmas and Hanukah are almost here and, as always, it gives us a new opportunity to appreciate the unique blessings that flow to us and through us during this holy season.

Our newsletter begins with the original Christmas story as it is contained in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.  We also share a surprising historical perspective on the creation and meaning of the "12 Days of Christmas".

We continue with our collection of essays by Ernest Holmes, with his thoughts on "The Power That Jesus Used". 

In addition, we offer a collection of inspiring stories centering around the holiday season, including O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi", along with the Christmas story, "A Solitary Life".

We couldn't resist adding a little "Christmas Humor" and an affirmation appropriate to the season.

As always, you'll find a new spiritual poem, this one entitled, "Joy Is The Birthright" and a collection of cookie recipes perfect for the holidays.

If you're considering buying a gift for a friend or loved one during the holiday season, why not select gifts that can genuinely make a difference in their lives?  Give them products that will continue to inspire, encourage and uplift throughout the year.  Browse our catalog of products - especially our Holiday discounts - and if you are in doubt about what to buy, give a gift certificate - they are available in a wide range of denominations.

This issue also includes an in-depth look at the history surrounding Hanukah and an essay on the the application of the 12 Step principles to those who lived at the time of Jesus' birth - "The 12 steps of Christmas".

We continue with our serialization of "The Third Eye" by T. Lobsang Rampa, a fascinating, controversial and very popular account of the life and esoteric experiences of a Tibetian Monk, along with the third chapter of "A Romance of Two Worlds" by Marie Corelli, the best selling Victorian novel exploring the relationship between the occult and Christianity along with large doses of mystery, romance and guardian angels.  

As always, we are so grateful to all of you who visit our website, and contribute through your generous donations, purchases, emails and article submissions.  Thank you for letting us share this issue of our newsletter with you. 

Wishing you the very best during the holiday season,

William Simpson
Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contents:

(If you've missed any past issues of our newsletter, or you'd like to reread an article or affirmation, click Here.)

 

   
Christmas Story: One Solitary Life                               
           

He was born in an obscure village,
the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village,
where he worked in a carpenter shop
until he was thirty.
Then for three years
he was an itinerant preacher.
He never set foot inside a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles
from the place he was born.
He never wrote a book,
or held an office.
He did none of these things
that usually accompany greatness.

While he was still a young man,
the tide of popular opinion
turned against him.
His friends deserted him.
He was turned over to his enemies,
and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross
between two thieves.
While he was dying,
his executioners gambled
for the only piece of property he had -
his coat.
When he was dead,
he was taken down
and laid in a borrowed grave.

Nineteen centuries have come and gone,
and today his is the central figure
for much of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched,
and all the navies that ever sailed,
and all the parliaments that ever sat,
and all the kings that ever reigned,
put together
have not affected the life of man
upon this earth as powerfully as this
"One Solitary Life."

  

Serial:  The Third Eye by T. Lobsang Rampa

CHAPTER THREE

LAST DAYS AT HOME

Inside the house there was still much activity. Tea was still being
consumed in huge quantities, and food was disappearing as last-
minute revellers fortified themselves against the coming night. All
the rooms were occupied, and there was no room for me. Discon-
solately I wandered around, idly kieking at stones and anything
else in the way, but even that did not bring inspiration. No one
took any notice of me, the guests were tired and happy, the servants
were tired and irritable. “The horses have more feeling,” I grumbled to myself, “I will go and sleep with them.”
The stables were warm, and the fodder was soft, but for a time sleep would not come.

Each time I dozed a horse would nudge me, or a sudden burst of sound from the house would rouse me.  Gradually the noises were stilled. I raised myself to one elbow and looked out, the lights were one by one flickering to blackness.  Soon there was only the cold blue moonlight reflecting vividly from the snow capped mountains. The horses slept, some on their feet and some on their sides. I too slept. The next morning I was awakened by a rough shake and a voice saying: “Come along, Tuesday Lobsang. I have got to get the horses ready and you are in the way.” So I got up and made my way into the house in search of food. There was much activity.

People were preparing to leave, and mother was flitting from group to group for a last-minute chat. Father was discussing improvements to the house and to the gardens. He was telling an old friend of his that he intended having glass imported from India so that our house would have glazed windows. In Tibet there was no glass, none was made in the country, and the cost of bringing it from India was very high indeed. Tibetan windows have frames upon which is stretched paper which is highly waxed and translucent, but not trans-parent. Outside the windows were heavy wooden shutters, not so much to keep burglars away as to prevent the ingress of grit
carried by the strong winds. This grit (sometimes it was more like small pebbles) would tear through any unprotected windows. It
would also deeply cut exposed hands and faces, and during the season of strong winds, such journeys were fraught with danger.
The people of Lhasa used to keep a wary eye upon the Peak and when it suddenly became hidden in a black haze everyone used to
dash for shelter before the whipping, blood-bringing wind caught them.

But not only humans were on the alert: animals also were on the watch, and it was no unusual sight to see horses and dogs leading the humans in the rush for shelter. Cats were never caught in a storm, and yaks were quite immune. With the departure of the last of the guests I was called before father who said: “Go to the shopping centre and buy your needs. Tzu knows what is required.” I thought of the things I would need: a tsampa bowl made of wood, a cup, and a rosary. The cup would be in three parts: a stand, the cup, and its lid. This would be of silver. The rosary would be of wood, with its hundred and eight beads highly polished. A hundred and eight, the sacred number, also indicates the things which a monk has to remember.

We set off, Tzu on his horse, and I on my pony. As we left the courtyard we turned right, later turning right again as we left the Ring Road past the Potala to enter the shopping centre. I looked about me as if seeing the town for the first time. I was greatly afraid that I was seeing it for the last time! The shops were crowded with chauffeuring merchants who had just arrived in Lhasa.  Some were bringing tea from China, and others had brought cloth from India. We made our way through the crowd to the shops we wished to visit; every so often Tzu would call out a greeting to some old friend of former years.  I had to get a robe of russet red. I was going to have it rather on the large size, not merely because I was growing, but for an equally practical reason.

In Tibet men wear voluminous robes which are tied tightly at the waist. The upper portion is pulled up and forms a pouch which is the repository for all those items which the Tibetan male finds it necessary to carry. The average monk, for instance, will carry in this pouch his tsampa bowl, cup, a knife, various amulets, a rosary, a bag of roasted barley and, not infrequently, a supply of tsampa. But remember, a monk carries upon his person all his worldly possessions.  My pathetic little purchases were rigidly supervised by Tzu, who permitted only the barest essentials, and those of merely mediocre quality as befitted a “poor acolyte”.

They included sandals with yak-leather soles, a small leather bag for roasted barley, a wooden tsampa bowl, wooden cup—not the silver affair  I had hoped for!—and a carving knife. This, together with a very plain rosary which I had to polish myself, were to be my only possessions. Father was a millionaire several times over, with huge estates all over the country, with jewels, and indeed much gold. But I, while I was training, while father lived, I was to be just a very poor monk.   I looked again at the street, at those two-storied buildings with the long, projecting eaves. I looked again at the shops with the sharks' fins and the saddle covers displayed on the booths outside their doors.

I listened once more to the cheerful banter of the traders and their customers haggling good-naturedly over the prices to be paid. The street had never looked more attractive and I thought of the fortunate people who saw it every day and would continue to see it every day.  Stray dogs ambled around, sniffing here and there, exchanging growls, horses neighed softly to each other as they awaited the pleasure of their masters. Yaks groaned throatily as they meandered through the pedestrian throng. What mysteries lurked behind those paper-covered windows. What wonderful stores of goods, from all parts of the world, had passed through those sturdy wooden doors, and what tales those open shutters would tell if they could speak. 

All this I gazed upon as upon an old friend. It did not occur to me that I would ever see these streets again, even though but rarely. I thought of the things I would have liked to have done, of the things I would have liked to buy. My reverie was shatteringly interrupted. A hand immense and menacing descended upon me, caught my ear and twisted it fiercely, while the voice of Tzu bellowed for all the world to hear: “Come on, Tuesday Lobsang, are you dead on your feet? I don't know what boys are coming to nowadays. Wasn't like this when I was a lad.” Tzu did not seem to mind if I stayed behind without my ear, or retained it by following him. There was no choice but to “come on”. All the way home Tzu rode ahead, mumbling and moaning about the “present generation, good-for-nothing lot, bone-idle lay-abouts living in a daze”.  At least there was one bright spot, as we turned into the Lingkhor road there was a quite bitter wind. Tzu's great bulk ahead of me gave me a sheltered path. 

At home, mother had a look at the things which I had bought.  To my regret she agreed that they were good enough. I had been cherishing the hope that she would overrule Tzu, and say that I could have better quality articles. So once again my hopes of having a silver cup were shattered and I had to make do with the wooden one turned on a hand-lathe in the bazaars of Lhasa.  I was not to be left alone for my last week. Mother dragged me round to the other big houses in Lhasa so that I could pay my respects, not that I was feeling respectful! Mother reveled in the journeyings, in the interchange of social conversation, and in the polite tittle-tattle which made up the everyday round. I was bored stiff; to me all this was a genuine ordeal as I was definitely not born with the attributes which make one suffer fools gladly.

I wanted to be out in the open enjoying myself for the few days remaining. I wanted to be out flying my kites, jumping with my
pole, and practicing archery, instead of which I had to be dragged around like a prize yak, being shown off to frumpish old women
who had nothing to do all day but to sit on silk cushions and call for a servant in order to gratify their slightest whim.
But it was not only mother who caused me so much heart-burning. Father had to visit the Drebung Lamasery and I was
taken along to see the place. Drebung is the largest lamasery in the world, with its ten thousand monks, its high temples, little stone
houses, and terraced buildings rising tier upon tier. This community was like a walled town, and like a good town, it was self supporting.  Drebung means “Rice Heap”, and from a distance it did look like a heap of rice, with the towers and domes gleaming in the light.  Just at this time I was not in a mood to appreciate architectural  beauties: I was feeling distinctly glum at having to waste precious time like this.  Father was busy with the abbot and his assistants, and I, like a waif of the storm, wandered disconsolately around. It made me shiver with fright when I saw how some of the small novices were treated.

The Rice Heap was really seven lamaseries in one; seven distinct orders, seven separate colleges formed its composition.  It was so large that no one man was in charge. Fourteen abbots ruled here and stern disciplinarians they were. I was glad when this “pleasant jaunt across a sunlit plain”—to quote father—came to an end, but more glad to know that I was not going to be consigned to Drebung, or to Sera, three miles north of Lhasa.  At last the week drew to an end.

My kites were taken from me and given away; my bows and beautifully feathered arrows were
broken to signify that I was no longer a child and had no use for such things. I felt that my heart, too, was being broken, but no
one seemed to think that important.  At nightfall father sent for me and I went to his room, with its wonderful decorations, and the old and valuable books lining the walls. He sat by the side of the main altar, which was in his room, and bade me kneel before him. This was to be the Ceremony of the Opening of the Book. In this large volume, some three feet wide by twelve inches long, were recorded all the details of our family for centuries past.

It gave the names of the first of our line, and gave details of the deeds which caused them to be raised to the nobility. Recorded here were the services we had done for our country and for our Ruler. Upon the old, yellowed pages I read history. Now, for the second time, the Book was open for me.  First it had been to record my conception and birth. Here were the details upon which the astrologers based their forecasts. Here were the actual charts prepared at the time. Now I had to sign the Book myself, for tomorrow a new life for me would start when I entered the lamasery. 

The heavy carved wooden covers were slowly replaced. The golden clasps pressing the thick, hand-made sheets of juniper paper were clipped on. The Book was heavy, even father staggered a little beneath its weight as he rose to replace it in the golden casket which was its protection. Reverently he turned to lower the casket into the deep stone recess beneath the altar. Over a small silver brazier  he heated wax, poured it upon the stone lid of the recess, and impressed his seal, so that the Book would not be disturbed.  He turned to me and settled himself comfortably on his cushions. 

 

A touch of a gong at his elbow, and a servant brought him buttered tea. There was a long silence, and then he told me of the secret history of Tibet; history going back thousands and thousands of years, a story which was old before the Flood. He told me of the time when Tibet had been washed by an ancient sea, and of how excavations had proved it. Even now, he said, anyone digging near Lhasa could bring to light fossilized sea-animals and strange shells.  There were artifacts, too, of strange metal and unknown purpose.  Often monks who visited certain caves in the district would dis-cover them and bring them to father. He showed me some. Then his mood changed.  Because of the Law, to the high-born shall be shown austerity, while to the low shall be shown compassion, “he said. “You will undergo a severe ordeal before you are permitted to enter the lamasery.”

He enjoined upon me the utter necessity of implicit obedience to all commands which would be given to me. His concluding remarks were not conducive to a good night's sleep; he said: “My son, you think I am hard and uncaring, but I care only for the name of the family. I say to you: if you fail in this test for entry, do not return here. You will be as a stranger to this household.” With that, with no further word, he motioned me to leave him.  Earlier in the evening I had said my farewells to my sister Yaso.  She had been upset, for we had played together so often and she was now but nine years of age, while I would be seven—tomorrow. Mother was not to be found. She had gone to bed and I was not able to say good-bye to her. I made my lonely way to my own room for the last time and arranged the cushions which formed my bed.  I lay down, but not to sleep.

For a very long time I lay there thinking of the things my father had told me that night. Thinking of the strong dislike father had for children, and thinking of the dreaded morrow when for the first time I would sleep away from home. Gradually the moon moved across the sky. Outside a night bird fluttered on the window sill. From the roof above came the flap-flap of prayer-flags slapping against bare wooden poles. I fell asleep, but as the first feeble rays of the sun replaced the light of the moon, I was awakened by a servant and given a bowl of tsampa and a cup of buttered tea. As I was eating this meager fare, Tzu bustled into the room. “Well, boy,” he said, “our ways part.  Thank goodness for that.

Now I can go back to my horses. But acquit yourself well; remember all that I have taught you.” With that he turned upon his heel and left the room.  Although I did not appreciate it at the time, this was the kindest method. Emotional farewells would have made it very much more difficult for me to leave home—for the first time, for ever, as I thought. If mother had been up to see me off then no doubt I should have tried to persuade her to allow me to remain at home. Many Tibetan children have quite soft lives, mine was hard by any standard, and the lack of farewells, as I later found, was on father's order, so that I should learn discipline and firmness early in life.   I finished my breakfast, tucked my tsampa bowl and cup into the front of my robe, and rolled a spare robe and a pair of felt
boots into a bundle. As I crossed the room a servant bade me go softly and not waken the sleeping household. Down the corridor I
went. The false dawn had been replaced by the darkness that comesbefore the true dawn as I made my way down the steps and on to
the road. So I left my home. Lonely, frightened, and sick at heart
.

 


Tuesday Lobsang Rampa was a very popular writer who claimed to have been a Lama in Tibet before spending the second part of his life in the body of a British man, Cyril Henry Hoskin, who described himself as the "host" of T. Lobsang Rampa.

To many, Dr. Rampa was a revolutionary of his time, one of the first of the Eastern teachers to bring Buddhism and metaphysics to the West in a popular fashion. He wrote many books about spiritual matters, beginning with "The Third Eye".

Lobsang Rampa attempts to teach the timeless universal truths, while traveling along the spiritual path. Dr. Rampa's books also discuss the state of humanity's progress and he shows how we can be a positive force for good, thus improving ourselves and helping our fellow humans and all sentient beings.

Look for the next chapter in The Third Eye by T. Lobsang Rampa in the next edition of our newsletter or prior chapters in previous editions.  To read other books by T. Lobsang Rampa, visit our free Ebook section by clicking  Here.

 

 

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Essay:  The Power That Jesus Used                                    by Ernest Holmes                                  

 

Throughout our lives, we have read and wondered about the miracles of Jesus. But to how many of us has the thought come that this same power must be available to everyone? We have been so accustomed to thinking of Jesus as a man filled with love and compassion and human kindness that we have overlooked something else about him that is equally important. Jesus had access to a spiritual Power that he used in every way. To him it seemed the most natural thing in the world that he should be able to tell the paralyzed man to walk, or multiply the loaves and fishes, or still the wind and waves.

I happen to be one of those who really believe that Jesus did these things and that we could also do them if we had the know-how. It takes nothing away from Jesus when we say that in addition to his love and compassion and his great humanity, we also have access to the same Power, which enabled him to do such wonderful things. Even his own followers thought he must have been using a power that no one else possessed; however, when we study his words carefully, we find that he said that others could do what he did if they followed the same rules. Jesus was not the great exception; he was the great example, and he even said that "greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

What we want to find out, then, is the nature of this Power that Jesus used, learn how it operates, and then apply it in our own lives in helping ourselves and also in helping others. I am not thinking only about the healing miracles when people have been restored to physical health. For while this is wonderful and good, there is much more to life than merely getting rid of a pain. Jesus had access to some kind of Power that was available for every purpose. He had access to an Intelligence that guided him in everything he did. And he had a deep inward peace and feeling of security that removed all confusion and doubt and uncertainty from his mind.

What we want to find is the key that unlocks the doorway to the Power greater than we are. What we want to do is to discover the secret, which he so plainly told us was a certain kind of relationship he had to God, who, he said, was present everywhere and was also within him and within everyone.

We are accustomed to thinking of the powers and energies in nature, and we know that the whole field of modern science is devoted to the discovery of these powers and learning how to apply them for our everyday needs. We also know that these powers which science uncovers have always existed, they were always there waiting to be used, and always ready to respond when we use them rightly.

We think of a scientific man as one who uses a power of nature. We do not say that he possesses it as a personal thing. For, of course, this would not be true. What we say is that science discovers the power, unlocks its energy, and then uses it for definite purposes for the betterment of humanity. What we really mean by this is that there are certain physical laws and physical powers in nature, which are greater than we are but which can be used, and that these powers operate for us as though they were our servants. We employ them; we do not implore them. That is, we do not beseech them, we do not coerce them, and, as a matter of fact, we do not even concentrate them. We merely use them.

But Jesus had access to another kind of power, which he called the Power of the Spirit. We cannot doubt but that there are spiritual powers which act like physical ones; that act for us and in a certain sense become our servants when we have first leaned how they operate. But in doing this, we must always comply with them, for the secrets of nature are disclosed, and the powers of nature can be used only when we first comply with the way they work. Of all people in the world, the true scientist is the most humble. He stands in reverence and awe before the wonders of a self-operating universe that operates independently of his will, his coercion, or even his desire.

When it was discovered that a hen lays a certain number of eggs and then sits on them and hatches out chickens, someone had the foresight

to realize that you can have as many hens as you want to sit on as many eggs as they can cover and produce as many chickens as are desirable, provided you actually put the hen and the eggs together. Here is an example of the way nature works, with complete independence of our thoughts and our will and our desires, but always with this in mind, that when we comply with the way she works, we receive the benefit.

Jesus worked in a different kind of laboratory. He understood a different set of laws, and because he used these laws, a power was delivered to him that has amazed the world. It is our purpose to rediscover these laws, find out how they work, and apply them for every legitimate purpose, and then reap the benefit for us and for others. Of course, in doing this, it is necessary that we follow the example of the one who really knew. The only reason we have to suppose that Jesus knew is that he proved his claim. What we should do, then, is to find out exactly what Jesus believed, and why, and how he used this secret of the ages so effectively.

The first thing we shall learn is that Jesus believed himself to be one with God, and he believed that the Divine Presence was right where he was. He communed with this Presence through prayers and meditation until it was the most real thing to him in life. We find, then, that the whole background of his teaching starts with the idea that there is such a Presence and such a Power; that the Presence is accessible to all of us, and that the Power can be used by anyone who has faith in it.

This is no doubt the greatest secret of the ages. It is the miracle of the answer to prayer. It is the miracle of Life itself. We need to believe that you and I, so little and so alone, do have access to a Power that has the possibility of making everything in our lives happy and

harmonious if we cooperate with it. Right here, I would like to inject this thought – for it is one that so many people express – how can we believe in a Power that we can neither touch nor taste nor handle?

The answer to this is simple enough. Let us go right back to the hen sitting on her eggs. Neither you nor I nor the hen ever put a chicken in an egg, nor did we ever take one out. The hen, instinctively, by some method of which she is not consciously aware, follows the law of her own life. She lays the eggs and then she sits on them, and nature performs the miracle for her. The Power, which does this, cannot be touched or tasted or handled. It cannot be seen. And yet, we are so used to it that we never question the results. We build incubators and set the eggs in them, and subject them to a certain heat for a certain period of time, with complete assurance, with absolute faith, because experience has taught us that we can do this and have chicks hatch.

So it is with every law that we use. No one has ever seen the powers of nature. We only see how they work, and we accept them with the simplicity of a child. Again someone might ask: How can we believe in a Divine Presence when we have not seen it? The answer to this also is simple. How can we believe in the law of attraction and repulsion, which we have not seen? How can we believe that a magnet will attract iron since we do not see the power of attraction that draws it? No one has ever seen love or human affection; no one has seen kindness and tolerance and human understanding; but we have all felt them, and we have no more doubt of their existence than we do of our own being.

I do not think we need to be concerned with the fact that we do not see God other than in His creation, or that we have not seen the forces of nature other than in and through what they do. When Jesus told us that we should have faith, he was not telling us about something that is impossible for us attain, for Jesus was the most simple and direct of men, and he knew that faith is a natural attitude of mind. It is the very simplicity of his teaching that eludes us. As a matter of fact, it is so easy that it is hard, so

simple that it is difficult, so direct that we fail to catch its significance. For whether or not we know it, we all have faith. We are merely mostly using it in reverse.

So Jesus told us that there is a Divine Presence that will guide us if we let it. And he told us that there is a Power that will operate for us if we believe that It will. But he also told us that this Presence is love and this Power is good and that we cannot hope to derive the greatest benefit from the Presence as Divine guidance, or the Power as the operation of Divine Love, until we first greet the Presence in love and use the Power for good. So far as I know, he laid down no instructions other than these: God is love and God is good. Therefore, Divine Power is delivered to us only in such degree as we love and as we are constructive.

All the prayers or the will of man can neither add to nor take from the powers of nature. This is so self-evident that one cannot even argue against it. What we have to do, then, is to invite the Presence and use the Power. We invite the Divine Presence every time we think about It in love and with true humility. We draw inspiration into our minds and into our imaginations and loose it through our actions when we recognize this Presence, and we benefit from the use of the Power when we comply with the way it works.

Here is where our great experiment in using the Power that Jesus understood starts. This is the very beginning of it. We must believe that there is a Divine Presence. Of course, our belief does not create It; it merely acknowledges It. It is this acknowledgment of the Divine Presence that Jesus was referring to when he said: "…your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."

The artist believes in the presence of beauty. He invites it into his thought and will and imagination; he makes himself open to it. Our acknowledgement of the Presence of God should be as simple as this and as direct. No matter what we are doing, we should start with this basic thought: "God is all there is. God is right where I am. Divine Intelligence is now directing me. I not only invite It, I believe It is here. There is nothing in me that can deny me the privilege of receiving this Divine guidance. There is Something in me that knows what to do under every circumstance, knows how to meet every situation, knows how to overcome every obstacle. I am in partnership with the infinite Mind that creates everything and sustains everything. I am one with God."

We should entertain thoughts like these until they become habitual; that is, until nothing in us denies them. It is not going to take any more faith than we now have, for one of the greatest lessons we can learn about faith is that we always possess it. But too often, we are using it negatively. As a matter of fact, we are always affirming something, be it for good or ill. We are always either saying, "I can," or "I cannot." What we need to do is to eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive. In doing this, we shall gradually acquire the habit of affirmative thinking.

            

To this belief that there is a Divine Presence that is guiding us and leading us gently but certainly on the pathway to success and happiness and wholeness, we must also come to believe that there is a Power that always goes with this recognition of the Divine Presence. We must have faith that this Power operates on our word. But, of course, we do not see Its operation. We do not touch It or taste It or handle It, but we can feel It. It is this deep underlying conviction and feeling that we must acquire.

But this is not difficult. It is just a question of training the mind to believe in and understand spiritual Law in exactly the same manner that it believes in and understands the operation of physical law. If it were something too difficult, then it would be beyond our reach, and we should become discouraged even before we started. The whole thing has to be kept simple and direct and sincere. The Power that Jesus used was a spiritual Power. He knew that it operated on or through his word of faith, and he had such a complete reliance on it that he did not hesitate to tell the paralyzed man to get up and walk.

It is not the words that Jesus used that performed the miracle. It was his inner conviction of the Power that operated on and in and through his words. He called this faith and belief, and in so doing, reduced it to a mental attitude or to a way of thinking that we can all understand. There is Something that operates on our belief and acts exactly like a law, because It is a law and tends to bring about conditions, which correspond to our faith, our belief, and our way of thinking.

Frequently, when we begin to use this Power consciously, we find that our thoughts are unruly. In one moment we affirm some good we desire and in the very next moment, we deny what we have affirmed. In this way, we are a mental house divided against itself. We may as well recognize this fact because it is an important one. But in recognizing it, there is no occasion for us to despair. For we know that thinking is really a movement of the mind upon itself, right where we are, and we are the thinker. Therefore, we can change out thoughts.

This is why Jesus told us that sometimes only prayer and fasting can bring about the desired result. He did not mean that God listens because we do a lot of talking. What he meant was that we should pray affirmatively and fast when it comes to negative thinking. This is the sacrifice we make in the surrender of our doubts and fears to the great affirmations of life. To pray without ceasing means to continue in an affirmative attitude of mind and to fast means to refrain from all negative thoughts and ideas.

There must come a new impulse to the mind, a new way of looking at things. This is what Jesus called the new birth. He referred to this when he said that we must be born again, we must be born of the Spirit, which means being born into a complete conviction of the Presence and the Power and the Activity of God in and through us. The results that follow this new birth are automatic, and this is why Jesus told us that if we would seek the kingdom of God first, everything else would be added.

What a wonderful adventure lies before us. How grateful we should be for the opportunity to live and love and work and play. We should have a keen sense of anticipation and enthusiasm because we know that we are working with a spiritual Power greater than we are, a Law of Mind that is available to create every good thing in life. I believe this is the secret to this power Jesus demonstrated and to the understanding of his teachings. We may call this faith, we may call it religion, we may call it worship. It is all this and more, too. But in reality, it resolves itself into a simple, sincere, and direct approach to God and to the Law of Mind.

The world is in search of the answer to its problems. Frustrated and distraught, disillusioned and chagrined, today it stands on the brink of two possibilities – to be, or not to be. The world today is shocked by the realization of what it has brought on itself. Nothing is more certain than that we have failed, and as never before, millions of people are ready to try something else, that something that for far too long has been neglected, that something which alone can make it whole. Nothing is more certain than that we must rediscover the secret of the ages, this coming into close cooperation with the Presence that made us and the Power that sustains us. Along this pathway alone lies the hope of humanity. This, and this only, is the road to peace, to prosperity, and to happiness.


The Conscious Living Foundation is proud to offer its recording of one of Ernest Holmes most famous books, "Creative Mind and Success".  To learn more about the recording and hear several FREE selections on such topics as:

- How to attract friends
- An affirmation on love
- The power of words
     - Old age and opportunity
      - Money as a spiritual idea
           - How to know just what to do
                                     - Developing Intuition
                                      - What we will attract

Just click Here.
 

We are also pleased to announce the recent release of "Affirmations of Ernest Holmes" - a collection of 20 of Dr. Holmes' most powerful and effective affirmations and treatments.  Each of the affirmations was designed by him to create the best mental attitude and sense of feeling that will promote positive change according to the subject matter of the affirmation.

The affirmations cover a wide range of topics from healing and excellent health, to increased abundance and prosperity, to a greater sense of unity and oneness with Spirit.  These affirmations have been practiced by hundreds of thousands of people for decades and have been found to work with great effectiveness.

To hear several free samples from this wonderful recording, please click Here.
 

If you enjoy our inspirational stories and articles, be sure to visit our website for more:
Articles on Personal Growth, Health and Positive Change - Click Here.
Inspiring Stories - Click Here.
Affirmations - Click Here.
Spiritual Poems - Click Here.

 

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Affirmation:  (Selection from The Conscious Word Daily Affirmation)                       

        

Christ Spirit is born in me today.

I am renewed.

I begin again to recognize

All the good, all the love,

All the joy which surrounds me and

Embraces me.

I am greatly blessed!

 

 

(The preceding is a selection from our daily affirmation, emailed directly to you each morning, called The Conscious Word.  You can obtain more information and view a sample issue by clicking Here.) 

 

News A New Collection of Bath and Body Products

The Conscious Living Foundation is pleased to announce a new collection of healthy bar soaps, "SoapOne" - soap products with spirit.  Available now at a special introductory price.

SoapOne products are designed with harmony and beauty in mind.  One hundred percent vegetable soap with essential oils - the primary ingredients are: Palm Nut Oil, Palm Oil, and Palm Butter.  Our new products are circular in shape and come in four unique flavors:  Allure, Bloom, Reflection and Serenade.  To find out more, click Here.  
 

To see our full line of soaps, body scrubs, hand creams, room sprays and body creams, please click Here.

To visit the Bath and Body section of our catalog, which contains a wide variety of Bath Gift Sets, Perfumes, Women's Pajamas, Bathroom Decor Sets, Pillows, Head and Hair products and Cosmetics - please click Here.

 

 

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The Original Christmas Story:  Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-8

Luke 2:1-20

1  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled.

2 This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3 And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,

5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered.

7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8  And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

10 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people;

11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!"

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."

16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child;

18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

Matthew 2:1-8

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 "`But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,
23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene."

If you enjoy our inspirational stories and articles, be sure to visit our website for more:
Articles on Personal Growth, Health and Positive Change - Click Here.
Inspiring Stories - Click Here.

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News:  The Conscious Word and Conscious Wisdom are Now Available With A 2 Week FREE Trial
 

The Conscious Word is an email newsletter sent directly to you each day.  Each issue contains an inspirational affirmation designed to help uplift your spirits and support your conscious efforts at personal and spiritual growth and development.

By practicing the affirmation which we email to you, for 3 to 4 minutes a day, you create an effective tool that will help you experience an ongoing positive change in your life. 

We all “know” many things.  However, “knowing” something, in and of itself, does not make it “true” to us.  We can read all about oranges; we can look at pictures of oranges and we can talk to people who have eaten oranges.  But, until we taste the orange ourselves, we do not truly understand the full truth about what an orange is. 

Likewise, we can experience the “truth”, the real nature, of many more subtle and essential concepts by “tasting” them.  One of the capabilities of an affirmation is to provide us with a “taste” of the subject matter of the affirmation.

However, something else is also at work in an affirmation.  One of the secrets of the universe is that when a human believes something is so, it becomes what he or she believes.

Jesus said “Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, `Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea,' it shall be done.  And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”  (Book of Matthew verses 21 and 22)

The key words in this quote are “If ye have faith and doubt not..” and “all things whatsoever ye shall ask believing..”

Jesus is describing this receptivity of the universe to human belief.  However, there are requirements for this belief to be effective.  Jesus says we must have “faith” without doubt and that we must “believe” as we ask.

James Allen’s famous premise “As a man Thinketh, so it is” expresses this same truth.

In essence, when we become utterly convinced of the truth of something, which means we have absolutely no doubts about it, the universe will be molded and shaped to match our conviction.  The challenging part is to find a way to become convinced of something that is not yet actualized.  To cultivate our faith.  This is where affirmations can help.

By taking a thought or collection of thoughts and impressing them deeply upon the mind with persistence and concentration,  a conviction can be cultivated.  Developing our own personal convictions, especially about ourselves, and then deepening and persisting in those convictions is a major key to our health, happiness and success in life.

For More Information, an example issue and A Two Week Free Trial, Click HereAfter your 2 week free trial, our normal subscription rate is $3.50 each month.

 

In addition, CLF is pleased to announce the introduction of our newest Daily Inspiration product, Conscious Wisdom. 

Conscious Wisdom is an email newsletter sent directly to you each day. 

Each issue contains inspirational guidance and wisdom designed to help uplift your spirits and support your conscious efforts at personal and spiritual growth and development.  We're offering a Two Week Free Trial subscription, so that you can experience personally how Conscious Wisdom can help change your life.  The regular monthly subscription costs $3.50 each month.

For More Information, an example issue and A Two Week Free Trial, Click Here.

 

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News:  Gift Certificates Now Available - Give the gift of Spiritual Inspiration and Renewal
Consider a Gift Certificate from The Conscious Living Foundation.  What better gift to give friends and loved ones than the gift of new hope, inspiration, encouragement and upliftment?  If you are considering buying a gift, why not let your loved ones select something that can genuinely make a difference in their lives?

Your Gift Certificate can be printed out for your personal delivery, or it can be emailed directly.  Our Gift Certificates are available in denominations from $5.00 to $1,000 and every product in our catalog is available for purchase with our CLF Gift Certificates. 

 Click Here for more information.

This time give the gift of a deeper spiritual life and increased personal growth.

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News:  New Product Line Added To Our Catalog:  Spiritual Classical Music
The Conscious Living Foundation is pleased to announce that we have added an entirely new category of music to our product catalog.  In addition to our wide variety of New Age music CDs and Cassettes, we are now offering a variety of classical recordings of the very highest quality.

This expanding selection of recordings are primarily performances by the acclaimed choral group Gloriae Dei Cantores.  You will find selections by Renaissance masters,   sacred music of Russia (including numbers by Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky), Palestrina, Brahms and Mozart - along with wonderful Christmas selections.

In addition, there are more traditional spiritual songs such as Amazing Grace, What A Friend We Have In Jesus and Simple Gifts.

As always, free audio samples from each album are available for your download and enjoyment.

 Click Here for more information and lots of free samples.

Spiritual encouragement can come in many forms - one of the most powerful are these recordings of the deep attunement and inspiration of these great masters.

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Essay: Hanukah - A History:
 
More than 2000 years ago there was a time when the land of Israel was part of the Syrian Empire, dominated by Syrian rulers of the dynasty of the Seleucids.

In order to relate the story that led up to Chanukah, we shall start with Antiochus III, the King of Syria, who reigned from 3538 to 3574 (222-186 B.C.E.). He had waged war with King Ptolemy of Egypt over the possession of the Land of Israel. Antiochus III was victorious and the Land of Israel was annexed to his empire. At the beginning of his reign he was favorably disposed toward the Jews and accorded them some privileges. Later on, however, when he was beaten by the Romans and compelled to pay heavy taxes, the burden fell upon the various peoples of his empire who were forced to furnish the heavy gold that was required of him by the Romans. When Antiochus died, his son Seleucus IV took over, and further oppressed the Jews.

Added to the troubles from the outside were the grave perils that threatened Judaism from within. The influence of the Hellenists (people who accepted idol-worship and the Syrian way of life) was increasing. Yochanan, the High Priest, foresaw the danger to Judaism from the penetration of Syrian-Greek influence into the Holy Land. For, in contrast to the ideal of outward beauty held by the Greeks and Syrians, Judaism emphasizes truth and moral purity, as commanded by God in the holy Torah. The Jewish people could never give up their faith in God and accept the idol-worship of the Syrians.

Yochanan was therefore opposed to any attempt on the part of the Jewish Hellenists to introduce Greek and Syrian customs into the land. The Hellenists hated him. One of them told the King’s commissioner that in the treasury of the Temple there was a great deal of wealth.

The wealth in the treasury consisted of the contributions of "half a shekel" made by all adult Jews annually. That was given for the purpose of the sacrifices on the altar, as well as for fixing and improving the Temple building. Another part of the treasury consisted of orphans’ funds which were deposited for them until they became of age. Seleucus needed money in order to pay the Romans. He sent his minister Helyodros to take the money from the treasury of the Temple. In vain did Yochanan, the High Priest, beg him not to do it. Helyodros did not listen and entered the gate of the Temple. But suddenly, he became pale with fright. The next moment he fainted and fell to the ground. After Helyodros came to, he did not dare enter again.

The "Madman"

A short time later, Seleucus was killed and his brother Antiochus IV began to reign over Syria (in 3586 - 174 B.C.E.). He was a tyrant of a rash and impetuous nature, contemptuous of religion and of the feelings of others. He was called "Epiphanes," meaning "the gods’ beloved." Several of the Syrian rulers received similar titles. But a historian of his time, Polebius, gave him the epithet Epimanes ("madman"), a title more suitable to the character of this harsh and cruel king.

Desiring to unify his kingdom through the medium of a common religion and culture, Antiochus tried to root out the individualism of the Jews by suppressing all the Jewish Laws. He removed the righteous High Priest, Yochanan, from the Temple in Jerusalem, and in his place installed Yochanan’s brother Joshua, who loved to call himself by the Greek name of Jason. For he was a member of the Hellenist party, and he used his high office to spread more and more of the Greek customs among the priesthood.

Joshua or Jason was later replaced by another man, Menelaus, who had promised the king that he would bring in more money than Jason did. When Yochanan, the former High Priest, protested against the spread of the Hellenists’ influence in the Holy Temple, the ruling High Priest hired murderers to assassinate him.

Antiochus was at that time engaged in a successful war against Egypt. But messengers from Rome arrived and commanded him to stop the war, and he had to yield. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, a rumor spread that a serious accident, had befallen Antiochus. Thinking that he was dead, the people rebelled against Menelaus. The treacherous High Priest fled together with his friends.

The Martyrs

 Antiochus returned from Egypt enraged by Roman interference with his ambitions. When he heard what had taken place in Jerusalem, he ordered his army to fall upon the Jews. Thousands of Jews were killed. Antiochus then enacted a series of harsh decrees against the Jews. Jewish worship was forbidden; the scrolls of the Law were confiscated and burned. Sabbath rest, circumcision and the dietary laws were prohibited under penalty of death. Even one of the respected elders of that generation, Rabbi Eliezer, a man of 90, was ordered by the servants of Antiochus to eat pork so that others would do the same. When he refused they suggested to him that he pick up the meat to his lips to appear to be eating. But Rabbi Eliezer refused to do even that and was put to death.

There were thousands of others who likewise sacrificed their lives. The famous story of Hannah and her seven children happened at that time.

Antiochus’s men went from town to town and from village to village to force the inhabitants to worship pagan gods. Only one refuge area remained and that was the hills of Judea with their caves. But even there did the Syrians pursue the faithful Jews, and many a Jew died a martyr’s death.

 

 

Mattityahu


One day the henchmen of Antiochus arrived in the village of Modin where Mattityahu, the old priest, lived. The Syrian officer built an altar in the marketplace of the village and demanded that Mattityahu offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Mattityahu replied, "I, my sons and my brothers are determined to remain loyal to the covenant which our God made with our ancestors!"

Thereupon, a Hellenistic Jew approached the altar to offer a sacrifice. Mattityahu grabbed his sword and killed him, and his sons and friends fell upon the Syrian officers and men. They killed many of them and chased the rest away. They then destroyed the altar.

Mattityahu knew that Antiochus would be enraged when he heard what had happened. He would certainly send an expedition to punish him and his followers. Mattityahu, therefore, left the village of Modin and fled together with his sons and friends to the hills of Judea.

All loyal and courageous Jews joined them. They formed legions and from time to time they left their hiding places to fall upon enemy detachments and outposts, and to destroy the pagan altars that were built by order of Antiochus.

The Maccabees

 Before his death, Mattityahu called his sons together and urged them to continue to fight in defense of G d’s Torah. He asked them to follow the counsel of their brother Shimon the Wise. In waging warfare, he said, their leader should be Yehuda the Strong. Yehuda was called "Maccabee," a word composed of the initial letters of the four Hebrew words Mi Komocho Bo’eilim Hashem, "Who is like unto Thee, O God."

Antiochus sent his General Apolonius to wipe out Yehuda and his followers, the Maccabees. Though greater in number and equipment than their adversaries, the Syrians were defeated by the Maccabees. Antiochus sent out another expedition which also was defeated. He realized that only by sending a powerful army could he hope to defeat Yehuda and his brave fighting men.

An army consisting of more than 40,000 men swept the land under the leadership of two commanders, Nicanor and Gorgiash. When Yehuda and his brothers heard of that, they exclaimed: "Let us fight unto death in defense of our souls and our Temple!" The people assembled in Mitzpah, where Samuel, the prophet of old, had offered prayers to God. After a series of battles the war was won.

The Dedication

Now the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Yehuda and his followers built a new altar, which he dedicated on the twenty-fifth of the month of Kislev, in the year 3622.

Since the golden Menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the High Priest Yochanan. It was sufficient to light only for one day. By a miracle of God, it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available. That miracle proved that God had again taken His people under His protection. In memory of this, our sages appointed these eight days for annual thanksgiving and for lighting candles.

If you enjoy our inspirational stories and articles, be sure to visit our website for more:

Articles on Personal Growth, Health and Positive Change - Click Here.
Inspiring Stories - Click Here.

News:  Your First Source For Everything -

In our attempt to offer new products and services which support your efforts at personal and spiritual growth, The Conscious Living Foundation is now offering for the first time, a greatly expanded catalog of products.  We hope, once you see our low prices, that you'll think of us as your first source for all your needs.

In addition to our Inspirational Products, we also now offer many other products which we all tend to purchase as part of our daily living.  We now make available almost everything you can imagine – from candles, incense, wind chimes, bird houses and angels to clocks, jewelry, kitchen supplies, tools and telephones. 

It is our hope that you will consider our product catalog as your first source for these other purchases.  Even if the product is not specifically inspirational, your purchase from us helps tremendously in our ability to remain in existence and continue to offer our other, more spiritually directed products and services.

To find our new catalog, just click the red “Products” button at the top of most pages of our website, or to explore the wide gamut of new products right now, just click Here.

 

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Letters To The Editor:

We did not receive any new emails this month - we'll continue to keep the column alive for a few months to see if you have any interest in sharing.  Below are our emails received from last month.  - The Editor

1.  A great newsletter Bill - thank you. I first read Lobsang Rampa in the 60"s and some of his other books but it was good to read the 1st chapter again. Linda, my wife, has just read Wattles essay about material success and liked it too.  -- Bryan (From New Zealand)

Thanks Bryan - we appreciate the positive feedback.  The second chapter of T. Lobsang Rampa's book is included in this edition of our newsletter.  In addition, we've added a new article on material abundance as well.  Enjoy the reading! - The Editor

2.  Overall, it was a pleasure to read the newsletter; your style of writing is always very engaging.

For myself, your current contents layout was a bit disorganized, and left me feeling like there was "too much".  From a practical stand point, I think I'd group the contents by category; news, essays, etc.  I think people would find it much easier to traverse that way, and if you were to including a link to each item, I'm sure your readers would appreciate it.  Sometimes a person only has a few minutes to spare and if something were to catch their eye, they could easily go directly to it.  Unfortunately that would no doubt add more work to your no doubt, super busy schedule. -- Erica (From California)

Thank you for your suggestions Erica.  Your idea to group the table of contents into categories made sense to us, so we've followed your advice for this issue of the newsletter.  We look forward to feedback on whether this makes it easier.  Regarding links to each article:  As you're aware, there are actually 2 versions of the newsletter.  We only email the table of contents to each subscriber.  That email contains one link which connects to the complete newsletter contained on our website.   We've discovered the hard way that if we place more than a few links in our email that is a trigger for many email applications to think the email is spam.

So, our solution is to only place one link in the actual email, but when you click that link and go to the complete email on our website, then each article listed in the table of contents contains a link to that specific article.  I guess that's my long-winded way of saying we agree with you and the links to the articles do exist in the complete newsletter.  Thanks again for the super suggestions! - The Editor

If you have any comments on the emails that we've received, the contents of our newsletter or any other matter of interest to our subscribers, please email us at:  bill@consciouslivingfoundation.org and we'll try to include your thoughts in our next newsletter.

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Conscious Friends - Creating a World-Wide Spiritual Community

Tens of thousands of people visit The Conscious Living Foundation website.  Married or single, male or female, youth or senior, we all appreciate having friends who share our common interest in personal and spiritual growth.  As we learn and mature, many of us have realized that relationships are an important part of creating and maintaining a harmonious and uplifting life. 

To that end, The Conscious Living Foundation is pleased to announce the formal launch of the Conscious Friends section of our website, in the hope that we all can find new like-minded friends, develop deeper relationships and work together to enhance our world.

Conscious Friends offers several excellent features designed to help us communicate with each other, including access to custom created profiles of spiritually oriented people, a wide range of stimulating and thought-provoking forums, public and private chat rooms, instant messaging and our own private and confidential internal email system.

However, the most valuable assets within Conscious Friends are the people who create the community.  Even in its infancy, we have members from Croatia, Great Britain, Switzerland, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Canada, France, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Oman and Norway, as well as all over the United States.  And, our membership continues to grow every day.  Don't miss this great opportunity to discover how wide-spread, optimistic and hopeful our global spiritual community really is.

Joined together we can create a world-wide Spirit village, a global community of high-minded individuals who can help uplift and serve each other and all our brothers and sisters hungry for a deeper meaning in their lives. 

Membership is free, so we invite you to visit Conscious Friends and discover for yourself the great opportunities which await you - just click  Here.

Appeal:  We Depend On Your Donations -

The Conscious Living Foundation's only source of income is your donations and purchase of our products.  If you enjoy our newsletter and website, if you receive inspiration and encouragement from our efforts, we urge you to make a donation to help sustain and grow this work.

By helping us, you are supporting the spiritual growth of the tens of thousands of people from all over the world, who regularly visit our website.

Click Here for more information.  Thank you!

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New Delicious Recipes:    Christmas Cookies!  
Crisp Sugar Cookies -

Original recipe yield:
48 servings

PREP TIME  15 Min
COOK TIME  10 Min
READY IN  25 Min

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut out cookies into desired shapes and place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

       

Date Swirls Cookies


 
Original recipe yield:
24 servings

PREP TIME  30 Min
COOK TIME  10 Min
READY IN  40 Min

 

INGREDIENTS

  • FILLING:
  • 2 cups chopped dates
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • DOUGH:
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a saucepan, combine filling ingredients. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes stiff, about 15-20 minutes. Chill.
  2. For dough, cream butter and sugars in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add extract. Combine flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough to a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle, about 1/4-in. thick. Spread with half of the filling. Roll up, starting with the long end. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Wrap with plastic wrap; chill overnight.
  4. Cut rolls into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Bars       

Original recipe yield:
36 servings

PREP TIME  25 Min
COOK TIME  20 Min
READY IN  45 Min

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • TOPPING:
  • 1 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups crisp rice cereal

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until fluffy. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa; add to creamed mixture. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 18 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows evenly over cake; return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over cake. Cool. For topping, combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and well blended. Remove from heat; stir in cereal. Spread over bars immediately. Chill.
 


 
Serial:  A Romance of Two Worlds          by Marie Corelli                      
           

CHAPTER III.

THREE VISIONS.

Roses, roses! An interminable chain of these royal blossoms, red and white, wreathed by the radiant fingers of small rainbow-winged creatures as airy as moonlight mist, as delicate as thistledown! They cluster round me with smiling faces and eager eyes; they place the end of their rose-garland in my hand, and whisper, "FOLLOW!" Gladly I obey, and hasten onward. Guiding myself by the fragrant chain I hold, I pass through a labyrinth of trees, whose luxuriant branches quiver with the flight and song of birds. Then comes a sound of waters; the riotous rushing of a torrent unchecked, that leaps sheer down from rocks a thousand feet high, thundering forth the praise of its own beauty as it tosses in the air triumphant crowns of silver spray. How the living diamonds within it shift, and change, and sparkle! Fain would I linger to watch this magnificence; but the coil of roses still unwinds before me, and the fairy voices still cry, "FOLLOW!" I press on.

The trees grow thicker; the songs of the birds cease; the light around me grows pale and subdued. In the far distance I see a golden crescent that seems suspended by some invisible thread in the air. Is it the young moon? No; for as I gaze it breaks apart into a thousand points of vivid light like wandering stars. These meet; they blaze into letters of fire. I strain my dazzled eyes to spell out their meaning. They form one word--HELIOBAS. I read it. I utter it aloud. The rose-chain breaks at my feet, and disappears. The fairy voices die away on my ear. There is utter silence, utter darkness,--save where that one NAME writes itself in burning gold on the blackness of the heavens. *  * * * T he interior of a vast cathedral is opened before my gaze. The lofty white marble columns support a vaulted roof painted in fresco, from which are suspended a thousand lamps that emit a mild and steady effulgence. The great altar is illuminated; the priests, in glittering raiment, pace slowly to and fro.

The large voice of the organ, murmuring to itself awhile, breaks forth in a shout of melody; and a boy's clear, sonorous treble tones pierce the incense- laden air. "Credo!"--and the silver, trumpet-like notes fall from the immense height of the building like a bell ringing in a pure atmosphere--"Credo in unum Deum; Patrem omni-potentum, factorem coeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium." T he cathedral echoes with answering voices; and, involuntarily kneeling, I follow the words of the grand chant. I hear the music slacken; the notes of rejoicing change to a sobbing and remorseful wail; the organ shudders like a forest of pines in a tempest, "Crucifixus etiam pro nobis; passus et sepultus est." A darkness grows up around me; my senses swim. The music altogether ceases; but a brilliant radiance streams through a side-door of the church, and twenty maidens, clad in white and crowned with myrtle, pacing two by two, approach me.

They gaze at me with joyous eyes. "Art thou also one of us?" they murmur; then they pass onward to the altar, where again the lights are glimmering. I watch them with eager interest; I hear them uplift their fresh young voices in prayer and praise. One of them, whose deep blue eyes are full of lustrous tenderness, leaves her companions, and softly approaches me. She holds a pencil and tablet in her hand. " Write!" she says, in a thrilling whisper; "and write quickly! for whatsoever thou shalt now inscribe is the clue to thy destiny." I  obey her mechanically, impelled not by my own will, but by some unknown powerful force acting within and around me. I trace upon the tablet one word only; it is a name that startles me even while I myself write it down--HELIOBAS. Scarcely have I written it when a thick white cloud veils the cathedral from my sight; the fair maiden vanishes, and all is again still. *  * * * I  am listening to the accents of a grave melodious voice, which, from its slow and measured tones, would seem to be in the action of reading or reciting aloud. I see a small room sparely furnished, and at a table covered with books and manuscripts is seated a man of noble features and commanding presence. He is in the full prime of life; his dark hair has no thread of silver to mar its luxuriance; his face is unwrinkled; his forehead unfurrowed by care; his eyes, deeply sunk beneath his shelving brows, are of a singularly clear and penetrating blue, with an absorbed and watchful look in them, like the eyes of one accustomed to gaze far out at sea. His hand rests on the open pages of a massive volume; he is reading, and his expression is intent and earnest--as if he were littering his own thoughts aloud, with the conviction and force of an orator who knows the truth of which he speaks: "

The Universe is upheld solely by the Law of Love. A majestic invisible Protectorate governs the winds, the tides, the incoming and outgoing of the seasons, the birth of the flowers, the growth of forests, the outpourings of the sunlight, the silent glittering of the stars. A wide illimitable Beneficence embraces all creation. A vast Eternal Pity exists for all sorrow, all sin. He who first swung the planets in the air, and bade them revolve till Time shall be no more--He, the Fountain-Head of Absolute Perfection, is no deaf, blind, capricious, or remorseless Being.

To Him the death of the smallest singing-bird is as great or as little as the death of a world's emperor. For Him the timeless withering of an innocent flower is as pitiful as the decay of a mighty nation. An infant's first prayer to Him is heard with as tender a patience as the united petitions of thousands of worshippers. For in everything and around everything, from the sun to a grain of sand, He hath a portion, small or great, of His own most Perfect Existence. Should He hate His Creation, He must perforce hate Himself; and that Love should hate Love is an impossibility. Therefore He loves all His work; and as Love, to be perfect, must contain Pity, Forgiveness, and Forbearance, so doth He pity, forgive, and forbear. Shall a mere man deny himself for the sake of his child or friend? and shall the Infinite Love refuse to sacrifice itself--yea, even to as immense a humility as its greatness is immeasurable?

Shall we deny those merciful attributes to God which we acknowledge in His creature, Man? O my Soul, rejoice that thou hast pierced the veil of the Beyond; that thou hast seen and known the Truth! that to thee is made clear the Reason of Life, and the Recompense of Death: yet while rejoicing, grieve that thou art not fated to draw more than a few souls to the comfort thou hast thyself attained!" Fascinated by the speaker's voice and countenance, I listen, straining my ears to catch every word that falls from his lips. He rises; he stands erect; he stretches out his hands as though in solemn entreaty. " Azul!" he exclaims. "Messenger of my fate; thou who art a guiding spirit of the elements, thou who ridest the storm-cloud and sittest throned on the edge of the lightning! By that electric spark within me, of which thou art the Twin Flame, I ask of thee to send me this one more poor human soul; let me change its unrestfulness into repose, its hesitation to certainty, its weakness to strength, its weary imprisonment to the light of liberty! Azul!"

His voice ceases, his extended hands fall slowly, and gradually, gradually he turns his whole figure towards ME. He faces me--his intense eyes burn through me--his strange yet tender smile absorbs me. Yet I am full of unreasoning terror; I tremble--I strive to turn away from that searching and magnetic gaze. His deep, melodious tones again ring softly on the silence. He addresses me. " Fearest thou me, my child? Am I not thy friend? Knowest thou not the name of HELIOBAS?" A t this word I start and gasp for breath; I would shriek, but cannot, for a heavy hand seems to close my mouth, and an immense weight presses me down. I struggle violently with this unseen Power- -little by little I gain the advantage. One effort more! I win the victory--I wake! * ** " Sakes alive!" says a familiar voice; "you HAVE had a spell of sleep! I got home about two, nearly starving, and I found you here curled up 'in a rosy infant slumber,' as the song says. So I hunted up the Colonel and had lunch, for it seemed a sin to disturb you.

It's just struck four. Shall we have some tea up here?" I  looked at Mrs. Everard, and smiled assent. So I had been sleeping for two hours and a half, and I had evidently been dreaming all the time; but my dreams had been as vivid as realities. I felt still rather drowsy, but I was thoroughly rested and in a state of delicious tranquillity. My friend rang the bell for the tea, and then turned round and surveyed me with a sort of wonder. " What have you done to yourself, child?" she said at last, approaching the bed where I lay, and staring fixedly at me. " What do you mean?" " Why, you look a different creature. When I left you this morning you were pale and haggard, a sort of die-away delicate invalid; now your eyes are bright; and your cheeks have quite a lovely color in them; your lips, too, are the right tint. But perhaps," and here she looked alarmed--"perhaps you've got the fever?" " I don't think so," I said amusedly, and I stretched out my hand for her to feel.

" No, you haven't," she continued, evidently reassured; "your palm is moist and cool, and your pulse is regular. Well, you look spry, anyhow. I shouldn't wonder if you made up your mind to have a dance to-night." " Dance?" I queried. "What dance, and where?" " Well, Madame Didier, that jolly little furbelowed Frenchwoman with whom I was driving just now, has got up a regular party to-night--" " Hans Breitmann gib a barty?" I interposed, with a mock solemn air of inquiry. A my laughed. " Well, yes, it MAY be that kind of thing, for all I know to the contrary. Anyhow, she's hired the band and ordered a right-down elegant supper. Half the folks in the hotel are going, and a lot of outsiders have got invitations. She asked if we couldn't come-- myself, the Colonel, and you. I said I could answer for myself and the Colonel, but not for you, as you were an invalid. But if you keep on looking as you do at present, no one will believe that there's anything the matter with you.--Tea, Alphonse!" T his to a polite waiter, who was our special attendant, and who just then knocked at the door to know "madame's" orders. Utterly disbelieving what my friend said in regard to my improved appearance, I rose from the bed and went to the dressing-table to look in the mirror and judge for myself.

I almost recoiled from my own reflection, so great was my surprise. The heavy marks under my eyes, the lines of pain that had been for months deepening in my forehead, the plaintive droop of the mouth that had given me such an air of ill-health and anxiety--all were gone as if by magic. I saw a rose-tinted complexion, a pair of laughing, lustrous eyes, and, altogether, such a happy, mirthful young face smiled back at me, that I half doubted whether it was indeed myself I saw. " There now!" cried Amy in triumph, watching me as I pushed my clustering hair from my brows, and examined myself more intently. "Did I not tell you so? The change in you is marvellous! I know what it is. You have been getting better unconsciously to yourself in this lovely air and scene, and the long afternoon sleep you've just had has completed the cure." I  smiled at her enthusiasm, but was forced to admit that she was right as far as my actual looks went. No one would believe that I was, or ever had been, ill. In silence I loosened my hair and began to brush it and put it in order before the mirror, and as I did so my thoughts were very busy. I remembered distinctly all that had happened in the studio of Raffaello Cellini, and still more distinctly was I able to recall every detail of the three dreams that had visited me in my slumber.

The NAME, too, that had been the key-note of them all I also remembered, but some instinct forbade me to utter it aloud. Once I thought, "Shall I take a pencil and write it down lest I forget it?" and the same instinct said "No." Amy's voluble chatter ran on like the sound of a rippling brook all the time I thus meditated over the occurrences of the day. " Say, child!" she exclaimed; "will you go to the dance?" " Certainly I will, with pleasure," I answered, and indeed I felt as if I should thoroughly enjoy it. " Brava! It will be real fun. There are no end of foreign titles coming, I believe. The Colonel's a bit grumpy about it,--he always is when he has to wear his dress suit. He just hates it. That man hasn't a particle of vanity. He looks handsomer in his evening clothes than in anything else, and yet he doesn't see it. But tell me," and her pretty face became serious with a true feminine anxiety, "whatever will you wear? You've brought no ball fixings, have you?"

I  finished twisting up the last coil of my hair, and turned and kissed her affectionately. She was the most sweet-tempered and generous of women, and she would have placed any one of her elaborate costumes at my disposal had I expressed the least desire in that direction. I answered: " No, dear; I certainly have no regular ball 'fixings,' for I never expected to dance here, or anywhere for that matter. I did not bring the big trunks full of Parisian toilettes that you indulge in, you spoilt bride! Still I have something that may do. In fact it will have to do." " What is it? Have I seen it? Do show!" and her curiosity was unappeasable. T he discreet Alphonse tapped at the door again just at this moment.

" Entrez!" I answered; and our tea, prepared with the tempting nicety peculiar to the Hotel de Lourve, appeared. Alphonse set the tray down with his usual artistic nourish, and produced a small note from his vest-pocket. " For mademoiselle," he said with a bow; and as he handed it to me, his eyes opened wide in surprise. He, too, perceived the change in my appearance. But he was dignity itself, and instantly suppressed his astonishment into the polite impassiveness of a truly accomplished waiter, and gliding from the room on the points of his toes, as was his usual custom, he disappeared. The note was from Cellini, and ran as follows: " If mademoiselle will be so good as to refrain from choosing any flowers for her toilette this evening, she will confer a favor on her humble friend and servant, " RAFFAELLO CELLINI."

I  handed it to Amy, who was evidently burning with inquisitiveness to know its contents. " Didn't I say he was a odd young man?" she exclaimed, as she perused the missive attentively. "This is only his way of saying that he means to send you some flowers himself. But what puzzles me is to think how he could possibly know you were going to make any special 'toilette' this evening. It is really very mysterious when I come to think of it, for Madame Didier said plainly that she would not ask Cellini to the dance till she saw him at the table d'hote to-night." " Perhaps Alphonse has told him all about it," I suggested. M y friend's countenance brightened. " Of course! That is it; and Mr. Cellini takes it for granted that a girl of your age would not be likely to refuse a dance. Still there is something odd about it, too. By-the-bye, I forgot to ask you how the picture got on?" " Oh, very well, I believe," I replied evasively. "Signor Cellini only made a slight outline sketch as a beginning." " And was it like you?--a really good resemblance?" " I really did not examine it closely enough to be able to judge." " What a demure young person you are!" laughed Mrs. Everard.

"Now, I should have rushed straight up to the easel and examined every line of what he was doing. You are a model of discretion, really! I shan't be anxious about leaving you alone any more. But about your dress for to-night. Let me see it, there's a good girl." I  opened my trunk and took out a robe of ivory-tinted crepe. It was made with almost severe simplicity, and was unadorned, save by a soft ruffle of old Mechlin lace round the neck and sleeves. Amy examined it critically. " Now, you would have looked perfectly ghastly in this last night, when you were as pale and hollow-eyed as a sick nun; but to-night," and she raised her eyes to my face, "I believe you will do. Don't you want the bodice cut lower?" " No, thanks!" I said, smiling. "I will leave that to the portly dowagers--they will expose neck enough for half-a-dozen other women," M y friend laughed. " Do as you like," she returned; "only I see your gown has short sleeves, and I thought you might like a square neck instead of that little simple Greek round. But perhaps it's better as it is. The stuff is lovely; where did you get it?" " At one of the London emporiums of Eastern art," I answered. "My dear, your tea is getting cold."

She laid the dress on the bed, and in doing so, perceived the antique-looking book with the silver clasps which I had left there. " What's this?" she asked, turning it round to discover its name. "'Letters of a Dead Musician!' What a shivery title! Is it morbid reading?" "Not at all," I replied, as I leaned comfortably back in an easy-chair and sipped my tea. "It is a very scholarly, poetical, and picturesque work. Signor Cellini lent it to me; the author was a friend of his." A my looked at me with a knowing and half-serious expression. " Say now--take care, take care! Aren't you and Cellini getting to be rather particular friends--something a little beyond the Platonic, eh?" This notion struck me as so absurd that I laughed heartily. Then, without pausing for one instant to think what I was saying, I answered with amazing readiness and frankness, considering that I really knew nothing about it: " Why, my dear, Raffaello Cellini is betrothed, and he is a most devoted lover." A  moment after I had uttered this assertion I was surprised at myself.

 

 

What authority had I for saying that Cellini was betrothed? What did I know about it? Confused, I endeavored to find some means of retracting this unfounded and rash remark, but no words of explanation would come to my lips that had been so ready and primed to deliver what might be, for all I knew, a falsehood. Amy did not perceive my embarrassment. She was pleased and interested at the idea of Cellini's being in love. " Really!" she exclaimed, "it makes him a more romantic character than ever! Fancy his telling you that he was betrothed! How delightful! I must ask him all about his chosen fair one. But I'm positively thankful it isn't you, for I'm sure he's just a little bit off his head. Even this book he has lent you looks like a wizard's property;" and she fluttered the leaves of the "Dead Musician's" volume, turning them rapidly over in search of something attractive. Suddenly she paused and cried out: "Why, this is right- down awful!

He must have been a regular madman! Just listen!" and she read aloud: " 'How mighty are the Kingdoms of the Air! How vast they are--how densely populated--how glorious are their destinies--how all- powerful and wise are their inhabitants! They possess everlasting health and beauty--their movements are music--their glances are light--they cannot err in their laws or judgments, for their existence is love. Thrones, principalities, and powers are among them, yet all are equal. Each one has a different duty to perform, yet all their labours are lofty. But what a fate is ours on this low earth! For, from the cradle to the grave, we are watched by these spiritual spectators--watched with unflinching interest, unhesitating regard. O Angelic Spirits, what is there in the poor and shabby spectacle of human life to attract your mighty Intelligences? Sorrow, sin, pride, shame, ambition, failure, obstinacy, ignorance, selfishness, forgetfulness--enough to make ye veil your radiant faces in unpierceable clouds to hide forever the sight of so much crime and misery.

Yet if there be the faintest, feeblest effort in our souls to answer to the call of your voices, to rise above the earth by force of the same will that pervades your destinies, how the sound of great rejoicing permeates those wide continents ye inhabit, like a wave of thunderous music; and ye are glad, Blessed Spirits!--glad with a gladness beyond that of your own lives, to feel and to know that some vestige, however fragile, is spared from the general wreck of selfish and unbelieving Humanity. Truly we work under the shadow of a "cloud of Witnesses." Disperse, disperse, O dense yet brilliant multitudes! turn away from me your burning, truthful, immutable eyes, filled with that look of divine, perpetual regret and pity! Lo, how unworthy am I to behold your glory! and yet I must see and know and love you all, while the mad blind world rushes on to its own destruction, and none can avert its doom.'"

Here Amy threw down the book with a sort of contempt, and said to me: " If you are going to muddle your mind with the ravings of a lunatic, you are not what I took you for. Why, it's regular spiritualism! Kingdoms of the air indeed! And his cloud of witnesses! Rubbish!" " He quotes the CLOUD OF WITNESSES from St. Paul," I remarked. " More shame for him!" replied my friend, with the usual inconsistent indignation that good Protestants invariably display when their pet corn, the Bible, is accidentally trodden on. "It has been very well said that the devil can quote Scripture, and this musician (a good job he IS dead, I'm sure) is perfectly blasphemous to quote the Testament in support of his ridiculous ideas! St. Paul did not mean by 'a cloud of witnesses,' a lot of 'air multitudes' and 'burning, immutable eyes,' and all that nonsense." " Well, what DID he mean?" I gently persisted. " Oh, he meant--why, you know very well what he meant," said Amy, in a tone of reproachful solemnity. "And I wonder at your asking me such a question!

Surely you know your Bible, and you must be aware that St. Paul could never have approved of spiritualism." " 'And there are bodies celestial and bodies terrestrial, but one is the glory of the celestial?" I quoted with, a slight smile. M rs. Everard looked shocked and almost angry. " My dear, I am ashamed of you! You are a believer in spirits, I do declare! Why, I thought Maskelyne and Cook had cured everybody of such notions; and now here's this horrid book going to make you more nervous than ever. I shall have you getting up one night and shrieking about burning, immutable eyes looking at you." I  laughed merrily as I rose to pick up the discarded volume from the floor. " Don't be afraid," I said; "I'll give back the book to Signor Cellini tomorrow , and I will tell him that you do not like the idea of my reading it, and that I am going to study the Bible instead. Come now, dear, don't look cross!" and I embraced her warmly, for I liked her far too well to wish to offend her. "Let us concentrate our attention on our finery for to-night, when a 'dense and brilliant multitude,' not of air, but of the 'earth earthy,' will pass us under critical survey.

I assure you I mean to make the best of my improved looks, as I don't believe they will last. I dare say I shall be the 'sick nun' that you termed me again tomorrow ." " I hope not, dearest," said my friend kindly, returning my caress and forgetting her momentary ill-humour. "A jolly dance will do you good if you are careful to avoid over-exertion. But you are quite right, we must really fix our things ready for the evening, else we shall be all in a flurry at the last moment, and nothing riles the Colonel so much as to see women in a fuss. I shall wear my lace dress; but it wants seeing to. Will you help me?" Readily assenting, we were soon deep in the arrangement of the numberless little mysteries that make up a woman's toilette; and nothing but the most frivolous conversation ensued.

But as I assisted in the sorting of laces, jewels, and other dainty appendages of evening costume, I was deep in earnest meditation. Reviewing in my own mind the various sensations I had experienced since I had tasted that Eastern wine in Cellini's studio, I came to the conclusion that he must have tried an experiment on me with some foreign drug, of which he alone knew the properties. Why he should do this I could not determine; but that he had done it I was certain. Besides this, I felt sure that he personally exerted some influence upon me--a soothing and calming influence I was forced to admit--still, it could hardly be allowed to continue.

To be under the control, however slight, of one who was almost a stranger to me, was, at the least, unnatural and unpleasant. I was bound to ask him a few plain questions. And, supposing Mrs. Everard were to speak to him about his being betrothed, and he were to deny it, and afterwards were to turn round upon me and ask what authority I had for making such a statement, what should I say? Convict myself of falsehood? However, it was no use to puzzle over the solution of this difficulty till it positively presented itself. At any rate, I determined I would ask him frankly, face to face, for some explanation of the strange emotions I had felt ever since meeting him; and thus resolved, I waited patiently for the evening.

 


Marie Corelli was the most widely read author of fiction of her time.  Her works were collected by members of the British Royal Family and by Winston Churchill.  A recurring theme throughout her books was her attempt to reconcile Christianity with reincarnation, astral projection and other mystical topics.

Her books were a very important part of the foundation of today's New Age and New Thought movements.

Look for the next chapter in A Romance of Two Worlds by Marie Corelli in the next edition of our newsletter and prior chapters in prior editions.  To read other books by Marie Corelli, visit our free Ebook section by clicking  Here.

 

 

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Music

(Music and sounds from a variety of sources, styles and historical periods)

 

Our Music and Audio section contain a wide range of musical styles from various historical periods, but all "spiritual" in nature.  They currently include selections from such albums as:  Yoga Heart Healing, MasterPeace, Harmony in Disarray, Siddartha, Hush and Feel, Gospel Music, Tara Mantras, Soul Calls, The Kyoto Connection, Daughter of Love, Dream World, Buddhist Chanting, Songs For The Soul, Mind Sailing, Timeless Vibrations, Heart of the Mother, Yosemite Suite, Connected, The Cosmic Chants of Paramahansa Yogananda, Marti Walker, Hindu Chants, The Reflecting Pool, Winter Snow and Strings and Root Road Flute.

 

Video

(Large variety of films and videos, historic and modern, documentary and talks)

 

Our Video section currently contains:  The Ocean At Dusk - Guided Relaxation, A Biography of Mother Teresa, Meditation and Movement, Imagination Meditation, Laughter Meditation, Music for Meditation and Healing, A CNN Report on the Health Benefits of Meditation, A Biography of Mary Baker Eddy, A Man of God - An Interview with Leonard Ravenhill, Paramahansa Yogananda & Sri Yukteswar, Paramahansa Yogananda & Ramana Maharshi, Paramahansa Yogananda at Mt. Washington, Paramahansa Yogananda on a Walk In New York, Paramahansa Yogananda Demonstrating How To Sleep, Krishnamurti Talks on Freedom, Krishnamurti Talks on Life and Death, Krishnamurti  Talks on Meditation and Krishnamurti Talks on World Suffering.

 

Still Images

(Nature Pictures, Saints, Sages, Gurus, Mandalas, Chakras, Fine Art)

 

Our collection of pictures is too large to list in detail, but we promise that you will browse for quite some time in order to see them all.

 

Complete Audio Classics

(Complete Plays, Radio Dramatizations, Books Read Aloud

and Stories To Entertain The Entire Family

- With a special collection for children)

 

Our audio classics are dramatic portrayals designed to primarily entertain, but with wholesome content that expresses positive values and that are suitable for the entire family to experience together.  They include such titles as:

 

The Importance of Being Earnest, Treasure Island, A Tale of Two Cities, War of the Worlds, Abraham Lincoln, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Immortal Sherlock Holmes, Around The World In 80 Days, Pickwick Papers, Julius Caesar and Jane Eyre.

 

In addition, there is a special Children's Section containing dramatizations and readings especially created for younger children.  They include such titles as:  The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, Jack and The Bean Stalk, Puss and Boots, Blue Beard, Thumbelina, Cinderella, Twas the Night Before Christmas, Snowdrop and the 7 Dwarves, Robin Hood, The Golden Fleece, Beauty and The Beast, Rapunzel, King Arthur, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Magic Carpet and many, many more!

 

Wall Paper

(Large Beautiful Pictures with Inspirational Quotes Suitable To Place on The Background of Your Computer Desktop or Screensaver Program.)

 

The images in this section of the newsletter are a few of the selections contained in our Wall Paper Download Library.  To read the inspirational inscriptions, visit us by clicking "Wall Paper" above.

 


 

Let's share the gifts for which we are most grateful:
 joy, wisdom, love and the means to increase them in our lives. 
Click Here for our special discounts.

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Essay:  Christmas Story - Gift Of The Magi                          by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it."

Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

 

 

For a collection of affirmations, click Here.
For a large variety of inspiring quotations, click Here.

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Let's share the gifts for which we are most grateful:
 joy, wisdom, love and the means to increase them in our lives. 
Click Here for our special discounts.

Essay:  Christmas Humor:


Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.
 
"In honor of this holy season," Saint Peter said, "You must each possess something that symbolizes  Christmas to get into heaven."
 
The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. "It represents a candle," he said. "You may pass through the pearly gates," Saint Peter said.
 
The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, "They're bells." Saint Peter said, "You may pass through the pearly gates."
 
The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's glasses.
 
St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, "And just what do those symbolize?"
 
The man replied, "They're Carol's."

As a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?"
The child stared at him open mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped: "Didn't you get my E-mail?"

This guy goes into his dentist's office, because something is wrong with his mouth. After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, "Holy Smoke! That plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?" "Well... the only thing I can think of is this... my wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it... Hollandaise sauce she called it... and doctor, I'm talkin' DELICIOUS! I've never tasted anything like it, and ever since then I've been putting it on everything... meat, fish, toast, vegetables... you name it!" "That's probably it," replied the dentist "Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. It seems as thought I'll have to install a new plate, but made out of chrome this time." "Why chrome?" the man asked. "Well, everyone knows that there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"

While working as a mall Santa, I had many children ask for electric trains. "If you get a train," I would tell each one, "you know your dad is going to want to play with it too. Is that okay?"
    The usual answer was a quick yes, but after I asked one boy this question, he became very quiet. Trying to move the conversation along, I asked what else he would like Santa to bring him. He promptly replied, "Another train." 

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News:  Conscious Money Circulation "Abundant Blessings"
 

Would you like to have a greater feeling of being in the flow of abundance?   Is the activity of paying your bills a time of stress and anxiety for you?  The meditation, affirmations and background music on this CD were created to provide an uplifting and expansive experience of abundance and prosperity while paying bills.

Abundant Blessings © contains a meditation and affirmations for Conscious Money circulation. The meditation guides you within, to a place of centered calm. Affirmations of abundance and gratitude play in the background while you pay your bills or any time that you would like to be uplifted.

Play this CD and transform the mundane into the miraculous as you pay bills with gratitude and JOY!

To find out more about Abundant Blessings, click Here.
 


 

                                           

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News:  First Spanish Products - Conscious Word, Conscious Wisdom and E-books
 

The Conscious Living Foundation is proud to announce the translation of our website into Spanish.  The entire website, with all of our articles, poems, inspiring stories, affirmations, previous newsletters, quotations and affirmations are now available.  We are excited about the prospect of being able to reach others who were unable to share in all of the resources of the site because they didn't read English.  To visit the Spanish language version of our site, click Here.

 

In addition, we have begun creating our first products for those who prefer to read in Spanish.  The Conscious Word and Conscious Wisdom are both now available in a Spanish version. 

 

We have also translated 14 wonderful, inspirational masterpieces and are offering them as E-books in Spanish.  The titles include:

As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
Prosperity by Charles Filmore
The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes
The Tao Te Ching
A Lamp Unto My Feet by Walter Lanyon
The Science of Getting Rich  by Wallace D. Wattles
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda (2 volumes)
Above Life's Turmoil by James Allen
An Introduction to Yoga by Annie Besant
Teach Us To Pray by Charles Filmore
The Power of Thought by Thomas Hamblin
The Secret Door To Success by Florence Scovel Shin
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles Johnson
Your Word is Your Wand by Florence Scovel Shin

 

This E-book collection in Spanish can be purchased for $7.00 by clicking  Here.

 

He desterrado el pasado

Ahora vivo en el maravilloso presente

Donde regocijantes sorpresas

Llegan envolviendome

Todos los dias.

 

If you have any suggestion on other titles which we should translate, or other languages we should support, we would love to hear from you.  You can email us at:  CLF@consciouslivingfoundation.org

  

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News:  Destiny Designer - A Practical Aid To Organize Your Life
 

Even when we read spiritual books; even when we exercise; even when we practice affirmations and positive thinking;
even when we pray and meditate - it is not enough until we undertake these actions - consistently every day. 

If we aren't organized, we aren't committed.


Virtually all organized, responsible business professionals carry them. They are essential.  They are the omnipresent symbols of our busy, complicated lives. They are, of course…day planners. And until now they have performed just two functions, where to be or what to do next: the next meeting, the next event, the next task, the next party, the next phone call...

Now there is the Destiny Designer,™ a breakthrough personal calendar/planner that demands your focus on enhancing the fullness and richness of your life as much as it does managing your daily routine. If you use this one-of-a-kind tool every day, you will create the life you most passionately desire!

In our busy lives we often do that which screams for our attention first, not what truly moves our lives forward in a real and fulfilling way. Destiny Designer™ is designed to keep you centered on what is actually important in your life - not merely what you must get done in your profession.  Find Out More - Click Here.

 

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A Poem by William Simpson -

Joy Is The Birthright

 

Within the heart

A sacred space exists

Where troubles may be stored

Or joy.       

 

Eternal blessings flowing continuously

Saturate the being of one who is open -

Open enough to allow the unpredictability of life

To flow through as well.

 

Joy is the medium of life.

It is the clear stream that

Sometimes rushes over sharp craggy rocks

Of affliction and torment

That sometimes convolutes in upon itself in

Whirlpools of confusion and bewildering distraction.

 

Sometimes it tumbles quickly,

Cascading on its course,

Feeling as if life were inescapably out of our grasp.

And other times ebbs in wide flat stagnant basins

Of mistrust and unease,

Disquietude and trembling a harbinger of tomorrow’s obscurity.

 

But as the rippling water remains untouched and ever the same

Regardless of the sediment upon which it moves,

Thus joy remains inviolate

Regardless of the circumstances upon which

Life propels it.

 

Joy is the birthright of being.

Joy is the inheritance of genesis.

 

But to perceive that joy –

More is required.

 

As we can not hear the trilling of a bird at dawn

Without using our ears to listen,

As we can not see a summer’s rainbow after the storm

Without using our eyes to see,

So we can not feel the underlying joy of eternity

Without using our heart to feel.

 

All walls must be removed

All barriers must be dissolved

The heart must be open

Unobstructed, vulnerable and defenseless.

 

Only through the tender passageways of reverence

Only through the expansive cathedrals of mercy, forgiveness and compassion

Shall the heart be awakened.

 

Then -

 

Eternal blessings flowing continuously

Saturate the being of one who is open -

Open enough to allow the unpredictability of life

To flow through as well.

 

Within the heart

A sacred space exists

Where troubles may be stored

Or joy.

 

(From the collection, "From The Path - Verses On The Mystic Journey" click Here for more)

Copyright 2004 by The Conscious Living Foundation, All Rights Reserved

Let's share the gifts for which we are most grateful:
 joy, wisdom, love and the means to increase them in our lives. 
Click Here for our special discounts.


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A Poem by Kahlil Gibran - On Giving (From The Prophet)

 

Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."

And he answered:

You give but little when you give of your possessions.

It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?

And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?

And what is fear of need but need itself?

Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?

There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all.

These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.

And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;

They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.

Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;

And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving

And is there aught you would withhold?                       

All you have shall some day be given;

Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors'.

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."

The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.

They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.

And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.

And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?

And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.

For in truth it is life that gives unto life - while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.

And you receivers - and you are all receivers - assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.

Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;

For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.

  

The Conscious Living Foundation is pleased to offer an original 2 CD recording of Kahlil Gibran's mystical masterpiece, "The Prophet".  For complete details and samples from the recording, please click Here.

 

     

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News:  Two New Music CDs:  "Soul Calls" and "Yoga Heart Healing"

 

Spirituality is a quiet inner quality that eclipses all boundaries of land, caste, profession, and religion, - and it manifests in many ways. For those whose spirituality seeks an ever deepening personal peace, the music of the SOUL CALLS provides a peaceful, soothing vibrational environment for the heart and mind of the listener. For those who are actively engaged in the interior life of loving God, the lyrics of the SOUL CALLS affirm the longing for and the presence of the Divine Beloved. Touching the heart of the peace-giver, the spiritual seeker and the devotee alike, the SOUL CALLS take the consciousness within ~ to the place of peace.   Click Here
 

 

 

 

YOGA HEART HEALING was created from the need to heal Anahata, the fourth chakra, considered the seat of universal love.   Anahata is the color green.  Our recording was created to support your practice of yoga, massage and other nurturing and healing activities.

 

Inspired by Dharma teachings from both Hindu and Buddhist wisdom, Yoga Heart Healing will open your heart chakra with its rich vibrant textures of soothing melodic transitions.  - just click Here!

  

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Essay:  The Twelve Steps of Christmas                                        by KC Mulville
 
If you want to know the true spirit of Christmas, put yourself in the sandals of the people who were around at the first one.

The Romans ruled the Jews. They ruled with the same subtlety as Tony Soprano. Things went well as long as you kept quiet, or as long as Tony didn’t have a spat of rage over something that had nothing to do with you. The Romans erupted in rage from time to time, and that was just your tough luck. The local magistrate was Herod, who ruled only by the Romans’ consent. Compared to other despots, Herod wasn’t bad, but despotism is a low standard. After all, Herod’s response to a possible new king was to slaughter every firstborn child. These were dark men, and they brought dark times.

Remember, the Jews were proud, but they’d been kicked around for a few centuries. It all went downhill after David; a thousand years of problems followed. First, they fought among themselves, leaving them weak. Prophets kept warning the Jews, but the Jews kept killing them. The Assyrians bullied them, and then the Babylonians. The Babylonians even held them captive for a while. Eventually the Jews wandered back to the Promised Land, only to have Alexander the Great storm through. Then came the Romans, and that’s where things stood.

Put yourself in the sandals (grateful to have them) of those Jews at the time. Consider how you would have felt. You would have felt weak, abused, and helpless. You also felt a little guilty. Why? Before David, the Jews considered Yahweh their king. Installing a king, for the Jews, would insult Yahweh. Later, though, the Jews watched as other nations rose up, and those nations had kings. The Jews got afraid, and they wanted political power, so they risked insulting Yahweh and made Saul king. Saul didn’t work out, but his successor David was a huge hit. David was one king, one brief moment of peace, and then it all crashed. By Jesus’ time, the Jews regretted all this. They came to think that their helplessness was payback. The Jews were helpless, and it was their own fault.

You can’t understand what a savior means until you need saving yourself.

The Spirit of Christmas isn’t about giving presents. It isn’t about warm wishes and sentimental gush. It isn’t about families gathered around a fireplace, spending one day posing as Hallmark people. It isn’t about football, or eating large birds, or winter sugar treats. It isn’t about tolerance.

The Spirit of Christmas is about being saved. It’s about feeling guilty and helpless, and reaching up with open arms, pleading for rescue. It’s about hitting rock bottom. It’s about moral exhaustion. It’s about knowing that much stronger people surround you, and they enjoy kicking you where it hurts. The Christmas Spirit is about finally realizing that no matter how clever, how compassionate, how handsome, how educated, how rich, or how well connected, the bad guys are stronger. You can’t win. They’re just too strong. The Romans win because they don’t care about you, and they don’t hesitate if they think they can gain any small advantage. They’ll kill you if they feel like it, and you can't stop it. Like it or not, you can’t win on your own.

Once you grasp that spirit, and you hit rock bottom, what can you do?

(1) We admitted we were powerless --that our lives had become unmanageable. (2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Dickens understood the Christmas Spirit. Think of Scrooge in the graveyard, seeing his own grave, weeping, and begging the dark spirit to give him one more chance. What had Scrooge experienced?

(4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (5) Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. (7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

The spirit of Christmas is forgiveness. When we realize how weak we are, we beg for a savior. The savior comes, not to defeat the bullies and rescue us from the strong, but to rescue us from ourselves. God didn’t come as a general; he came as an innocent child. We don’t receive power and strength to make war on our enemies; we simply receive forgiveness.

Scrooge immediately went out to all the people he’d harmed. He brought gifts to Bob Cratchett’s house and took care of Tiny Tim, but most importantly, he asked their forgiveness. He returned to his nephew and repented. The Christmas Spirit wasn’t about merely gifts; the gifts had a purpose to them. What, do you suppose, was that purpose?

(8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. (9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

The spirit of Christmas isn’t about giving at all. The Christmas spirit is entirely about receiving; not gifts, but forgiveness. Before Christmas, we come to see how weak we are in this world. When Christmas comes, we don’t get any stronger. The Romans don’t go away. Death will still come for Ebenezer Scrooge. We remain as weak after Christmas as we were before it. But strength isn’t the point of Christmas; forgiveness is. That’s why, whatever we do, we need to keep asking for forgiveness.

(10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. (11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. (12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Let it be said of us, then, what Dickens said of Scrooge: “it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”

 

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News:  New Audio CD - Embracing The Stillness - Lessons In Meditation

 
Embracing The Stillness is a collection of meditation techniques explained and practiced with the Director of The Conscious Living Foundation, William Simpson.

It contains the following tracks:

  1. Discovering The Purpose of Our Lives  (2:29)
  2. How To Meditate  (3:22)
  3. Meditation on a Devotional Phrase  (11:01)
  4. Affirmation for Relaxation and Happiness  (6:45)
  5. Learning the Technique of Meditating on Om  (5:46)
  6. Meditation on Chanting Om  (6:25)
  7. Affirmation for Health, Wealth and Wisdom  (8:28)
  8. Sitting in the Stillness  (3:31)
  9. Affirmation for Perfection, Immortality and Light  (11:25)
  10. Visualization and Prayer for Others  (2:44)
  11. What We Believe  (1:31)

"There is an essential part of our being which exists beyond thought and feeling - pure awareness.  When we can remain present, alert and calm, we discover the fertile ground upon which we can plant the seeds of immediate growth, positive change and joy". 

William Simpson -
from "Embracing The Stillness"

To hear some sample selections from this new recording, click Here.

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