Monday, 17 April 2017

Semana Santa in Castile y Leon

The procession de la Soledad celebrated during Holy Thursday in Leon.
The best place to spend Easter is in the Castilian region of Northern Spain to witness the most dramatic religious rites and processions. The origin of the liturgical rituals date back to the 13th century.

Call it serendipity! I was in  the right place, at the right time.  I was in Burgos six days ago to meet up with my friends who already started their Camino de Santiago pilgrimage using the camino Frances route.  Stephen started all the way up in the Pyrenees at Saint Jean Pied on March 28 and the rest - Gai, Alan and Raffy - started in Pamplona on April 2. I came from Bozi Dar in the Czech Republic where I did a Kundalini Yoga module 2 course facilitated by Harijiwan and Gurujas and thus, got to Burgos only on April 9,  Palm Sunday.

The devotees donned in capirote.
Palm Sunday is the official start of the Semana Santa in Spain. It was my first introduction to capirote. This is, the devotees, the brotherhoods who organizes the processions, are dressed in tall conical hats covering their faces and in belted robes. Each color represents a brotherhood or a masonry guild.

The medieval garb is reserved for those doing penance as a sign of atoning for their sins. They would walk through the narrow cobblestone streets wearing their hats, their faces covered so they wouldn't be discovered as sinners and carrying the carrozas (floats adorned with flowers and large religious figures). Some are walking barefoot. They do resemble the Ku Klux Klan attire though.

The women would wear their traditional mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of their head with a mini-comb clip.

Spanish women wearing their traditional mantilla
Each town along the Camino, from Burgos to Carrion de los Condes to Leon, would have their own .

We were lucky to arrive in Leon and witness three processions in one day. These are  the procession de Santo del Desenclavo, the procession de la Soledad and the procession Camino de la Luz. The last one ended until midnight.

The next day, Easter Sunday, the procession started in the morning.  At this time, the devotees were no longer wearing their hats. The procession ended in the town square, in front of the Cathedral.

If you want to witness the medieval processions during semana santa, I heard that Seville and Zaragosa are also good.

Here are some video clips and photos of the proceedings:

Palm Sunday procession after the mass in Burgos
video


Holy Thursday procession in Carrion de los Condes



video


The processions in Leon on Easter Saturday and Sunday
video







Friday, 17 February 2017

The Healing Sound of a Gong



with gong master Mehtab in Hong Kong
I'm now paying it forward after all the gong training I've been through. First with Martha Collard, a student of gong master Don Conreaux and recently with another gong master and kundalini yoga teacher, Mehtab Benton for gong yoga and gong therapy.

Both of the training I've attended were at the Red Doors Studio, founded by Martha. This is where her collection of 19 gongs (and still growing) is housed. She established Red Doors in Aberdeen as a platform to share her passion with a larger audience.

I've been drawn to gongs ever since my first gong bath experience at the Summer Solstice Festival in France in 2013 by Nanakdev Singh.  He had on stage massive gongs (more than 40" in diameter). He was at the center and there were 5-6 students with him. As they played,  I felt that my tired, aching plus jet lag body was being healed by the overwhelming overtones of the gong.  I would go back each day of my stay at the festival to receive a 30-minute gong bath by his group.

The gong is one of the oldest transformational and therapeutic instruments used in rituals, ceremony, prayer and meditation since the Bronze Age.  The sound generated are multi-dimensional ripples that swell into varying degrees of sound waves. What happens in a gong bath is that the person receiving (in a lying position)  is 'bathed' in the swelling sound vibrations, shifting brainwave activity from beta (normal state) to theta (meditative)  where deep healing takes place. The process is called entrainment where the sound frequency is the agent that produces the shift.

And now, four years after my first experience, I find myself starting a collection of  Paiste gongs - first, symphonic (24" and 34") and then, Mars (32") and recently, Earth (40") - and continuously undergoing training. For my kundalini yoga classes, I normally bring one gong with me and play the gong at the end of the class or at times, when I do special 'rebirthing' classes where the gong is played to clear emotional blockages.  I also hold longer, 45-minute gong bath sessions at the Third Eye Wellness Center every Wednesday evening and for a very special group every other Wednesday afternoon. At times, I do participate in public events and give gong baths.

at an outdoor yoga class hosted by Life

at SouLove Center

at the opening of Yoga+Express Legazpi

at the Global Mala event

integrating gong during my Kundalini Yoga class 

After undergoing eight days hands-on training with Mehtab, I now integrate the sound of the gong in my kundalini yoga classes and not just play it at the end or during special featured classes. One of my students, Natasha Rodriguez, remarked that the gong helps her concentrate better and encourages her do the poses more.  Mind you, in kundalini yoga, we hold the poses at times for more than a minute or two.

Gong Therapist certification
I'm also a  'Gong Therapist' and conduct one-on-one sessions (by appointment though).   During the session, the gong combined with the practices of yoga (i.e. breathing techniques, hand gestures) are used to create a healing environment and transformational experience.

One of my first clients said that she experienced loose bowel movement after the one-hour session. Imbalances in the body may cause accumulation of toxins in certain parts of the body. The sound helps move high vibration energy through the body, loosening, dislodging and flushing out these accumulated toxins which may come out either as loose bowel, skin rashes, etc.

It may take some time for sound healing to become mainstream here in the Philippines. Nevertheless, I'm hopeful that people will turn to sound as a complementary healing modality.  Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), the father of holistic medicine said that "Sound is the medicine of the future."  Even Rudolf Steiner, German philosopher said that "pure tones will be used for healing before the end of this century."


Monday, 26 December 2016

Why do we need to raise our vibration this 2017

Today is quite a special day and mind you, I'm not talking about Boxing Day which is celebrated in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries. I'm referring to the phenomenon referred to as the galactic superwave that's supposed to hit our planet today.  I'm reposting what I posted on a private group on Facebook regarding this phenomenon:

I actually stumbled upon this article last night about massive bursts of gamma rays that will impact our planet today (watch video).

My intent in sharing this article is not to instill fear but to emphasize the importance of raising your vibration.  I believe that this phenomenon - of taking down the old grid to bring humanity to higher dimensions of consciousness - is real.

Yogi Bhajan foresaw this and introduced Kundalini Yoga to the West despite all odds, to prepare his students for the Age of Aquarius. In his lecture in 1993, he said "Today we talk about the planet Earth, he seven plates of the Earth and the nine continents. Tomorrow, we will talk about the gamma globular earth planetary upper super magnetic galaxy of the Supreme, into the reality of the co-existing of sixty-two million elementary co-existents of a planet, which shall be in control. These are environments which you cannot even describe today. We are entering space. And within this type of age, we will cross the space. It shall happen whether you like it or not." 

The linked article's source is James Gilliland, the founder of ECETI.org who said “Some people are going to go into 4D, some are going to go into 5D. It just depends on your consciousness and where you’re at when these energies press in.”
Photo from @blooming_peace

Like Yogi Bhajan, he too advocates the importance of working on raising one's vibration. I've also mentioned  this in my kundalini yoga classes this 2016 that having five to six planets in retrograde is quite rare and is really asking us to transform, to change our ways.

I'm sharing Gilliland's five out of 12 ways to raise your vibration and will continue the rest in the next newsletter:
1. Meditate – many of the people who say they don’t have time to meditate will find time to watch TV. [He recommends not to watch TV).
2. Watch children playing – try to remember the fascination of experiencing things for the first time, or the innocence of childhood.
3. Exercise – as long as your able to do so, then go for a walk in nature and you’ll get two benefits at the same time!.
4. Forgive yourself and others – none of us are perfect and there are those who either have hurt us, or that we have hurt. Forgive them but also remember to forgive yourself.
5. Express gratitude – be grateful for the beauty that surrounds you, even if it’s a small tree in the middle of a big city. Be grateful for the meal you are about to eat and anything else that has been blessed to come into your life, including some of the negative things that ended up being wonderful life lessons that expanded your spiritual growth.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Diving into the Blue Ether with Kirantana Khalsa

Anahaw Farms, November 2016
(photo credit: Pia Casequin)
I felt like my soul took quite a trip last weekend at Lipa for "A Road to Enlightenment: Unleash Your True Self" immersion program with Master teacher Kirantana Khalsa. This strange photo taken on the third day of the immersion program seemed to capture that surreal and amazing journey tapping into what connects one with the world and beyond.

Last weekend was the first weekend of the first season of the immersion program called "Autumn Cycle". The program is divided into four seasons. And as in Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere where we see leaves falling from trees, this is the season to let go and release old negativity.

We learned how to create a sacred space by invoking the five elements based on the Tibetan dzogchen so we can safely meditate and access the deep realms of our subconscious.

If you see colors when you meditate, that means you are well along your journey. I must admit that I've been meditating for a long time, starting the hard core way with the 10-day Vipassana. It was only last weekend that I was made to understand what seeing colors meant.

Meditating on Dragon's Breath (photo credit: Gel Legaspi)

We were doing a meditation with the dragon breath for the second time and were tasked to focus. A million thoughts would stream in as usual as I sit and focused on the breath. More thoughts came in and as I wouldn't latch on to any, I started seeing a yellow goldish light infront of me. I could feel a tingly sensation descending upon the top of my head. My senses were heightened.  I could hear the wind blowing and feel it on my face. I could now feel the quiet miracles that Kirnatana was talking about when he quoted John O'Donhue "Take the time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention." Then the color changed to blue and I was transported up, floating beyond the atmosphere.

Photo credit: Pinterest
What is this Blue then? Kirantana calls this place the Blue Ether. He described the process as "We mapped the subconscious - the anger, the fear, every embarrassing admittance - and looked at it carefully. Then [we] shredded it from the brain itself and made an easier access to the Blue Ether where all is possible."

It is also referred to by mystics as the Blue Pearl or Blue Dot. Pranic Healing founder Master Choa Kok Sui referred to it as the Blue Pearl and says "The blue pearl is the 'seed of consciousness' or the mental permanent seed, found in the crown chakra, and located in the pineal gland. Through regular and prolonged meditation of the blue pearl, one gradually experiences one's true nature, which is called the "Buddha Nature' in Buddhism."

The Sikh's believe that the soul begins its journey into the realm of the Blue Ethers after death, specifically 17 days after, and that there are four levels before one experiences absolute and perfect Union of the Divine.  The first level is where the soul undergoes an assessment on how one did based on their purpose.. The soul has 17 days to complete the necessary lessons and if they are not completed, a spirit guide can be called upon to help. The second blue ether level makes way for deeper learning. As the lessons are completed, it is at this stage that one becomes a guide for other souls who need help.

The third level is the domain of the realized soul and can be accessed while alive through deep meditation. Yogi Bhajan said "What kind of body a man shall have, what kind of destiny and fate shall challenge it - is all performed at the stage called the third blue ether." This is the stage where the soul decides to reincarnate again to serve humanity or move onto the fourth level and just be Pure Radiance.

Kirantana says that the Blue Ether is "also the Christ and 1000 more times more compassionate." It is entering into this realm to become pure love and remembering that we are already generous, compassionate and kind.

Grounding with Chi Kung (photo credit: Gel Legaspi)
If you want to experience the Blue Ether and get to know more of your True Self, "A Road to Enlightenment" second weekend of the Autumn Cycle continues on December 2 to 4, 2016 and will touch on Soul Retrieval, Mapping of the Subconscious through the Six Chakras, Emptying the Negative from the Heart, Organ Smiling, Exorcism of Discursive Emotions.

I'm not promising that you'll start seeing colors when your sit and meditate or anything like the photo taken of me, but you will surely start peeling off your subconscious away and get through the layers of everything from the outside and hopefully, go down to the real you and maybe learn how to, as Kirantana drilled on us, "Live one day as a Lion than a hundred days as a sheep."