Scripture: A Shinto Prayer on Cleansing

Sweep the impurities from my being and purify my spirit;
Grant me protection; Grant me happiness;
Restore brightness to my soul and give me guidance.

A pure body, mind and spirit allows for the soul to grow.  I like the last line of this short prayer.  In just about every religion, we see references to Light, Brightness, or Fire in reference to the power or Grace of God that feeds our souls.


Creating a Sanctuary

    We all need a sanctuary.  A place where we can get away from the stress and strain of our everyday lives.  A place where we can go to be quite and relaxed.  A place where our mind can be quiet and our spirit can awaken.  Actually, most of us need two sanctuaries: one internal and one external.  
    Our external sanctuary can be indoors or outdoors.  Some people have both.  It should be a place where there are no reminders of the things that normally cause stress.  A minimally furnished room like a zen prayer room is a good example, but it doesn’t have to be that extreme.  It should be decorated in pleasant, soft colors with limited distractions.  Artworks, if any, should be mostly photos or paintings of relaxing scenes of nature.  An outdoor sanctuary is a little easier.  just a bench in a pleasant garden is all you need.  Of course, in many places you don’t want to sit outdoors year round, so you may need an indoor sanctuary as well.
    Your internal sanctuary is not so much something you create as it’s something you discover.  It’s a place inside you where your mind is quiet and you can commune with the Light Beings of the spiritual worlds.  Finding this place is not always easy, but worth the effort and God will help if you ask.
    There are also group sanctuaries where like-minded people can go together to work on their spiritual growth like the one we have at Redrock  near Reno, Nevada.


Take a Walk

    Taking a walk is good exercise, but it can be a lot more.  Walking can relieve stress, help you relax and forget the things that are bothering you, and help you discover things about your neighborhood and the people in it that you didn’t know.  
    Author Sark recommends heading out with no planned destination.  While you may not be able to do that all of the time, it is a good way to experience something new.  Just head out and when you get to an intersection or a fork, just feel what is the right way to turn at that moment.  Of course, you don’t want to get lost, so be careful not to wander too far.  As you walk, try to avid focussing too much on individual things and instead take in everything that is going on around you, all the sights, sounds and smells.  We have a tendency to focus on a few things and miss a lot because of it.  
    Walking also gives you a good opportunity to share energy with other living things.  When you pass a tree, just put your open hand close to the leaves and send it energy and ask it to share it’s energy with you.  Share energy with the dogs, cats or other animals you see.  And, of course, send loving energy to the people you pass.  
    When I move into a new place, one of the first things I do is take a walk around the neighborhood.  It’s the best way, I think, to learn what the area is like.
    If your walking alone, take precautions.  Unfortunately today, even in rural areas where you think nothing ever happens, it does so carry pepper spray or a portable alarm. 


Gems and Crystals: Cinnabar Quartz

    Cinnabar Quartz is actually two kinds of crystals together.  It is chunks of quartz in which are imbedded cinnabar crystals.  It comes from Arizona where it is sometimes called “blood of the mountain”.  Cinnabar is a dark red, or sometimes brownish red crystal so it stimulates primarily the lower energy centers, particularly the root chakra.  Quartz is white or clear and stimulates mostly the higher energy centers, primarily the crown chakra.  Because cinnabar quartz is stimulating energy centers at both ends of the spine, it aids in getting energy flowing through all of the centers. 
    Cinnabar quartz helps us to align our personal will with the Divine will of God.  It aids in spiritual transformation.  It can also help increase mental agility and clear thinking.  It is associated with the god Mercury so is said to speed up changes, especially learning and spiritual transformation.  It can help awaken insight and psychic abilities.  It helps you adapt to changing situations and a constantly changing world.  It helps awaken “heart consciousness” and allows the heart and brain to work together. 
    On the physical side, cinnabar is a blood purifier and, according to tradition,  gives strength to the physical body.  It will make it easier for you to control your weight and stick to an exercise program.  It is also said to be a stone of wealth and prosperity that brings abundance.

Note: Cinnabar contains mercury so should not be handled often and should be kept away from children.