Mantras are powerful—so powerful and potentially destructive, in fact, that it makes sense to notice which ones we’ve embedded in our psyches. A lot of mantras are so ingrained that we don’t even realize they’re there, replaying themselves over and over in our heads, creating a rut and defining who we are. I’m talking about mantras like “I am not enough,” or “Nothing ever works out for me,” or “She is smarter,” or even, “I can’t do yoga because my mind is all over the place and I am not flexible and I don’t have time.”
Embodiment is, by definition, a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling. Disembodiment is to feel the soul, spirit, or purpose exit from the body. As a person, we tend not to excel at embodiment. We tend to be walking around not as full, embodied, whole versions of ourselves but rather as a bunch of disembodied parts. What this looks like is the favoring of one certain aspect of our being that tends to be in the command post for living, all the while leaving the rest of ourselves out of the equation.
“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life, but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.” -Donna Farhi
In a recent study conducted by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin demonstrated that a short program of brain training can produce positive effects in both adapting to stress and improving immune functions. Even months after a brain training regimen has been completed, there is a noticeable positive impact on how the brain handles negative stimulus and how the body produces antibodies.
Our lives are constantly changing with ebbs and flows of happiness sadness, anger, confusion, and elation. Sometimes it can all seem too overwhelming to handle, so how do we find contentment and stay our course when our lives are full of chaos?
In the middle of 2013 I met Julia, who told me a story about a voice that woke her in the middle of the night. She wasn’t scared when it asked her, “Do you want me to heal your heart?” Julia had had a congenital heart problem since she was a child. Now pregnant, this heart problem rendered a natural childbirth unsafe for her as well as her child. So when the voice asked her, “Do you want me to heal your heart?” Julia said “yes” without hesitation.
It all starts with a simple discussion. The next thing you know, you’re off to the Amazon rainforest in South America, drinking tea made from a psychoactive plant and taking part in an ancient ceremony intended to heal and open the realms of consciousness.
That’s what happened to filmmaker Michael Wiese as he was searching for a cure after being confronted with a serious disease. Michael realized the universe was co-conspiring to aid in his mission, and soon he, his wife and his translator were off, embarking on a mysterious and deeply personal adventure.
The Shaman and Ayahuasca on GaiamTV.com follows these three on a thought-provoking journey, providing unique personal perspectives, majestic and stunning visuals of Peruvian surroundings, and wisdom from a famed shaman. It also piques the viewer’s curiosity: What does this psychoactive elixir taste like? How does it feel to be whisked away to other realms and connected to the cosmos? How does it feel to return to reality? Here are a few of the most intriguing and eye-opening moments from this fascinating documentary:
The feature film for December is The Letter Writer, written and directed by Christian Vuissa. It is a story about connection across generations as a teenage girl learns a valuable lesson from her mentor, a man at the end of a long life.