"Chanting is an especially potent [devotional] practice because it brings energy (might) to the heart (love) and directs the attention completely (with all thy soul) on God. In my years of leading meditation groups, I have found that chanting effectively helps people get past their heads and into their hearts. Even persons with no spiritual leaning have reveled in the alluring aura generate by chanting. When practiced deeply, devotional chanting can induce a kind of intoxication similar to that which Jesus's disciples felt when toughed by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: Your energy gets elevated to a divine plane, and you simply get drunk on the love of God! (page 95)
"Another form of devotional practice involves using prayer beads of the rosary -- whatever fits your tradition. The idea is to pass these beads between your fingers one at a time while reciting a mantra or prayer. Like anything else, it can either be an empty gesture or have inner value, depending on the quality of your attention and intention. One story tells of a woman who complained to a Hindu saint that prayer beads were ineffective: She had been using hers for years with no result. Discreetly observing her over time, he noticed that her attention was on everything else but God, so naturally her mechanical prayers would not bear fruit. The same can be said for any superficial spiritual practice. We could be in heaven but miss its glories if inattentive. With right determination and devotion, however, nothing can keep us from Spirit. Loving thought of God invites his company, and that can be done anywhere, anytime.
"The love of God opens mental and emotional channels that keep us in tune with Spirit because Spirit is love. The Divine is omnipresent, and remembrance of God is a doorway to his presence. 'Be thou diligent in performing actions in the thought of Me. Even by engaging in activities on My behalf thou shalt attain supreme divine success.' When thinking of and loving God, our vibrational field is raised. Ordinary persons may notice this rise by feeling joyfully inspired. Those steeped in divine ardor may experience spiritual ecstasy or, in the case of the Christian mystic Brother Lawrence, can levitate. When divinely enraptured, Brother Lawrence rose off the earth; his fellow monks, being ever practical, put him on refectory duty so the ceiling would keep him from floating away. Heaven, it seems, manifests whenever the head and heart are absorbed in God." (page 96)
"A principal feature with breathing exercises is that mental states respond to the depth, rhythm, and retention of breath. Regulated breathing balances energy movements through the brain hemispheres, causing a tonic effect that enhances nervous and immune system functions. Associated benefits include resistance to stress and disease, plus elevated mood, calmness, focus, and creativity. Even a little done daily is beneficial.
Exercise 1: Centering Breath
This exercise is a cornerstone for stress management and can be done anywhere, anytime -- at home, driving (with eyes open!), or at work. It helps us to be present and turn within for meditation when desired. In fact, many and spiritual traditions use centered breathing in conjunction with prayer or guided imagery to enhance inner experiences.
- Sit in a comfortable position with body relaxed and spine straight. You may also lie down if circumstances allow, but it is often easier to remain awake and alert when sitting upright.
- Close your eyes and mentally focus on the breath.
- Clasp the hands together, placing them gently on the stomach.
- Inhale deeply and slowly through the nose. Let the belly expand. Imagine drawing an elixir of calmness directly into the body and brain.
- Exhale slowly and fully through the nose. Allow the belly to release. With each exhalation, let go of all mental worries and physical tension. Experience a sense of increasing physical heaviness. Retreat within and drop awareness of the body. Enjoy being interiorized inside the bodily shell.
- Repeat the inhalation and exhalation process smoothly and continuously.
- If the mind wanders, return it to observing the breath.
- Do not try too hard or judge yourself. This is not contest.
- Practice 5 to 10 minutes.
- When finished, inhale fully and gently return to normal." (pages 160 - 162)
"Use of sound frequencies deliberately exercised for spiritual purposes is rarely employed in the West outside of Wiccan or indigenous traditions....
"Use of this mantra requires that it be repeated in conjunction with breath..."