Experiencing Greater Self-Love

DTK8G8 Woman making heart-shape with hands outdoors. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.

by Lee Wolak

To determine the origin of our motivations in life, we might ask what our life centers on. We may be a parent that pours everything into the family; a dutiful son or daughter that always puts our parents first; someone that often put the needs of our friends before our own; or a person that plays small at work so they don’t rock the boat with coworkers and bosses.

If so, then the question is why we do that—intention behind what we do—because it makes all the difference between living from our values and living in obligation to something outside of ourselves. When we determine our purpose and values, we set ourselves free from others.

It sounds simple enough, but we really have to do the work to make that happen. When we do determine our purpose, figure out what we really value and live from that mindset in everything we do, we’ll have the freedom to no longer care what others think. That is key. To paraphrase Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements:

  • Be impeccable with your word. This is difficult to do until we figure out our values and purpose. Once we do, we can align our words and actions with our purpose. It becomes easy to say no to those requests that do not support our highest values.
  • Never make assumptions. We never know what the other person is going to think, so we just live from our values and be true to who we are. The other people shouldn’t determine that for us.
  • Always do your best. Self-loving is about being the best person that we can be.
  • Never take anything personally. The only time we take things personally is when we’re not authentic; not true to our values or our purpose.

If we try to change to meet someone else’s idea of who and what we should be, the main questions is what we are going to change into. When we feel that we have to change, we’re not being true to who we are and we lose ourselves. This is when depression, anxiety and addiction can come into play because we don’t know where else to turn.

When we live authentically from our values and live with purpose, our whole world opens up. There may be others, even family and friends, that judge us, criticize us or expect us to act and live a certain way that’s comfortable for them. But they aren’t the ones living our life; we are. Only we have the power to determine how we live and who we live for. Focusing on our values and purpose sets us free from subordinating ourselves to the wills and ideals of others. That is living authentically and that is self-love.

Rev. Lee Wolak heads the Agape Center for Spiritual Living in Frisco. They meet every Sun. for Celebration Services and Wed. for meditation. For more information, call 972- 468-1331 or visit AgapeCSL.com.

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Bruce Lipton on the Epigenetics Revolution

Our Beliefs Reprogram Our Genetic Destiny

Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., author of The Biology of Belief and The Honeymoon Effect, is a stem cell biologist and internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit. He is a visiting fellow lecturer on immunology at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and participated in the Foundation for Conscious Evolution’s seventh Worldwide Meeting on Human Values, in Mexico. His research explains the interplay between individual consciousness and body biology.

Why do you start with epigenetics as a foundation for health?

Many people, programmed with the concept of genetic determinism, believe that genes in the fertilized egg at conception determine character and fate. Unable to pick our DNA genes, we are powerless to control our life, so that the only option is seeking help from someone in the biomedical community to fix our genes.

I introduced a new vision about the understanding of genes a half-century ago that is now the new science of epigenetics. Epimeans “above”. Here, we can realize control by regulating the environment in which we live and our perception of it, making us the master of our own genetics rather than a victim of heredity.

Do you believe epigenetics is the future of medicine?

Epigenetics is a revolution in our knowledge and awareness of heredity. This new concept of biology is so big that it promises radical change capable of revolutionizing civilization. Its dynamics are equivalent to the leap from Newtonian physics to quantum physics, which led to everything from computers and cell phones to Martian rovers. We are freed to abandon the belief that genes cause cancer, for instance. In changing our lifestyle, beliefs and perceptions, we also change our genetic expression.



Inside the Chant with Krishna Das

Kirtan Music Transports Listeners to a Deeper Place


Influential spiritual leader Ram Dass has described Krishna Das (Jeffrey Kagel) as an example of someone whose “heartsongs” open channels to God. The Grammy-nominated kirtan artist, long considered yoga’s rock star, consistently plays to sold-out crowds worldwide. The Long Island native’s journey has gone from being a member of a popular rock band to going to India, where as a student of spiritual leader Neem Karoli Baba, the trajectory of his life and music shifted and expanded.

His 1996 debut album, One Track Heart, focused on updated chants from the ancient tradition of bhakti yoga, followed in 1998 byPilgrim Heart, with a guest appearance by Sting. Since then, a steady stream of 14 albums and DVDs produced on his own label have provided the soundtrack for yoga classes everywhere; the soothing rhythmic chants performed in a deep, rich timbre complements instruction in the spiritual element of the exercise.

Das’ specialty, kirtan, updates an ancient tradition of devotional chanting as meditation accompanied by instruments. A kirtan concert invites audience members to join in the experience through chanting, clapping and dancing and is characterized as a journey into the self that also connects us with each other.

How would you introduce your music?

Across the country and around the world, yoga practitioners are chanting the names of God in tongues including Sanskrit, Hindi, Punjabi and English. They’re taking kirtan music out of the temples and the yoga studios and into dance halls, universities, cathedrals and other unexpected places.

In the last decade, India’s traditional call-and-response form of chanting has been reinvented by modern devotional artists blending traditional kirtan with modern genres such as rock, rhythm and blues, hip-hop and electronica—breathing new life and devotion into yoga’s sacred chants.



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