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Hermetic Principles: 7 Keys to Self-Mastery

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The universe runs on natural laws. The hermetic principles refer to knowledge of these laws as passed down by the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus. When you can understand hermetic principles you can learn from them and use them to experience more happiness, meaning, and control over your life.

Consider this article as a brief introduction to hermetic philosophy and the 7 hermetic principles. I hope it will raise more interest in you to study the hermetic tradition and hermetic principles deeper.

The Doctrine Of The Universal Laws

Hermetic philosophy as the doctrine of the higher universal laws came to the occult traditions of various peoples from Ancient Egypt, in particular in Chaldean astronomy, ancient Greek philosophy, Persian magic, and alchemy.

The founder of this doctrine is considered one of the great mystics of Egypt, the Master of Masters, the father of Occult wisdom, the founder of Astrology, Alchemy and the Tarot system, revered as the God of wisdom Thoth, – Hermes Trismegistus. There is also a belief that he was one of the Atlanteans.

Hermes Trismegistus is credited with 42 treatises containing all the wisdom of the Universe. However, almost all of them were burned in the library of Alexandria, except for two: “Asclepius” and “The Emerald Tablet“.

Hermetic Texts

The Corpus Hermeticum Image

The entire hermetic philosophy is covered in three main hermetic texts:

  1. The Corpus Hermeticum is the most widely known Hermetic text. It contains dialogues between Hermes Trismegistus and a series of other men. The first chapter contains a dialogue between Poimandres (who is identified as God) and Hermes. In this Hermetic text, Poimandres tells Hermes the secrets of the universe.
  2. The Emerald Tablet refers to the three parts of the wisdom of the whole universe. It was found by Alexander the Great at Hebron, supposedly in the tomb of Hermes.
  3. The Perfect Sermon was written in the 2nd or 3rd century AD and is a Hermetic work similar in content to The Corpus Hermeticum.

Other important Hermetic texts include:

  • the Discourses of Isis to Horus;
  • the Definitions of Hermes to Asclepius;
  • the Kybalion: Hermetic Philosophy (the book that describes essential Hermetic principles);
  • a Suggestive Inquiry into Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy.

Hermeticism

Hermetism Image

The hermetic tradition represents a non-Christian lineage of Gnosticism, which is the name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems dating back to the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D.

Hermeticism is a school of systems and ideas that focuses on the pursuit of Gnosis – the pursuit of empirical knowledge pertaining to spiritual mysteries.

Hermeticism is based on the belief in a Single transcendent Mind. Everything that exists in the Universe is a part of that Transcendent mind.

According to hermetic teaching, everything acts according to the law of analogy, because everything is one Higher Consciousness. But any movement of life is an interaction of dualities. Two dualities, which are two sides of the One, create an infinite number of proportions and probabilities in the creative process. And this makes a choice possible. Making a choice, the soul weaves its fate, chooses its path. Everyone’s path is unique. But all paths lead to a single divine source, which is the beginning of creation.

After centuries of neglect, Hermeticism was revived in the West in 1460, when a monk named Leonardo, who was one of the many agents sent by Cosimo de ‘ Medici to search for ancient manuscripts lost in European monasteries, brought to Pistoia copies of hermetic treatises in Greek, taken from Constantinople. Subsequently, these treatises, translated into Latin in 1461 by Marsilio Ficino, contributed to the outbreak of interest in Hermeticism in the Renaissance and formed The Corpus Hermeticum.

In 1614, the Swiss philologist Isaac de Casaubon, after analyzing the hermetic texts in terms of content, textual connection with other texts, and language, came to the conclusion that the hermetic works attributed to Hermes Trismegistus were not the works of an ancient Egyptian priest, but were actually written already during the Christian era.

In 1945, hermetic writings written in Coptic were found near Nag Hammadi. They were arranged in the form of a talk between Hermes and Asclepius from the Corpus Hermeticum and a text describing the mystical school of Hermeticism.

Not all Hermetists were concerned with religion; some of them considered only the philosophical system of Hermeticism.

In hermetic religion, the Supreme deity or Principle is called God, the One, or the All. Many Hermeticists also ranked their faith and the mystical ideas of other religions, such as Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and the mainline of paganism, because they held the view that all great religions have a common heart, are similar in their mystical truths, and contain a share of understanding of the seven hermetic principles.

The 7 Hermetic principles are:

  1. The Principle Of Mentalism
  2. The Principle Of Correspondence
  3. The Principle Of Vibration
  4. The Principle Of Polarity
  5. The Principle Of Rhythm
  6. The principle of Cause and Effect
  7. The Principle Of Gender

Who is Hermes Trismegistus?

Hermes Trismegistus Image

“Master of all arts and sciences, perfect in all crafts, Ruler of the Three Worlds, Scribe of the Gods, and Keeper of the Books of Life, Thoth Hermes Trismegistus — the Three Times Greatest, the “First Intelligencer” — was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as the embodiment of the Universal Mind. While in all probability there actually existed a great sage and educator by the name of Hermes, it is impossible to extricate the historical man from the mass of legendary accounts which attempt to identify him with the Cosmic Principle of Thought.”

Manly P. Hall — The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Hermes Trismegistus is the name of a syncretic deity that combines the features of the ancient Egyptian God of wisdom and writing, Thoth, and the ancient Greek God Hermes, who were both gods of writing and magic in their respective cultures. He is the purported author of the Emerald Tablet and the Corpus Hermeticum.

Hermes was credited with tens of thousands of highly esteemed writings, from both Egypt and Greece. While the Italian Renaissance believed Hermes to be an Egyptian Priest, it is possible the Corpus Hermetica was actually written collectively by unknown authors who were Platonistic and Stoic Greeks.

Thus it’s still a mystery if Hermes actually existed and if there was a link between the Greek God Hermes and the Egyptian God Thoth and the connection between Greek and Egyptian culture. However, what we can be certain of, is that the Hermetic principles held immense value for these ancient cultures, whoever their author (or authors) may be. 

The Kybalion

Kybalion Image

As I mentioned above, the Kybalion is a collection of the main hermetic principles which are transmitted from the Teacher to his student.

The “Three Initiates” who wrote the Kybalion wished to remain anonymous, which led to much speculation about the authorship of this work.

It is generally assumed that the author of the Kybalion is William Walker Atkinson, who wrote this text independently without assistance. Atkinson was known for using numerous pseudonyms for his published works. He was also the owner of the publishing house “Yogi Publication Society”, which published Kybalion.

According to one theory, Atkinson co-wrote with Paul Foster Case and Michael Whitty.

Other possible co-authors of the Kybalion include Harriet Case (the wife of Paul Foster Case), Ann Davies, Mabel Collins (theosophist writer), and Claude Bragdon (architect, theosophist). However, given how prolific Atkinson was as a writer, it is doubtful that he needed any co-authorship.

Mental Transmutation

The Kybalion describes mental transmutation, which is also known as spiritual alchemy, the art of spiritual chemistry, and the art of polarization.

Hermetic Alchemy is the mutual conversion of spiritual vibrations of one type into others — the transmutation of the spirit. This process affects absolutely all objects in the Universe and follows seven hermetic principles. So now let’s take a closer look at these seven hermetic principles!

Hermetic Principles

Principle #1: The Principle of Mentalism

“The Universe is Mental – held in the Mind of THE ALL.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principles mentalism image

This principle states that everything is mental in nature.

Everything that exists is intelligent, even that which we cannot understand. But it is not rational in itself but is a part and product of the vital activity of the One Mind, some eternal and unchanging entity, the Absolute, or simply the spirit. The universe is just a mental image of this Absolute, it is present in every part of the Universe. However, the Absolute doesn’t identify itself with the Universe. This is a manifestation of the immanence of the spirit.

Similarly, a person creating a mental image creates his own Universe, filling it completely with his presence, but not identifying himself with it. Man is both a Creator and the one who lives directly in his thoughts, just like the Absolute. This seems a paradox, but only to the limited human mind.

And just as we can suddenly stop thinking about something, so for the absolute, the creation and destruction of any Universe is a matter of a moment.

In other words, everything in the universe is created by thought or mind. There is nothing that exists in the material world where this is not the case.

The essence of anything that is physically created is mental because the essence of everything is mind. Our actions arise from our thoughts even if some of them are on a subconscious level.

Edgar Cayce says “thoughts are things.” When we have the right thoughts, the right actions will follow.

“He who grasps the truth of the Mental Nature of the Universe is well advanced on The Path to Mastery.”

– The Kybalion

If all that exists is thought, then it is possible and more productive to interact with this “all” with thought. Which, if you think about it, opens up endless possibilities.

The entire universe was created by the thought of God. And the same is true for us, we create our reality both metaphysically and physically by the power of our own thoughts. Yes, it is our thoughts that create our reality!

Principle #2: The Principle of Correspondence

“As above, so below; as below, so above.”

The Kybalion
Hermetic Principles Correspondence Image

This principle is a universal law used in Hermeticism to understand all the unknown and inaccessible, to know the hidden laws of the Universe.

According to this principle, the macrocosm is a reflection of the microcosm and vice versa. 

To solve complex paradoxes, we look at what is above us (a macro level) and below us (a micro-level). What works for the planets also works for the atoms. And what works for the solar system and atomic system also works for the human system.

According to the Hermetic Philosophy, the Universe is divided into the Three Great Planes:

  1. The Great Physical Plane;
  2. The Great Mental Plane;
  3. The Great Spiritual Plane.

The classification of the planes of the Universe is conditional and based on the different frequency of its vibrations. It is also important to understand that all planes mutually penetrate each other and do not have absolute isolation. All these planes work in correspondence with one another.

Grasping this principle is what allows us to deduce the hidden solutions to problems by looking at what exists a layer above, and below the problem, to infer the pattern and shadow nature of what is in-between.

By observing the Principle of Correspondence, we can come to know the whole of the Universe by exploring the higher and lower nature of things. And likewise, discover more of ourselves, by experiencing and studying the world we are integrally a part of.

Principle #3: The Principle of Vibration

“Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principle of vibration image

This hermetic principle embodies the truth that Motion is manifest in everything in the Universe – that nothing is at rest – that everything moves, vibrates, and circles. All of life is vibrations at different frequencies.

Some vibrate slower and others vibrate at a high frequency. Higher frequency vibrations are in the realm of the unseen while lower frequency vibrations reside in the physical world where our sights can translate the “visible light.”

We either vibrate at a state of harmony or a state of chaos. But the good news is this is within our control!

Our thoughts have their own rate of vibration and we can control them like tuning an instrument. As our understanding of vibration, frequency, harmony, and resonance increase, so too shall our power over ourselves and our reality!

Every atom is a micro-universe within every molecule of our physical bodies. Our thoughts manifest our feelings, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, health, energy, and ultimately what we attract in our lives. Energy follows thought!

Therefore our ultimate goal should be a creation of such a vibration that is determined by our Higher Selves, rather than by manipulations of our egos. 

Principle #4: The Principle Of Polarity

“Everything is dual; Everything has poles; Everything has its pair of opposites; Like and unlike are the same; Opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; Extremes meet; All truths, are but half-truths; All paradoxes may be reconciled.”

The Kybalion
Principle Of Polarity Image

Everything that exists has two opposite aspects, and what seems to be the exact opposite is actually the extremes of the same thing — the line of polarity. For example, heat-cold, light-dark, heavy-light, gift-curse, love-hate, good-evil, laughter-tears, etc. Between these poles, there is a great variety of gradations of the same nature, which explains the incomprehensible diversity of all states of existence.

For Hermeticists, the norm is free movement along any line of polarity, that is, the transition from one qualitative state to another which is considered mental transmutation.

One state of mind can be turned into another (as metals and elements can be turned into each other); one degree of mind can be turned into another; one condition of its manifestation can be turned into another; one pole can be turned into another; one mental vibration can be turned into another.

This principle is very important because it suggests we can change the polarity of a degree of emotion, by recognizing it and choosing the degree which best suits our needs.

Usually, these transitions from positive to negative emotions, happen unconsciously in an ordinary person’s mind. However, by applying the principle of polarity, we can consciously choose to experience these transitions by using our willpower for the betterment of our own lives and the lives of others.

For doing this, we have to realize that the difference is not a hurdle to be surmounted, but two expressions of the same thing, differing only in degree, that can be consciously chosen. This practice is the essence of the art of Mental Alchemy.

The alchemists of the middle ages were preoccupied with transforming base metals into gold. However, the real meaning of this seems to come from the knowledge of changing base thoughts and emotions into “spiritual gold” or higher energies. We just need to polarize our consciousness and life vibration differently since they are all varying degrees of the same thing.

For a deeper understanding of this principle, read our article “SOLANCHA: The Law of Harmony and BaLANce“.

Principle #5: The Principle of Rhythm

“Everything flows, out and in; Everything has its tides; All things rise and fall; The pendulum swing manifests in everything; The measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the left; Rhythm compensates.”

The Kybalion
Hermetic Principle of Rhythm Image

What flows in must flow out. What swings forward will swing back again. And what goes up must come down.

Science expresses this principle by the formula F = – F.

There are many examples of the principle of rhythm: the change of seasons, day and night, moods, life and death, incarnations, epochs, the rise and fall of civilizations, etc. In addition, Karma itself follows this hermetic principle.

Hermeticism believes that you can not escape from the action of the Pendulum or interrupt its movement, but its impact can be compensated. The person concentrates himself at a certain desirable resting point and then compensates for the movement of the Pendulum in both directions.

Some people do this unconsciously when, for example, they are trying to overcome stress or change their mood. But the possession of this principle consciously allows you to balance yourself and others, as well as various events in your own and other people’s lives. It is believed that it is even possible to balance the whole nation on a global scale.

The balance is the key! You see if you enjoy the fruits of the highest highs, you won’t be able to avoid the destruction of the lowest lows. You can try to neutralize it to a degree. And that degree depends on your understanding and application of the Hermetic Principles. Then you will be able to enjoy “the rise” and neutralize “the falling”.

“Nothing stands still – everything is being born, growing, dying – the very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline – the law of rhythm is in constant operations.”

The Kybalion

The hermeticists apply the law of neutralization to their consciousness. They learn how to use this principle instead of being used by it. They do this by the use of will and detachment to create a state of consciousness that is not swung forward or backward like a pendulum. 

Most people live on a mental and emotional roller coaster. This creates disbalance which makes the Pendulum swing. As a result, people see life as an alternation of good and bad events.

The hermeticist’s goal is to attain a state of consciousness of inner peace, divine indifference, even-mindedness, and bliss.

The idea is to stay even-minded, whether you experience joy or sorrow, whether you receive compliments or criticism, whether you feel pleasure or pain, whether you are sick or healthy, whether you win or lose, etc.

Divine detachment is a point of neutrality that is not caught up in the pendulum swing between the polarities. Instead of seeing a situation as good or bad allow your conscious to have a detached and higher view from a consciousness perspective. This is how duality becomes transcended.

All the suffering that humanity experiences come from their attachments or misplaced points of view.

Principle #6: The Principle of Cause and Effect (Causation)

“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its cause; Everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the law.”

The Kybalion
The Principle of Cause and Effect Image

Simply put, nothing happens for no reason, and that there is no such thing as ‘chance.’ Nothing happens without explanation.

All known science, in particular almost all classical physics, is built and developed on the laws of cause and effect. This regularity has also been widely studied in philosophy, which completely excludes any probability of chance.

However, the Hermetists believe that it is possible to master this principle if you learn to control the causes, and therefore their effects. This becomes possible if you subordinate the causality of higher planes in order to influence the effects on your own plane.

If you want to experience the empowering impact of this principle, try to make the conscious choice to rise above the plane of thought you currently occupy to become your own Cause, and not just an Effect of others and the situations you find yourself in. In other words, instead of reacting to circumstances, make a conscious choice of what thoughts you fill your mind in. Rise to a higher plane of consciousness and take your rightful place as a master instead of a victim, and focus on causes instead of effects.

It seems like this might be an essential step for everyone who wants to be happy – to become a master and drop a victim mask. The difference between a master and a victim is that a master takes responsibility for all good and bad events in his life whereas a victim denies it.

The average person in this world is an effect, not a cause. They are victims of their own thoughts, emotions, feelings, moods, opinions, biorhythms, other people, past lives, subconscious programming, the weather, illusion, astrological influences, disincarnate spirits, fantasies, the environment, etc. In fact, the average person can always find something or someone to blame for. This victim mentality leads to constant suffering and the lifestyle of a prisoner of destiny, fate, circumstances, etc.

On the contrary, the Master rises above all the “circumstances” and has a great deal of mastery over these things.

The basic cause of our life is the thoughts and images we hold in our conscious and subconscious mind. By learning to be utterly watchful and only allowing the thoughts that serve us, we are able to create the desired reality (both inwardly and outwardly).

Yes, in fact, our thoughts cause our reality. Our thinking must be submissive to our spirit, instead of our ego.

If you are not a master, you are a victim. This is the law of polarity.

We need to learn how to gain mastery over our mind, which will lead to mastery over our emotions and desires.

Principle #7: The Principle of Gender

“Gender is in everything; Everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes.”

The Kybalion
hermetic principle of gender image

This hermetic principle embodies the fact that both the masculine (active) and feminine (passive) exist in all things. Not just in sex, but in the creative nature of all things, on all planes. The masculine and feminine exist not only in the physical plane but also in the mental and the spiritual. 

The masculine is the penetrative, progressive, assertive, and explorative energy that drives progress. The feminine is the receptive, treasured, sacred, protective energy, that maintains tradition and nourishing that which is most essential to life.

The types of correspondence between the two beginnings traditionally include man and woman, logic and intuition, Sun and Moon, microcosm and macrocosm.

Too much masculine energy brings imbalance and leads to a growth of power to the extreme of reckless abandon. As a result, we lose perspective of what is most important and disconnect with our intuitive side. 

Too much feminine energy also creates disharmony and leads to a life deeply grounded in the present. As a result, our lives are missing the perspective and become determined by the cycles and external circumstances out of our favor.

On the physical plane, each of us has a male or female physical body. However psychologically each of us is androgynous with male and female qualities. Each of us has a left brain and right brain.

In science, this principle has been confirmed in the electronic theory of matter – just remember the structure of the atom of matter. In fact, the same applies to all planes.

This hermetic principle is aimed not only at structuring everything that exists, but also at the process of creativity and recreation. For example, regarding the structure of human consciousness, this principle is manifested in the duality of levels of mind – consciousness (active) and subconsciousness (passive).

The path of balancing the masculine and feminine aspects within self and also balancing the heavenly and earthly aspects within the self is the path that Buddha called “the Middle way”. True progress is possible through the balancing of the two energies of Gender in oneself, relationships, life events, and the environment.

To choose the “Middle way” between the present-oriented feminine and future-driven masculine and seek balance in all things, is the key to using all the 7 hermetic principles to full effect. This is how lasting self-mastery is achieved.

The Bottom Line

7 Hermetic Principles Image

Hermeticism is a synthesis of religion, philosophy, and science. Perhaps one day it will serve as a base for a new, even more grandiose synthesis – harmonious and integral teaching, built on the entire set of experimental data obtained by mankind. This reconciliation of faith with knowledge, religion with philosophy and science, an ancient humanistic worldview with Christian mysticism, or, symbolically speaking, the cross with the Rose, was the original dream of the Rosicrucian Order that emerged in the middle ages, being the spiritual heir of ancient hermetic and Eastern wisdom, on the one hand, and Gnostic Christianity of the first centuries, on the other.

No matter what your religious or spiritual view is, these 7 hermetic principles suit any spiritual path and help to expand consciousness to see a greater Universal truth that is a basis of many spiritual teaching and religions. Study them, meditate on them, and apply them to your life. Very soon you will start seeing the world you live in from another angle and discover the creative divine potential within yourself!


Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Santosha: The Art Of Being Satisfied With Your Life

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Santosha Image

In one of the shlokas of the Yoga sutras, the secret of happiness is given: “From contentment, unsurpassed happiness is gained.” This Sloka is dedicated to Santosha (the second principle of Niyama). Its meaning is very simple: contentment is the key that unlocks the possibility of enduring happiness. In this article, I want to introduce you to Santosha and share with you how you can start practicing it today!

Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a collection of 196 Sanskrit sutras on the theory and practice of yoga. It describes the goals of yoga and the principles of techniques needed to achieve them.

The two first stages that the Sutras describe are the principles of Yama and Niyama.

Yama is a set of ethical norms that teach us to communicate with others in the right way.

There are five Yamas:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint.
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.

Niyama is the step of forming self-discipline and uplifting spirituality.

Five Niyamas are:

  1. Saucha (शौच): purity, clearness of mind, speech, and body.
  2. Santosha (सन्तोष): contentment, acceptance of others, and of one’s circumstances as they are, optimism for self.
  3. Tapas (तपस): austerity, self-discipline, persistent meditation, perseverance.
  4. Svadhyaya (स्वाध्याय): the study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches, and actions.
  5. Isvarapranidhana (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), attunement to the supreme consciousness.

All these principles are interdependent. If you break one of the Yamas or Niyamas, you are bound to break the others. And if you improve in the practice of one principle, then the practice of other yamas and niyamas will also be improved.

For example, if you violate Satya by allowing yourself to lie, you will not be able to practice Ahimsa. Or if you do not observe the principle of Saucha and pollute your body and mind, it will be difficult for you to practice Brahmacharya.

What Is Santosha?

What Is Santosha Image

From Sanskrit, “santosha” is translated as “contentment, satisfaction“.

The best definition of Santosha is given by Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. He said that it means to remain calm and contented, accepting all the sorrows and pleasures caused by events in connection with the change of time and place.

Santosha is a kind of starting point, because yoga begins with accepting yourself as you are. Santosha requires simply accepting the fact that you are not worse or better than others, and the life circumstances you are dealing with at the moment are perfect for your development.

When we are jealous and think that we don’t have enough, we lose our vital energy. Oppositely, acceptance and satisfaction with what we have gives us energy, removes mental tension, and helps us to focus on internal work instead of external expressions of success. The real Santosha always comes from within, not from external factors.

We all need to understand that being a human is a huge gift from God. Once you truly understand this, you will have no choice rather than enjoying every moment of your life. Every moment of life is precious. And when we are able to realize this, we become happy and joy becomes a normal state for us.

Santosha is happiness that comes from within. It is not about having something but about being happy with what you have. Once you are satisfied, half your stress will disappear and half your illusions will go away.

Whether we are rich or poor, whether fortune smiles on us or not, whether we are famous or unrecognized, we should never feel discouraged.

When you practice Santosha, you accept the world around you and you also accept yourself.

Santosha And Other Principles

If you practice Santosha diligently, then all the other yamas and niyamas will also be covered by you.

When you accept your body, when you are satisfied with your limit of flexibility (Santosha), you will not break Ahimsa by trying to harm yourself.

You will have to be honest with yourself to accept yourself, and this is Asteya.

If you practice Santosha, you will not violate the Ahimsa in relation to other people, because you will not want to try to change someone (even with the best intentions), you will accept any person as they are.

You will not be dominated by lust and passion, because it is enough for you that God has already given you, and this is the fulfillment of Brahmacharya.

By accepting your financial situation, you will not envy the achievements of other people and their prosperity, and therefore, you will perform Aparigraha.

If you accept with gratitude everything that God gives you, then you praise Him for every little thing, and this is Isvara Pranidhana practice.

Gratitude Is Key

grateful heart image

But it’s easy to say: “Be satisfied with what you have” but it is much more difficult to really practice it. How can we be happy if we are always lacking something? We want material goods, health, better Government, better laws, more awareness in the world, etc. As a result, all our “wants” create a feeling of discontent all the time.

This is a very dangerous feeling because it takes our energy and creates a destructive mood. By creating all these “wants” you surround your spirit with very negative energy. As a result, deep inside you always feel unsatisfied and the fulfillment of all the other yamas and niyamas becomes very difficult, almost impossible.

In order to overcome this pernicious condition, some masters recommend practicing “gratitude.”

The feeling of gratitude is opposite to discontent. If you fill yourself with gratitude, you will automatically get rid of discontent.

They say that everything you don’t value/take for granted will be taken away from you. Therefore, if you don’t want to lose what you already have, start to appreciate the little that you have already been given, be grateful for every little thing, and you will multiply what you are grateful for.

We are given an amazing life. We are given an ideal human body with arms and legs. We are able to see, hear, touch. Realize that this is a priceless gift! We have huge opportunities to express ourselves.

No matter what position you are in, you always have the opportunity to be grateful for something. Learn to feel gratitude for every breath you take. Just pause for a second and realize the value of the air that fills up your lungs with every inhale. When you practice pranayama, you can vividly feel the immense value of this Gift — the ability to breathe. When you perform asanas, be aware of the joy of movement, the gift of feeling your body.

How To Practice Santosha?

Santosa image

To practice Santosha, you need to fully accept not only what you consider being positive, pleasant, and good, but also everything else that God gives you. Yes, I am talking about all that we consider being negative and undesired, such as pain, life challenges, losses, diseases, difficulties, and hardships.

At first glance, it seems impossible to be grateful for a sudden injury or financial loss. But if your attention is focused on your inner world and not on the outside circumstances, you will be able to manifest the Santosha principle even in the most tragic situations.

Realize that any illness is a reaction of your body to your inadequate interaction with the world. It is a signal that you are doing something wrong. Realize that it is a life lesson that you gratefully accept.

Sometimes our unexpected arrival in a hospital bed is an opportunity to stop, take the necessary pause, rethink the accumulated experience, and sometimes it is a protection or warning, a sign of fate that we gratefully accept.

Any trouble in the financial sphere of life should be also treated as a lesson, like training in not being attached to the material possessions of the outside world.

When you have serious problems, think about what opportunities this situation gives you. Always try to find something positive in every situation you are facing in life and accept it with gratitude.

This skill of seeing the positive even in the unpleasant can be developed.

Our daily life constantly throws up situations in which we can practice Santosha. Every negative situation you face trains your patience and allows you to work out part of your negative karma.

Some masters recommend performing the following exercise. If you suddenly track a negative emotion, rejection of a situation or a person, then immediately find 10 things about this situation that you can be grateful for. The same with people. If you’re dealing with negative people, try to look at them through the prism of curiosity: “What is this person trying to teach me? Patience? Non-judgment? Non-attachment?” Train yourself to notice lessons for your spiritual development in every situation you’re dealing with!

Other Practices For Santosha

#1 Asanas

There are different asanas that aim to help you to develop modesty, optimism, and learn to be grateful for everything you have in your life. The regular practice of these asanas brings joy, ease, and harmony. Thus they also help you in your Santosha practice.

Uttanasana

Uttanasana is a standing forward bend. The pose is entered from the standing position of Tadasana, bending forward at the hips until the palms can be placed on the floor, ultimately behind the heels.

Contraindications:

  • Lower-back injury
  • Hamstring tear
  • Sciatica
  • Glaucoma, detached retina

Ustrasana

Ustrasana (or Ushtrasana), also known as Camel Pose, is a kneeling back-bending asana. This asana is a deep backward bend from a kneeling position. The completed pose has the hands on the heels. The backs of the feet may be flat on the floor, or the toes may be tucked under for a slightly less strong backbend.

Contraindications:

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia
  • Serious low back or neck injury

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Urdhva Dhanurasana is an upward bow pose. This is a challenging yet powerful pose that stimulates your nervous system, opens your heart, and can leave you glowing with energy and vitality for the rest of the day. 

Contraindications:

  • Back injury
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Heart problems
  • High or low blood pressure

#2 Jnana mudra

The word ‘Jnana’ means knowledge or wisdom and ‘mudra’ means sign or gesture. Jnana mudra literally means the psychic gesture of knowledge or wisdom.

This mudra is used as a meditative gesture. Hence, when performing Jnana mudra, sit in any comfortable meditation asana like Padmasana, Sukhasana, Swastikasana, or Siddhasana.

#3 Mantra

Another practice you can perform for developing Santosha is mantra chanting. For this purpose, the best mantra to perform is Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.

Chant the mantra at the beginning and at the end of your yoga practice for three times. This is a mantra of peace and tranquility will set up your yoga practice, balance your mind, and will help you to feel inner peace, harmony, and deep gratitude.

Conclusion

Santosha practice is a potent tool you can use for developing your satisfaction with life and increasing your gratitude. It will help you to see the joy in simple things and enjoy life unconditionally.


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Spirituality

16 Powerful Ways to Build Good Karma

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The positive karmic experience accumulated during all earthly incarnations tends to be spent aimlessly or changed for the worse, which leads to negative consequences in real life. To reverse this process, it is necessary to constantly improve karma. In this article, I will share with you 16 powerful ways to attract good karma.

But first, let’s find out what good karma actually is.

What Is Good Karma?

Karma is based on cause-and-effect relationships. In other words, we always get back what we give to the world. The more good deeds accumulated on the invisible “account” of each soul, the more bonuses it receives in its future life and next incarnations. If karmic “savings” are spent selfishly, without bringing benefit to others and the planet, then in future reincarnations such a soul will have “to reap the fruits” of his irresponsibility, because karma will change from good to bad.

Therefore, to build good karma is the main goal of every soul.

How Do I Know If My Karma Is Good Or Bad?

What Is Karma Image

If we try to create a simplified model of testing karma, it will be based on four components:

  • relationships with others;
  • health (both physical and mental);
  • prosperity;
  • life purpose.

If each of these components is present in your life, then we can probably say that your karma, in this case, tends to be good. Thus, the good karma manifests itself in the harmony achieved in all spheres of our lives.

However, most people have problems at least in one of these spheres.

Have you seen babies being born with disabilities? This is an example of negative karma brought to this incarnation from past lives. But sometimes healthy people get into car accidents and get disabilities. This would be an example of negative karma that was created during this life.

Why Should We Build Good Karma?

Karma Yoga Image

Bad karma involves problems in all or some areas of life. If a person is haunted by constant failures, negativity, then his karmic debts exceeded the profit from good deeds.

The karmic debts accumulated in all incarnations will result in diseases, poverty, alcohol or drugs addiction, unsuccessful marriages, and other negative consequences.

Do you experience any health problems? Do you have relationship problems? Do you suffer from money loss or poverty? Do you feel like your life has no purpose? If you answered ‘yes’ to at least one of these questions then you should consider taking actions for improving your karma.

How to Build Good Karma?

#1 Keep It Clean

Try to make sure that everything in your life is clean: your body, home, workplace, etc. But especially important to keep your thoughts and actions clean! Keep in mind that negative thoughts, emotions, and actions create negative karma. And positive thoughts and actions create good karma. Be mindful of what you thinking and doing!

Louise Hay Quote On Positive Thinking Image

#2 Get Involved in Charity

This would be especially helpful for those of you who have financial problems. You may say: “How can I do charity if I have no money?” Well, there are different ways to do it. We can help people even if we don’t have money to offer. A kind word, a smile, good advice – this is also a kind of charity that can change someone’s life for the better.

#3 Help Others Selflessly

Maya Angelou Quote On Helping Image

You can offer help to those who are currently suffering. The main thing is not to try to radically correct someone else’s karma. But helping them find their way is quite acceptable.

#4 Self-Development

Inertia is bad for your soul. Instead of dwelling on your past, you should be constantly moving forward. Every day you try to learn something new. Every event that life presents to you should be considered as a life lesson. Every night before you go to bed ask yourself: “What have I learned today? What did I realize today?“. If you find it difficult to answer these questions, then you probably have lost your awareness and mindfulness. Tomorrow will be a new day, try not to waste it!

#5 Spiritual Development

spiritual retreat image

Constant training of the body is well reflected in its appearance and health. But we should also remember to give equal attention to our spirit. The purer your soul is, the higher your moral foundations, moral values, and the easier it is to learn the life lessons on the way to good karma. Make sure to train your mental essence with the help of prayers and meditations.

#6 Love

Radhanath Swami Quote On Love Image

Open your heart to every creature of existence. Make your love available for everyone: people, animals, nature, planet, your work, every action you take, every word you speak, every thought you think. Unconditional love will help you achieve harmony and approach good karma.

#7 Take Responsibility For Your Life

dalai lama quotes joy image

You and only you are responsible for your actions, words, and thoughts. Thus, you and only you are responsible for every event and situation in your life. There’s no point in blaming other people, Government, President, parents, etc. for everything you’re not happy about in your life.

All your failures and successes are the results of your own actions and thoughts. You have the power to change your life, but it will require a change in your thinking. Stop hiding behind the mask of a victim of circumstances. You are the Creator of your own life, so start creating it! The more you take responsibility for your life, the more power you have!

#8 Be Honest

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One lie inevitably begets another like a virus. Remember that lost trust is very difficult to regain. After catching you multiple times on lying people will eventually stop believing you. So in relations with others it will pursue misunderstanding and resentment. And sooner or later this will turn into another karmic debt.

#9 Listen to Your Inner Voice

Always remember that your subconscious has the answers to all your questions. You just need to be able to listen. Listen to your inner voice in every situation – this is the Universe talking to you. The more you’re connected to the Universe the more you follow the path that leads you to good karma.

#10 Be In a Present Moment

Eckhart Tolle Quote Image

The past is gone. The future hasn’t come yet. Don’t distract yourself with thinking about your past or daydreaming about the future. Focus on the present moment and live it to the fullest. Put 100% energy and awareness in everything you’re doing in the present moment. The practice of being in the present moment will teach you to live your life consciously.

#11 Pray

Peace mantra Om Shanti Image

When we pray we cleanse our karma. Especially powerful when you pray for other people, animals or planet. But such practice should be consistent and you should put all your attention to focus on the intention of the prayer. You can also use special mantras for purifying karma and chant them daily.

#12 Volunteering

By doing volunteering work you greatly improve your karma!

#13 Be Grateful

Michael Bernard Beckwith Quote About Gratitude Image

Never blame anybody (including God and Universe) for not receiving exactly what you’ve been asking for. If you believe in karma, then you have to accept the fact that we always receive exactly what we deserve.

Therefore if you’re not getting what you want you have to ask yourself: “Why am I not getting this?” Maybe it’s not time yet, or maybe the receiving of what you’re asking wouldn’t serve your Higher purpose and the Universe is trying to show you that you will receive something much better if you’ll be patient and grateful. Be grateful for every little thing you have in your life and very soon you will see that you attract more and more happiness and joy into your life.

#14 Forgive

forgiveness image

Life doesn’t give us lessons that we are not capable of learning. And one of the most important lessons we come to this life for is the lesson of forgiveness. Most people choose not to learn this lesson which leads to repeating it again and again during many incarnations. But if you believe in karma and want to evolve you have to learn to forgive.

Every time we forgive someone we remove a giant block of negative karma and heal our heart. And the thing is, the more hurtful our resentment is, the more cleansing and healing the forgiveness brings to our souls. If you want to build good karma, sometimes the best way to do so is to forgive people for some of the bad vibes they’ve sent your way.

#15 Donate Blood

It is believed that when you donate your blood the ones who need it you improve your karma tremendously. The whole intention behind blood donation is saving someone’s life. And since the law of karma states that we receive what we give, then when you save somebody’s life the Universe will make sure that you will stay safe. Yes, it can even save your life if you experience any danger or health issues in the future!

#16 Inspire

Jay Shetty Quote About Smile Image

Let every person that meets you become happier and inspired. Spread positive vibes and don’t let your negative emotions affect other people. Be mindful of what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.

Listen to other people who need to be heard. Sometimes inspiration is better expressed when we stay quiet to give other people room to speak their truth. Be a patient listener, care for other people, and provide them the type of inspiration they need at the moment.


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Spirituality

14 Signs of Spiritual Maturity that Indicate Your Spiritual Growth

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Spiritual maturity is not a religious concept. It has humanitarian objectives through balanced behaviors of spiritual understanding. Spiritual maturity is a gradual process of discovering your inner-self (or God Self) that goes along with self-discipline. It is important to understand that I am talking about a sufficiently “mobile” model of a Mature personality, allowing a different set of characterological features. However, in this article, I want to consider certain factors that can form the Central frame of such a personal model. And these factors I will describe through different signs of spiritual maturity.

Signs Of Spiritual Maturity

Authenticity

The famous American psychotherapist James Bugental calls authenticity the most important existential value of a human being. He identifies three main features of authentic existence:

  • full awareness of the present moment of life;
  • independent choice of the way of life at that moment;
  • taking personal responsibility for this choice.

The authenticity to some extent generalizes many properties of the individual. First of all, it is an expression of sincerity towards another. An authentic person wants to be himself in his immediate reactions and in his holistic behavior. He allows himself not to know all the answers to life’s questions.

He doesn’t act like he’s in love if he feels hostile at the moment. The difficulties of most people are that they spend a lot of vital energy on playing roles, or creating an external facade, instead of using it to solve their real problems.

If the person most of the time hides his true self behind the mask of any selected role, it is not surprising that in response he will receive the same insincere attitude of others. Authenticity is the most complete example of flexible behavior.

Openness to Own Experience and Acceptance of Feelings

Sad woman crying image

Here, by openness, I mean sincerity in the perception of one’s own feelings. Social experience teaches to deny, to reject the feelings, in particular, negative ones. The pressure of others forces to displace or suppress sadness, irritability, and anger. The society tells us: “don’t cry, don’t be nervous”, etc.

A spiritually mature person will not drive away any feelings, including negative ones. He accepts and experiences any feelings he has. Only, in this case, can you successfully control your behavior. It is because our displaced feelings are irrational, that is, they become a source of uncontrolled behavior.

When we realize our emotional reactions, we can choose our behavior in each situation, and not allow unconscious feelings to violate the regulation of our behavior. Therefore, we call ourselves “spiritually mature” only if we are capable of showing our tolerance for the whole range of ours and others emotional reactions.

Development of Self-Knowledge

Limited self-knowledge implies a restriction of freedom, and deep self-knowledge increases the possibility of choice in one’s life. The more a person knows about himself, the better he will understand other people, and Vice versa – the more a person understands others, the deeper he understands himself. Not being able to hear what’s going on inside us increases our exposure to stress and limits our effectiveness in life. It is very important to treat yourself realistically and consciously.

The Strength of Personality and Identity

Osho Quotes On Ego Photo

A mature person knows who he is, who he can become, what he wants from life, what is important for him in essence and what does not matter. He turns to life with questions, answers the questions posed to him by life, and constantly tests his values.

A spiritually mature person can’t be a reflection of the hopes of other people, he acts on his own internal position. This allows him to feel strong in interpersonal relationships.

Tolerance to Uncertainty (the Ability to Withstand Uncertainty)

Many people feel uncomfortable in situations where there is a lack of structure, clarity, and certainty. But spiritual development requires letting the comfort zone go and opening oneself up to a new experience. When we dive into our spiritual journey we have no guarantees or clarity of what to expect. A spiritual journey is very individual and even very experienced spiritual gurus can’t give us all the answers of what to expect.

A spiritually mature person understands this. He knows that life is an adventurous journey. That’s why we never know what the coming day is preparing for us, what kind of challenges we will face and what decisions we will have to make. All we can have is a strong confidence in our own intuition and the adequacy of feelings, confidence in the constructive decisions and the ability to take risks – all these qualities help us to endure the tension created by the uncertainty of the entire series of life situations.

Personal Responsibility

Mantras Cosmic codes image

Since most life situations arise under our control, we should be responsible for our actions in these situations. Understanding your responsibility allows you to freely and consciously make a choice at any time of communication – to agree with the arguments of the interlocutor or to enter into a productive confrontation.

Personal responsibility helps to take criticism more constructively. In such cases, criticism does not trigger the mechanisms of psychological protection but serves as useful feedback that improves the efficiency of activities and even life itself.

The Depth of Relationships With Others

When a spiritually mature person evaluates other people (their feelings, views, peculiar traits) he does it without condemnation and the use of labels.

Some people feel that expressing positive feelings obliges and thereby restricts freedom and makes them vulnerable. Others are afraid of rejection, so they feel that the safest position is the rejection of close relations. And they are satisfied with the communication with the partner in the distance.

But if you have enough spiritual maturity you don’t have such fears. You are able to freely express your feelings, both positive and negative, when communicating with other people.

Refusal of Perfectionism

Spiritual maturity involves a refusal of the desire to be perfect. Instead of blaming ourselves for our mistakes we need to take them as our lessons. If we accept that we are not perfect, we will avoid unnecessary tension and feelings of guilt. In this case, relations with others become deeper and at the same time more real.

Empathy

Spiritual maturity implies the ability of a person to feel empathy. Empaths understand the feelings of the people they communicate with, as well as mandatory consideration of them in the process of communication. The range of empathy manifestation varies widely: from a light emotional response to a full immersion in the world of feelings of your interlocutor. Empaths realize that the feelings they experience are a reflection of the feelings of their interlocutors.

Kindness and Compassion

karmic relationship healing image

Kindness is based on the fundamental concept of self-recognition. We are required to treat all aspects of ourselves with compassion. Not just our positive aspects but also those ones that we previously denied. Spiritual maturity is a reflection of our deep gratitude, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.

Only once we treat ourselves with kindness and compassion can we treat others the same way. Our attitude towards others is always a reflection of our attitude towards ourselves. That’s why I always say: “Love yourself first!”.

Patience

Spiritual maturity implies an understanding of the fact that the process of awakening goes through many periods and cycles. It requires our deepest commitment.

True patience does not aspire to any achievement. It allows us to open up for the timeless. When Einstein explained the nature of time by example, he said, “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

Awakening is not a matter of weeks, years, or lives, but a matter of loving and patient disclosure to the mystery at this moment.

A Sense of the Sacred

Spiritually mature people treat every action they do as a sacred practice. Spiritual maturity means an understanding of the fact that if we need to bring light and compassion into the world, we have to start with our own lives. Our personal lives become more genuine spiritual practices than any series of experiences we have or any philosophy we share. This personal approach to practice means respect for the individual and the universal in our lives. Moreover, we also honor our individual body, our individual family and our community, as well as our personal history of joy and sorrow. Spiritually mature people have a deep understanding that their personal spiritual awakening affects all other creatures.

Independent Discovery

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Instead of accepting some philosophy or blindly following some great teacher, going on an insurmountable path, we must recognize that we need to see for ourselves. In spiritual maturity, we find a great sense of autonomy – not as a reaction to authority, but as a basis for sincere recognition of the fact that we, like Buddha, are capable of spiritual awakening. Spiritual maturity has a deeply democratic quality. It means that all individuals have the opportunity to discover what is sacred and to free themselves.

This sense of exploration combines the openness of the mind with “discerning wisdom,” the ability to separate the useful from the harmful, which keeps the eyes open. With an open mind, we always learn.

Our sense of discovery gives us the opportunity to use the great wisdom traditions to learn from teachers and be part of the community. While at the same time in contact with ourselves, to see the truth and speak the truth with great respect to our own integrity and to our own awakening. This kind of research allows us to be more honest with ourselves.

Flexibility

Flexibility implies that spiritual life is not about accepting a particular philosophy or set of beliefs or teachings, nor is it about confronting or opposing anyone. It is the lightness of the heart that implies that all spiritual means are rafts to come to freedom.

The flexibility of the mindset contributes lightness and humor to spiritual practice. It allows us to see that there are thousands of ways to reach spiritual awakening. And if we choose one way and other people choose another way there is nothing wrong with this. We may follow different paths to reach the same destination.

Conclusion

With spiritual maturity, our ability to forgive and free ourselves grows and deepens. This shows the natural resolution of our conflicts and the ability to return to a joy and peace. When we reach spiritual maturity we see spirituality as a question of who we are rather than of what ideal, philosophy, religion, or guru we follow. Spirituality of this kind is full of joy and integrity; it is both ordinary and awakened. Such spiritual maturity allows the light of the divine to shine through us.


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