Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

It’s the Season of Giving!

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

When you think about the holidays, what comes to mind?

For many people, thoughts of spending time with family and friends come to mind. However, for others, the thought of giving back to those in need is just as important. In fact, many people believe that giving back to charity is one of the most important things you can do during the holiday season. So, if you’re looking for a way to give back this year, consider donating to a charity. There are many great charities out there that could use your help. Take some time to research them and see which one is right for you. And don’t forget, the holiday season isn’t just about giving gifts. It’s also about giving back to those who are less fortunate, have fallen on hard times or just need a little bit of help.

If there isn’t a charity that attracts you, what about your community? There are many ways to give back to your community. and one of the most popular is through charitable giving. Whether you donate your time or money, there are countless organizations out there that could use your help. While deciding which charity to support can be difficult, we find it best to look within. Let your soul speak to you and find a worthwhile project or cause you can help with.

Forbes publishes a list of the 100 largest charities. This can be viewed here.  Size doesn’t matter in our book as it is more about the cause. Chopa donates throughout the year to several organizations. One might be a group that beautifies and plants trees and gardens in blighted areas. Another might be one that helps seniors in need. In the past we have donated to charities that support Earth Day causes, animal welfare and compassion, feeding homeless or even purchasing and supplying books and reading materials to groups that can benefit through  education.

A regular donation is made each quarter to the Florida Education Trust Fund which focuses on technology for schools throughout the state. Staff volunteer one day each quarter to a project in their local communities.  Projects have included building vegetable gardens, replacing and repairing fences, animal adoption causes and a variety of other worthy projects over the years.

One cause that is near to our heart is donating to a non-profit that offers a vast knowledge of information free to the public, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. This entity is called Wikipedia. Wikipedia was founded 20 years ago and as they say, “It helps millions of people study, discover, explore, and research.”  We couldn’t agree more.  This amazing collection of facts and research offers quick answers to anyone at anytime. Their mission: Each day, Wikipedia gives readers a new chance to acquire the knowledge that is so rightfully theirs, no matter what their circumstances might be.  Donations give the non-profit the means to stay true to its mission, even as Wikipedia has become one of the most visited websites in the world.

Chopa doesn’t normally specify a particular charity or organization, because giving is from the heart. The cause must speak to you. The only reason we mention Wikipedia is due to our passion for learning and allowing anyone else to access their huge database of information.  No matter what group you choose or charity to support, if you have the means, consider this season a time to embrace helping someone. Happy Holidays everybody.

 

       (image by Liza  Summer)

 

What is a mantra?

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

A mantra is a tool for protecting the mind from the habitual, unconscious cycles of thought and action we get caught up in. In ancient Vedic philosophy, these imprints on our subconscious mind are known as samskaras.

These impressions that get stored in our mind through cultural conditioning and past experience directly impact how we perceive our conscious experience in the present. Mantras are ancient techniques that we can use to protect our mind from getting stuck in the bottomless well of samskaras. The sounds themselves, even before they are assigned meaning, resonate in different parts of the body and mind, increasing sensory awareness.

The first mantra that you have been exposed to is most likely Om (Aum). It is a universal mantra and the primordial sound of nature. The A (pronounced Ah) resonates in the lower part of the body, the O in the middle part, and the M (pronounced Mmm) in the upper region. The vibrations of OM evoke movements of energy, beginning at the base of the spine and moving upwards to the crown of the head. For the spiritual seeker interested in ancient literature, the Mandukya Upanishad elucidates the syllable of OM and its four states of consciousness.

Mantra recitation guides the practitioner in finding their sacred inner sound – the internal music that has had the volume turned down. Sanskrit scholar Nicolai Bachman explains that Sanskrit originated as the language of mantra and that each mantra has specific or general effects on oneself, others and the world. When pronounced properly, this scared sound energy intimately connects the individual with nature. Swami Sivananda has taught that a mantra practice transforms the mental substance by producing a particular thought movement. According to him, these rhythmical vibrations regulate the unsteady vibrations of the five koshas (sheaths or layers). The koshas are believed to veil our inner Self. Meditation and mantra practice allow the practitioner to peel away the layers, diving deeper into the core of our being.

Daily practice of mantra meditation will make one centered in the core sheath. Developing a japa (mantra repetition) practice with the use of mala beads can take the practitioner into higher states of meditation. As we delve deeper, we use the mantra as a sanctuary that houses the source of power to manifest our intention. When we work with the sound energy of Sanskrit mantras, we tap into an ancient practice that has been performed for thousands of years as an expression of the pattern of nature.

~ Mihir Garudmt