Archive for the ‘self-help’ 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)

 

Sandalwood Mala Beads For Daily Meditation

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

The Sandalwood tree is known for its fragrant aroma as well as the beautiful wood it produces. The oil contains a lovely fragrance commonly used in incense, soaps, colognes and even cosmetics. In India, it is also used for medical purposes.

Grown mainly in India, Australia and Indonesia, the trees can grow as high as 25 to 30 feet tall. The evergreen thrives in poor, dry soil conditions and needs little water. The lifespan can reach 15 years when the maximum yield of oil and wood may be harvested. The bark is smooth and grayish-brown in color. The Indian government tightly regulates Sandalwood. Because of the high demand for religious, industrial and commercial purposes, it generates a lot of income for the government.

When the wood is ground into a powder it is commonly used in incense. When the incense is burned, a soothing woodsy aroma fills the air. Whether in powder form or oil, the scent is popular in aromatherapy, air fresheners and even health products.

Another dominant use of the tree is producing furniture and wood carvings. Sandalwood is sometimes considered the most expensive wood available in certain parts of the world. The wood is prized for its tightly dense grain, beauty and ability to maintain its fragrance for many, many years.

Besides furniture and artistic carvings, the wood is used to make Mala beads. A Mala bead necklace can be used for spiritual enlightening, meditation practice, prayer, religious ceremonies or simply worn as jewelry. Centuries ago, Sandalwood was burned at funerals with the belief that the scent would carry the soul to the next path of the universe.

Buddhists have used Sandalwood for hundreds of years. A strand of polished wooden beads, can speak to your soul, help clear the mind and open the heart to an abundance of love and good feelings. Sandalwood is believed to enhance and increase the power of your wishes leading to good fortune, deeper meditation, protection and success.

Buddhists also believe practicing with Sandalwood Mala beads increases their awareness, stimulates love, sensuality and deeper inner relaxation. Among the Chakras, the scent is geared towards the Base Chakra and promotes self-identity and inner trust. The aroma may build your enthusiasm for life and positivity. If you seek peace, passion and serenity, Sandalwood is a great choice for your meditation practice.

Among the traditional Buddhist Mala beads and Shamballa bracelets available at www.chopa.com, the Sandalwood mala necklace is one of the most popular sold. These Mala beads can be used to count mantras during meditation practice. One holds a bead between their thumb and forefinger and cites the mantra once per bead. Passing the beads through your fingers, allows you to focus on the mantra rather than counting the beads.

These Japa Mala contain 108 finely polished and aromatic Sandalwood beads. These natural 8mm beads are hand strung on a stretchy cord, finished with a guru bead and tied in an endless knot symbolizing wisdom and compassion for life. Two dangling tassels compliment the necklace and enhance the look when worn as a necklace. A free mala bag is included with every purchase to store and protect your beads when not in use.

Chopa Zen Home was established in 1994 and focuses on Zen Inspired Living. Whether browsing their wide selection of Japanese Kimono and yukata or perusing their offerings of Buddhist Mala beads and Shamballa bracelets you are sure to find something meaningful to enhance your life. Kimono and Yukata robes are perfect for loungewear and to wear around the house, to relax, cover up after a refreshing shower or to wear during a meditation session. The symbolism found in these gorgeous Japanese robes will inspire you to become your best. Don’t forget to add a Sandalwood Mala bead necklace to your shopping cart. Priced at just $14.00, they are affordable and beautiful to wear. Use as an accessory or let it help you focus and grow your own spiritual and mediation practice. Namaste.

sandalwood mala beads for meditation

                     Sandalwood Mala Beads

 

Why does a mala have 108 beads?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

If you ask several people, you may receive several different answers. The number 108 is significant for several reasons. Some meditation practitioners believe the journey of the human soul has 108 stages, while others associate the possibility taking just 108 breaths in a day, while in a deep meditation state of enlightenment. We would not recommend one try it.

The best theory we discovered is that the 108 beads on your mala is open to your own interpretation. What is important to you is what matters most. Mala beads were created as a practice tool to use during meditation. While you don’t need mala beads to meditate, most people that use them make it part of their ritual. Mala beads help you to manifest and keep you focused on a mantra. A mala allows one to chant their mantra and keep track of where you are. While many mala necklaces have 108 beads, some contain 54, or half of that amount of beads.

Another explanation for the number 108 is based on Chakras. It is believed there are 108 energy lines connecting to the heart. One of these paths is believed to be the path of self-realization. Others state that while chanting your mantra during meditation you are whole when you reach 100 times.  The extra eight beads account for errors or are meant to be an offering to your guru.

Another belief is based on the ancient script of India.  Within the Sanskrit alphabet, there are 54 letters.  Each has a feminine and masculine version adding up to 108. Other theories evolve around desires, lies and delusions. There are said to be 108 earthly desires in mortals. There are said to be 108 lies that humans tell. There are said to be 108 human delusions or forms of ignorance.  Math also points to some theories of the number 108. Nine times twelve; both of these numbers have significance in various traditions, 9 X 12 = 108.  The number 108 is also a Harshad number, which is an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad is from Sanskrit and means ‘great joy’.

The more research you perform, the more ideas and theories you will discover. We fall back to our belief

108 bead mala

Mala bead necklace

that whatever is important to you is what matters.  Namaste!

 

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