Santa & His Shadow

Santa‘Tis the Season of Santa Claus, the jolly ol’ soul who traverses the globe with his sleigh driven by reindeer on Christmas Eve to bring toys to all the good girls and boys. The name Santa Claus morphed from Saint Nicholas, a bishop in the 4th century who helped the impoverished. However, Santa is also known as Grandfather Frost and Father Christmas, whose appearance was influenced by the Germanic and Scandinavian god Odin. During mid-winter (Jul or Yule) Odin would ride his eight-legged horse delivering gifts to the people, and thus he is believed to be one of the precursors for the modern day Santa Claus.

Overall, the persona of Santa Claus is that of a kind, giving, and benevolent being. But, like most of us, Santa has his shadow side too, and this should be acknowledged, lest his shadow side unconsciously take over his generous nature. When we suppress our shadows, our “dark side,” and pretend it’s not there, it will try to sabotage us. By acknowledging it, understanding it (this may take some time, of course), and integrating it into our being, that is, once what was subconscious comes to our conscious awareness, we enter into a state of becoming whole, of holiness, and of healing.

Knecht Ruprecht

Santa & Knecht Ruprecht


There are a few characters, known mainly in Europe, who represent the shadow side of Santa. Santa Claus is only concerned with those on his Nice list. Those on his Naughty list are for his dark companions or followers to deal with. There is Knecht Ruprecht, Santa’s servant companion, who may give bad children lumps of coal or broken toys, beat them with ashes or a stick, leave sticks for the parents to beat the naughty children with, or even abduct the children.



Krampus & Santa

Krampus & Santa


There is Belsnickel, a ragged-looking Nicholas (-nickel) who goes to homes to pelt (Bels-) or beat naughty children into being good. And there is Krampus, a demon-looking creature, who may also beat children with a branch, or he may take evil children to eat or kill. On a slightly lighter note, there is also Santa’s servant Zwarte Piet (Black Pete), who might leave naughty children coal or a bunch of twigs instead of gifts and sweets.




Santa Claus

Santa Claus











When Santa is looking over his Naughty or Nice List he must acknowledge his shadow side and toss the list out, for true giving is neither conditional nor judgmental. Santa and his shadow self united as a whole being knows that compassion, love, kindness, and charity for all is what the meaning of Christmas is all about.

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Home Sweet Home

flymetothemoonI had an interesting dream last night, that left me feeling grounded and peaceful. It was another of my “house” dream series, where I return to my old home. You can read many previous entries in my posts Butterfly Journal: GratitudeTime Machine Blogging Challenge: Traversing the Timelessness of the Dreamworld, and Butterfly Journal: Self-Reflection. In summary, most of those dreams had the themes of me going back and packing more, cleaning, seeing it empty, not selling or buying it back, or just curious to check on the house and see the changes. In Butterfly Journal: Gratitude, I wrapped up with a feeling of being home sweet home:

As I’ve mentioned before, a house or home symbol in dreams often symbolizes the psyche, and for me the psyche is where I have been doing much, much cleaning, clearing, and healing. As challenging as things had been, especially over the past few years, I am thankful for all of it, for without those experiences I would not now be “home.”

The few house dreams that I have had since the last December 2015 entry in Butterfly Journal: Gratitude show that, not surprisingly since healing is continuous, more cleaning, clearing, and releasing deep in my psyche was taking place:

3/31/16: Then I was at my old house. It was empty and never sold. No one ever moved in. I went through the back door, and the key was the same. (I still had the key – This is another theme within this series.The house was as I had left it. In the front yard someone(s) had removed some of the bricks that were underneath the soil (near where the bamboo was) in 2 or 3 spots revealing the hollowness underneath. I wondered how they had held in place. Even though no one had moved in, I did not want to move back!

7/7/16: In my old house. The walls were green again. I had left someone living there, and thought that I needed to tell them I wasn’t coming back. There was also some stuff there I needed to finish taking care of.

10/15/16: I was at my old house just to see it. It was empty and deserted or neglected. I was in the living room looking out the front windows at stuff left out for donations and trash pick-up. Then I was in the backyard, and like the front yard, it was all just grass. Everything was removed – the pond, chickens, trees, etc. Some people were there just talking but unaware of me (?). I may have been talking to someone. I saw/found a small pile of things in the dirt that had been left or forgotten, but they were falling apart/decaying. 


These three dreams show that there was/is more in even deeper layers of my psyche that need addressing, healing, and clearing out. I hold the key to this process and have access to it, yet at the same time I know that I am not going back to the old struggles I once had and am moving on towards the future. And then last night’s dream:

11/12/16: I went back to my old house. It was fully lived in by the couple that bought it, and I as aware that it was no longer my home. I had come in through the back. At first I thought no one was there, but the woman was coming out of the bathroom. I explained I didn’t have their number and couldn’t call ahead to let them know I was coming. My dogs and cats were with me, but one of them had also stayed at the house to help with the couple’s baby. I was going to bring her (the dog) back home with me. I had forgotten to pack pet food, but there was dog and cat food there I could use. 

The husband then arrived, and he showed me the out the back and how they had moved the garage from the side to the center-back of the yard. They also had built a covering from the back door to the garage, which they also did from the front. The sides of the house we’re open and exposed. 

Last night’s dream was different from all the others, and shows that I have or am coming to closure, completion, and a wholeness or healing within my psyche (very synchronistic with the super full moon coming up!). My conscious, subconscious, and unconscious have accepted, integrated, and are coming to a deeper understanding of the process of the past 4.5 years since moving from my old home. It is no longer my home (Reminder: “home/house” is symbolic of “psyche.”); it is the old struggles that I have let go of. By releasing ownership of the house (struggles within the psyche), I no longer identify with them. They are no longer me, but lessons and experiences that have led to inner growth.

This process is also reflected in my real/conscious life. For the first time since moving 4.5 years ago and embarking on an intense journey of psychic, psychological, familial, and ancestral healing, I am now living in a home that is not someone else’s. I am home sweet home – feeling safe, secure, supported, whole, grounded, and settled.

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Synchronicity & Spiritual Affirmations

g-highpriestessIt’s been a while since I’ve posted a written blog post, but I am now ready to get back to more regular writing. Much has changed and transformed in my life in the last few months, which has led to much inner healing and understanding of myself: who I have been, who I am, and who I am becoming. This intense inner transformation and growth has been reflected by expansion in my outer life as well, not only personally, but professionally. I’ve also had several astrology and tarot clients who have been going through similar transformations, and I have seen clearly that the synchronicities of these client sessions have been affirmations to me for my own spiritual journey.

Synchronicity and spiritual affirmations can come in many forms and in many different ways: a song playing on the radio, a bird tapping on the window, a tarot reading, or a vision in our dreams. The possible ways Spirit tries to communicate with us seems limitless.

Last week as I finished unpacking and sorting through boxes from my recent move, I looked through a deck of cards gifted to me when I was packing up boxes in August. The cards are called Goddess Knowledge Cards, and as I went through the beautiful cards I was reminded of an old post of mine: The Fourteen Names of the Goddess, a post about a message I got while sleeping that led me to connecting deeper to the Moon (change, mother goddess, etc.), deep healing within my psyche, and healing ancestral karma. As I looked at and read the cards, I could feel each message bringing affirmation for processes and experiences of my inner journey.


The Changing Woman

The Goddess Knowledge Cards are a set of 48 cards depicting goddesses from cultures across the world, but as I re-acquainted myself with each of them I realized that my deck actually had 49 cards with two copies of the goddess, The Changing Woman. The Changing Woman can change form, but more importantly she embodies the cycles of nature and of life and death. She is Maiden, Mother, Crone, – a cycle that continuously repeats.

The only constant is change. – Heraclitus

I smiled at this discovery, thanking the goddesses for their affirmation of both the changes within and the changes with-out in my life, and especially for the reminder that everything and anything can change.

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Animal Spirits: The Heron & The Falcon Revisited

Today while out on a run, I ran by a beautiful heron, who seemed to be looking right at me and talking to me with her “tweets.” It brought me back to this post from almost a year ago, which applies very much to the new stage of independence and abundance that I am now entering. Synchronistically, I have been pulling the Nine of Pentacles regularly for myself lately…

Through the Peacock's Eyes

falconOn my recent trip to Mount Shasta, I had two animal spirit encounters, not during my hikes, but on the drives beginning and ending my trip. On the drive north towards the mountains, I saw three falcons perched on fencing along some farmlands within the span a few minutes. The day before I had read a blog post (sorry, can’t remember whose), which focused on the symbolism of the animals in some of the Tarot cards, particularly the Nine of Pentacles, which has a falcon in it. I took a mental note of this because this month I had and have been getting the Nine of Pentacles nearly every day in my personal daily spread. It also came up in at least half of the September Monthly Tarotscopes and in this week’s Weekly Oracle Card Reading (see videos below).

mucha2I have written about the symbolism of the falcon before…

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Animal Spirits: The Dolphin

23e3bb_882fd8fdb3594cf0aa87ac28252ab352Dolphin symbolism, like the oceans that are their homes, is vast and deep, and it is very similar to the symbolism of the Animal Spirit: The Whale.

Dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals on the planet, and they are believed to feel emotions, such as joy and grief. They are also very social creatures, living in pods or families. As a group they harmoniously play, teach, and work together. Like the whale, dolphins have many ways to vocalize:

The Dolphin’s deep knowledge and wisdom of the sea gives them an aura of mystery, power, and authority over the oceanic unconscious, dark, and invisible realm. In ancient Greece, dolphins were associated with Poseidon (Neptune), god of the ocean, who in astrology rules the sign of Pisces, the sign of the unconscious, the dreamtime, the psyche, and emotional depth. More interestingly though, the dolphin is associated with both Aphrodite (Venus), goddess of love and beauty, who was born from the ocean; and Apollo, an ancient Sun god whose temple housed the Oracle at Delphi [Δελφοί – dolphin in Ancient Greek].

With this connection with both Aphrodite and Apollo, the dolphin symbolizes both the goddess and god, the feminine and the masculine, the hidden & receptive and the vibrant & active, bringing together energy in a balanced and harmonious expression of life.


A couple of months ago, for the first time in their natural environment, I saw dolphins swimming in the ocean while on one of my morning dog walks along the beach. I was too mesmerized watching them to try to get pictures, but there is a beautiful dolphin statue by the beach:



The Dolphin Symbolizes:

  • Communication & Community
  • Working Together & Being Harmonious with Others
  • Playfulness
  • Balance of the Masculine & Feminine Energies Within
  • Intelligence, Knowledge, and Deep Wisdom
  • Trusting Intuition
  • Power & Ability to Navigate the Emotional Realm
  • Exploring the Psyche & Unconscious Realm
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Butterfly Journal: Joy (Month 12)

Crystal Ball Self-ReflectionThe Prompt for the 12th Month: With love, we have opened ourselves up to joy and the beauty that is all around us, wherever we are. By now, no matter how painful and difficult it may have been at times, we can see the beauty in the process of spiritual growth. Our wings are strong now and we’re ready to flutter about like free spirits. Let’s share our joy! For the final month of this journey, FLY!

My first round of teaching the course, Transformational Journaling for Personal Growth with Butterfly Journalhas come to an end, and it was a joy to do. I not only learned a lot about teaching a journaling workshop, but I also learned a lot about myself as I dove deeper into my own personal and spiritual healing process along with all the participants. This journey through Butterfly Journal has been an integral part of my inner pilgrimage, and now it is time to once again take flight with my new butterfly wings as physical life is energetically and synchronously matching my inner state and growth.

The experience of this pilgrimage within the psyche, of which there truly is no end, has reinforced for me on a deep level how perfect the challenges and struggles of life are. Without those, how can we disassemble our ego’s illusions (like the caterpillar’s cells do inside the cocoon) to emerge from the darkness into the light guided by our psyche, or soul, like the butterfly? (ψυχή psyche – Ancient Greek for both soul and butterfly) As new beginnings take root and take off for me, as life moves forward, I will continue to use the transformational process of journeying and journaling through Butterfly Journal to help myself to grow and expand indefinitely.

The central point of the world is the point where stillness and movement are together. Movement is time, but stillness is eternity.                

– Joseph Campbell


To read all previous Butterfly Journal entries, Click Here.

Butterfly JournalIf you are interested in embarking on your own journey of transformation, you can purchase Butterfly Journal from Amazon (and international stores), or Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about Butterfly JournalClick Here. Also check out the Full Color Photo Edition Here which is filled with my own butterfly photography.

Teaching this course has also inspired me to create a new version of Butterfly Journal, which will be more of an expanded workbook and interactive journal, so stay tuned! I plan to have it completed and available for purchase in June.


Also check out my Podcast with Write4Life here, where I discuss the symbolism of the butterfly and the transformational process of journaling with Butterfly Journal!

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Butterfly Journal: Love (Month 11)

silken_spellsIn last night’s class, Transformational Journaling for Personal Growth with Butterfly Journal, we discussed the 11th journal prompt on the topic of love. An important point came up – in understanding love and in living guided by love, it is necessary to love ourselves because when we love ourselves we see more clearly how connected and interconnected we all are. With this understanding it is easy to choose to love others.

The prompt for month 11: What a journey this has been! We have turned within ourselves for deep self-evaluation. We have developed skills and tools to continue to understand ourselves and our relationships with others and the planet. We have begun to reach out into the world with the intentions of compassionate and harmonious interactions. And, with gratitude for everything, for there are things to learn from everything, we are ready to be truly selfless beings: to love.

For the eleventh month, meditate on loving. Love is a truly selfless act, not something to be possessed. When you choose to love, you choose to be kind, generous, compassionate, and caring towards others and the world around you. There are no conditions when you choose to love. Love just is.

Last night I shared a poem, written by Charlie Chaplin, on Self Love, and I’d like to share it here again. It is called: As I Began To Love Myself

As I began to love myself, I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today I know this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself, I understood how much it can offend somebody.
As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me.                              Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself, I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.                                                     Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself, I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself, I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.
Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself, I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.                                                                             Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself, I quit trying to always be right, and ever since, I was wrong less of the time.                                                                                                                                      Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself, I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening.                Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.

As I began to love myself, I recognized that my mind can disturb meand it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.                         Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations, or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!

Butterfly JournalIf you are interested in embarking on your own journey of transformation, you can purchase Butterfly Journal from Amazon (and international stores), or Barnes & Noble.

To learn more about Butterfly JournalClick Here. Also check out the Full Color Photo Edition Here which is filled with my own butterfly photography.

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Animal Spirits: The Whale

whaleSince moving a few months ago, I have encountered many animal spirits in their natural environment. The most exciting have been during morning walks on the beach, which include seals, dolphins, and whales. I will write about the others soon, but today I will talk about the symbolism of the animal spirit, the whale, whom I have not only seen in person, but one also appeared in a Tea Leaves & Tarot Reading.

Whales are the largest known mammals, and animals, known to us, and they live in the immensely large and mostly unknown deep ocean waters, which symbolize our emotions, intuition, the depths of our psyches, and the unconscious. Whales are ancient creatures, who seem to have a wisdom and depth of understanding of nature that is just as old.

Whales communicate with other whales and possibly other sea creatures through a variety of ways: the melodic whale song, sonar, clicks, and whistles. They are even known to try to mimic human speech in captivity! Listen to whale here.

The Whale Symbolizes:

  • Deep Awareness of Emotional States & Processes within the Psyche
  • Understanding of the Collective Unconscious & Cosmic Consciousness
  • Emotional Connection to Community
  • Deep & Clear Communication
  • Psychic, Intuitive, & Telepathic Abilities & Communication
  • Holders of Ancient Knowledge & Wisdom
  • Ability to Smoothly Navigate the Depths of our Emotions & Psyche

What my Animal Spirit: The Whale encounters have looked like thus far.

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Animal Spirits: The Ladybug


Photo by Jessica Hagan. Click to see more of her beautiful photography!

Though I wrote about the Animal Spirit, the Ladybug over three years ago, I felt it was time to re-visit her here. I began building and planting a new little vegetable garden where I moved to this year, and harvesting has already begun. Yesterday while I was tending to my garden, I saw quite a few ladybugs. I also saw a couple flying around me while doing my outdoor yoga and when I was at the dog park in the evening. Ladybug wants her message heard! From 2013:

Last weekend as I was planting my fall vegetable garden, I discovered a deep scarlet ladybug on my gardening gloves. Immediately I become excited, for ladybugs are a sign of good luck, especially when they land on your hand! As a child I was told that if a ladybug lands on you, hold it on your finger, make a wish, and chant: Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. If it did, your wish would come true.

Across many cultures, the lady bug, also known as ladybird and lady beetle, is a symbol of good fortune. It is said that the number of spots indicates how many years until your wish comes true. In Asia, if a ladybug lands on you, your true love is on the way. A ladybug landing on you may also portend good weather and prosperity, especially of food/crops, for ladybugs help to keep crop-eating pests at bay and away.

Ladybugs also have a very spiritual meaning. They carry the wisdom of past lives, enlightenment, the cycle of death and rebirth, and, according to Shamanic traditions, they carry the golden strand that leads to the center of the Universe, where the individual soul/consciousness merges with the One.

The Ladybug symbolizes:

  • Good Luck & Wishes coming True
  • True Love
  • Prosperity & Abundance
  • Wisdom of Past Lives
  • The Cycles of Life & Death
  • Connection to the One
Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 7.07.33 AM

Greens from my new garden: Lettuce, Beets, Arugula, Ruby Chard, & Spinach

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The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths

As I was working on my journaling and discussion for the next class in my Butterfly Journal workshop today, I went to an old blog post from 2012 to check on a reference I wanted to make about the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths. I had written four posts to cover this topic, one for each Noble Truth. Only a few people were reading this blog at the time, so I have decided to refresh these posts by putting them all together here into one post…

Noble Truth #1 –  There is Suffering (Dukkha)


Buddha images from the Sacred India Tarot deck

The Buddha developed the Four Noble Truths as a means for each of us to understand the nature of suffering, i.e. what suffering is, and to show us a way to overcome it. Though they are his teachings and guidelines, each of us still has to come to the awareness of what suffering is and how to free ourselves from it on our own. Being told or studying how to do something doesn’t mean we truly know and understand it. We must go through the process and do it ourselves. And usually it takes a lot of practice, practice, practice! Understanding ourselves from within is no different.

The first of the Four Noble Truths is Dukkha, which means suffering or dissatisfaction, and is often stated as: there is suffering. We all are aware of the external sufferings of the world: violence, poverty, etc., but to free ourselves from suffering, we must first acknowledge that suffering exists within ourselves. The first Noble Truth is telling us to look deep inside and self-reflect on what it is that we do mentally, emotionally, and psychologically that causes our own suffering. What thoughts of the mind or beliefs of the ego are we holding onto that cause us to be continually dissatisfied with ourselves and with life? In what ways do our mindsets and attitudes create and contribute to our suffering? We must acknowledge that there is suffering within us before we can truly understand its nature.

Noble Truth #2 – The Truth of The Origin of Suffering (Samudaya)

sacred-india-tarot-6-disks-buddhas-enlightenmentWhat causes us to suffer? What is it that makes us dissatisfied with ourselves, our lives, and the world around us? What is the origin of our suffering? It is the clinging to those mindsets, beliefs, and desires of the ego that cloud our vision and mask our understanding of realty, of Truth, behind the veil of illusion. This veil of illusion, Maya, is created by the ego’s desires and cravings. The selfishness of the ego mind makes us ignorant…it gives us the illusion that we are separate from God, from the Universe, from Truth. This feeling of detachment from the true nature of reality causes us to suffer, and yet the fear of letting go of our attachment to our egos drives us to cling even more and escape behind Maya.

Ignorance, Desire, and Fear/Anger are, in Tibetan Buddhist Medicine, the three fundamental roots of disease and of cyclic existence, the cycle of rebirth into this earthly realm. It is perpetuated by the illusory cycle of ignorance > desire > fear > ignorance, and so forth. The second Noble Truth is our so-called “wake-up call”. To free ourselves from our suffering, our illusion of separateness, we must not only acknowledge that we are suffering, but we must also become aware from within that we, our egos, are the roots to our suffering.

As explained in the Bhagavad Gita 3:36-41:

Arjuna: What is the force that binds us to selfish deeds, O Krishna? What power moves us, even against our will, as if forcing us?

Krishna: It is selfish desire and anger, arising from the guna of rajas; these are the appetites and evils which threaten a person in this life. Just as a fire is covered by smoke and a mirror is obscured by dust, just as the embryo rests deep within the womb, knowledge is hidden by selfish desire – hidden, Arjuna, by this unquenchable fire for self-satisfaction, the inveterable enemy of the wise. Selfish desire is found in the senses, mind, and intellect, misleading them and burying the understanding in delusion. Fight with all your strength, Arjuna! Controlling your senses, conquer your enemy, the destroyer of knowledge and realization. 

It sounds simple at first, but for most of us it may take many years, or many lifetimes, to achieve this full self-awareness. It takes practice! Like the warrior Arjuna, we must strive to become spiritual warriors for Truth in order to face the origin of our suffering.

Noble Truth #3 – The Truth to The Cessation of Suffering (Nirodha)

sacred-india-tarot-buddha-10-of-disksIf we choose to become spiritual warriors, how will we conquer our enemy? How can we cease suffering? How do we stop desiring, clinging, and craving? How do we silence the ego and bring stillness to the mind? We can free ourselves from our suffering by letting go of clinging and by surrendering our egos so that our souls can shine through. Surrender is a powerful weapon which takes great strength to wield, but with continuous practice we will be able to set our ego’s control aside and open our hearts…to Love.

In Tibetan Medicine, Love and Compassion is the ultimate antidote for all disease and suffering. When we truly love, we cannot be selfish and we cannot crave and desire; we can only give unconditionally. When we love, our souls, our true Selves, unite with Truth, God, the Universe… This is freedom! Free from our egos, free from the cycle of ignorance, desire, and fear/anger, free from suffering.

Love is

the perfect stillness

and the greatest excitement, and most profound act,

and the word almost as complete

as His name

– Rabia of Basra, Islamic Sufi saint

God came to my house and asked for charity.

And I fell on my knees and cried,

“Beloved, what may I give?”

“Just love,” He said.

“Just love.”

– Saint Francis of Assisi

Even after all this time

the sun never says to the earth,

“You owe me.”

Look what happens with a love like that –

it lights the whole world.

– Hafiz, Persian poet

Noble Truth #4 – The Noble Eightfold Path

The first three of the Four Noble Truths were developed by the Buddha to teach us about the nature of suffering. With the fourth part the Buddha provides and shows us the pathway to overcome our suffering: The Noble Eightfold Path. By practicing and following this path, we can become more and more able to surrender our egos and free ourselves from the roots of suffering (ignorance, desire, and anger) in order to live a life of Truth, Love, and Compassion.

MudraHeart1) Right Understanding

2) Right Intention

3) Right Speech

4) Right Action

5) Right Livelihood

6) Right Effort

7) Right Mindfulness

8) Right Concentration

Following the Noble Eightfold Path is a continuous practice in which we must try to be aware of and conscious of how our actions, thoughts, words, and intentions affect others. By doing what is right and compassionate towards others, we will overcome our suffering.

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