What are the spiritual benefits of walking? ~ Karin

Karin, Walking is a revered historical practice. When you study with most ancient spiritual traditions there is undoubtedly a walking meditation so one becomes aware of your connection with the holiness within your Self, with the Divine, and with the elements of the earth. You were created to move that magnificent body.Native Americans, Christian monastics, Islamic Sufis, Buddhist monks, Hindu priests and Taoist monks make walking a part of their deeply grounded spiritual path.Jesus walked from town to town healing the sick and teaching. Buddha spent his entire life walking from village to village teaching. Mahatma Gandhi walked 150 miles on the infamous Salt March that forever changed the future of India. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. walked the roads of Alabama and Georgia, and Susan B. Anthony spent her entire life, joined with a multitude of other women, walking for the right to the ballot box.Experience your walk as a pilgrimage. Pilgrimages are a part of every spiritual tradition. Jews go to Jerusalem, Christians go to the Holy Land and Muslims go to Mecca. Just imagine something you want to learn or focus on before you leave on your pilgrimage each day, and when you return you have gone on your own journey and are following a deep rich tradition. On your walk notice the birds, the sky, the clouds, the trees, the sounds, the smells and the colors. Your walk is packed with a kaleidoscope of possibilities. Choose a different route for a different experience. Create a group of people to walk with in the morning or evening or walk alone for some introspection and alone time. 

Why should I be grateful for grief and loss? ~ Jamey

Jamey, Be grateful for the kaleidoscope of experiences in your life. It may seem difficult to be grateful for loss and grief, but all sacred texts and spiritual teachers tell us there is a purpose for everything. Again, if you look to great spiritual leaders, you see they have transformed their grief into a state of grace through gratitude.

Can meditation help treat addiction? ~ Karstin

Karstin, The Journal of Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly and the International Journal of the Addictions report that meditation can decrease cigarette, alcohol, and drug abuse. An analysis of 198 independent treatment outcomes hound that meditation produced a significantly larger reduction in tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use than either standard substance abuse treatments (including counseling, pharmacological treatments, relaxation training, and Twelve Step programs) or prevention programs (such as programs to counteract peer pressure and promote personal development). Whereas, the effects of conventional programs typically decreased sharply by three months, effects of meditation on total abstinence from tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs ranged from 50 percent to 89 percent over a 18- to 22-month period of study.

Can meditation help lower cholesterol levels? ~ Gretchen

Gretchen, The Journal of Social Behavior and Personality published a longitudinal study showing that cholesterol levels significantly decreased through meditation in patients with elevated cholesterol, compared to match controls, over an 11-month period. 

How can meditation affect aging and memory? ~ Kyle

Kyle, The Journal of Memory and Cognition reported college students meditating displayed significant improvements in memory performance over a two-week period on a perceptual and short-term memory test. The International Journal of Neuroscience published findings showing meditation reverses the aging process. Individuals practicing meditation for more than five years were physiologically 12 years younger than their chronological age, as measured by reduction of blood pressure, and better near point vision and auditory discrimination. Short-term meditates were physiologically five years younger than their chronological age. The study controlled for the effect of diet and exercise.

What is apathy? ~ Lorie

Lorie, Apathy is a real death sentence to your life. When you just don't have curiosity, don't care, and don't get involved in life, you are dead. Apathy is seductive because you just sit on the sidelines of life, criticize others, and do nothing. Whatever philosophy, spirituality, or religion you espouse, none of them honor apathy. Apathy is living as a zombie in a dynamic, exciting world. The most horrible events and injustices in the world can occur under the guise of apathy. Remember apathy is the opposite of love.

How is envy destructive? ~ Derek

Derek, I believe that the reason this is one of the Ten Commandments (thou shalt not covet) is that envy plants the seeds of self-destruction and the destruction of others. Envy is the root of murder, stealing, infidelity, violence, and so much more. When you live a life desiring what others have you can never be at peace or be happy. Envy is a very serious spiritual situation. You are given your life to live with your own purpose. It is illogical to envy what others have because if it was destined to be yours it would be. Most individuals with envy are living in a kind of hell, with the delusion that if they only had what another person had -- beautiful spouse, great job, new car, children, or a big house -- they would be happy. True happiness is never found in what someone else has. True happiness is acquired when you live from the inside out, not from the outside in.

What is shame? ~ Callie

Callie,Shame is when we feel flawed. Shame is toxic and is like living with an invisible cloud over our hearts. Shame usually had its genesis in our childhood with issues concerning our original families. Shame is difficult to sort out alone, and I continue to find it sad that so many of us have spent our life plagued with shame. Shame is astumbling block to experiencing true happiness. Toxic shame can lead to depression, and your body may literally shut down.