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Archive for the ‘My Friend Within’ Category

Activity Filled “My Friend Within Lesson Plan” is Our Free Gift

December 1, 2008

The modern human being is filled with unrealized gifts, abilities and talents.

Given the limitations and diversions of modern day society, we do not generally receive the training and experiences necessary for drawing out the higher, more noble qualities that exist in all of us. Technology and industrialization have become crutches that have kept us from having to realize our full innate abilities. Instead we have become dependent upon man made systems and hypnotized by materialism. In fact, most of us have become “disabled” in a way because we have no working relationship with the Divinity that resides within us. Everything in our consumerist culture pulls us outward and away from our true Divine inner nature. All of our intentions, goals, and actions tend to be of a material nature while our sacred inner relationship with the Divinity within is left to wither and die.

For this reason, my wife and I have made providing experiences, training and education geared towards forming an inner relationship with the Self or Master our top priority with regards to raising our children. We have always felt that our primary duty as parents was to provide the circumstances necessary for our children to uncover their true wealth, the Divine being that resides within them. By creating an enhanced environment through prayer, intentions, training and experiences, we are giving them the very best chance to become what they are meant to become and succeed in both their inner and outer worlds. With their inner Friend to guide them on their path, success will be assured and their true inner natures will be honored. Our ultimate goal is not to give them fish or even teach them how to fish but rather to provide them with all the tools and time necessary for them to find their “Inner Fisherman,” so to speak. With their “Inner Fisherman” in the lead, a lifetime of fishing will come to them naturally and successfully.

Out of this inner compulsion my wife and I share, we have spent years developing spiritually based lesson plans and activities of various sorts for our children and, really, for all children. In order to make these opportunities potentially available to all children, we have published My Friend Within, and have a few more children’s books to come that are along the same lines.

We are also now very happy to provide, at no cost, a complementary portion of our general lesson plan to people who purchase a copy of the book.

My Friend Within cover

Anyone has purchased My Friend Within need only email us and request the My Friend Within Lesson Plan and we will send back the 30 page pdf file of activities, games and experiences designed to nurture the innate relationship between the child and their Friend who resides within them.

While it is true that children are born with the innate knowledge that God is within, any innate knowledge that is not triggered by models and experiences in the child’s environment will tend to lay dormant or even disappear entirely. We parents should do our best to not let that happen, especially when it comes to our children’s relationship with the Divine. It is our deep hope that as many parents as possible will get a copy of My Friend Within and use the Lesson Plan as well as develop activities of their own to further enhance this training for their children. In fact, we hope that someday nurturing a child’s inner relationship will be considered as mandatory a requirement as teaching a child to read. There is no greater gift to our children than aiding them in allowing their true inner nature to emerge into useful practice.

Here is a five part video series featuring our now older children doing some activities from the Lesson Plan. In the first video, I talk a little more about about some of the ideas in this blog post while spending time with our cows out in the pasture.

In this video, the children read My Friend Within aloud.

In the next two videos, our children play The Exploration game. With their eyes closed, they use their senses, including their inner senses, to figure out what objects, food, smells and even some of our farm animals are. Even at their somewhat older ages, they still love this game and ask to play it.

This last video is some old video clips I found. The first is of the children doing one of the circle exercises from the Lesson Plan. The second clip is from three years ago when our youngest son, then three years old, read a copy of My Friend Within back when it was called He Sits.

I have watched this last video five times in the last few days and I still am filled with joy and laughter each time I see it. I wish for all parents, teachers and children to find their own joy as they connect with their eternal Friend within.

From the rustling leaves of the Grove,
Paul

Three Ennobling Truths Contained in “My Friend Within”

November 28, 2008

It appears to be a small thing, really, to make the switch from focusing on an external God somewhere off in the distance to an internal God or Friend that is right there in your heart as your constant companion. In reality, however, having made this small change is what has brought us so many great Masters, saints, prophets and mystics. All the Masters of the major religions made this small switch from believing in an externalized God to finding and merging with the God that existed within them. Each of these Masters brought some transformational quality to the human experience which has benefited us all. After thinking about this, the questions then become, “What would the world be like if all of the people who inhabited it made that same adjustment and formed a minute by minute connection with the Divinity within? What if the world were populated by saints and Masters? What if we had a society of Buddha’s, Christ’s and Krishna’s? What would such a world be like?”

This small adjustment from an externally viewed God to an internally experienced God would change just about everything within the human condition. It would be like how land mammal ancestors of whales and dolphins, after living for thousands of years in both the worlds of water and land, finally took their permanent plunge into the sea. Since making that shift, they have thrived as kings of the ocean. It was perhaps a small adjustment over a period of years such that each succeeding generation lived more and more in the sea until, finally, they became sea mammals. However they did it, their land existence soon became a faded memory.

As we humans currently face a multitude of self-inflicted problems, we can see all around us the many success stories of other creatures that successfully adjusted themselves to a new way of living out of sheer necessity. Unfortunately, humans do not seem to be there yet. Rather we are still looking to change the world around us. We are still trying to impose our collective will on the world while we ourselves remain relatively unchanged. It is obvious that our orientation to the world isn’t viable and yet we still expect the world to change rather than us. The majority of us still seem to think that by winning political or economic or military power, we can continue to force our way and continue to enjoy our vast array of comforts. This is incorrect.

Fourteen years ago I was introduced to the Sahaj Marg raja yogic practice and given the wonderful opportunity to meditate on Divine light in my heart. It seemed like a foreign thing to do at first and I did not know what to expect. As the years went by, however, I began to see more and more changes in myself from meditating in this way. My patience and tolerance levels increased. My ability to solve problems and choose the right path was enhanced. My ability to bear pain increased. Spiritually based opportunities increasingly presented themselves to me while unhealthy elements in my life seemed to just dry up and blow away. Significant and beneficial people started to populate my life helping me farther along the spiritual path. I no longer felt lonely or depressed as there was always my eternal Friend within to accompany me during dark times. When I regressed into old negative patterns, something quickly pulled me back onto the proper road. And perhaps most significantly, my capacity to love grew from the very first day and has continued to grow ever since.

There were many material changes since I started Sahaj Marg as well including marriage to a fellow practitioner of this system as well as the grand appearance of six children. There was my family’s eventual move back to the country and the subsequent wholesale plunge into a more natural way of life. There were other material changes too in those early years as I earned both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The former had eluded me for twelve years and three colleges prior to my starting the Sahaj Marg internal meditation on Divinity within. So for me the internal and external growth that came as a result of being guided to connect with an internal God was both astounding and, in some ways, even miraculous.

It is very distressing to me that most if not all religious and spiritual movements eventually seem to steer people away from connecting with the divinity within. Instead they often settle into teaching complex and often counter-productive methods for reaching God. However, living in connection with our eternal Friend within is our birthright and the key to our becoming all that we can be. It also frustrates me that the world leadership employs externally-based methods to pacify the populous rather than encouraging people to seek answers within. It is only the latter, to our way of thinking here at Bamboo Grove Press and Pockets of the Future, that can provide real solutions to the problems of life.

So for my wife and me there is only one lasting answer to our current predicament and that is for us all to put a large investment into connecting with the part of us that is eternally connected to all and everything. It is imperative that the world’s peoples develop the Divine instrument of their hearts and let their eternal Friend within guide them in all decisions big and small. For us, then, the path is very clear. If human beings are going to survive and develop into what they were destined to become, then we have to make the subtle yet profound shift from begging an external God to deliver to us our desired lifestyle to a new orientation of connecting with the God or Friend within and, therefore, allowing ourselves to be guided from within towards our best life.

So in this spirit we are happy to release our first book, My Friend Within, for general publication. This short, colorful picture book for children presents three simple ideas:

1. God is in everything,
2. Most personally, God is within the child themselves, and
3. God is the child’s eternal Friend.

The ideas seem simple and straightforward enough but consider this - the worldwide acceptance of even one of these ideas would change human experience profoundly for the good. If we collectively accepted that God was within everything and we lived and breathed this principle, it would be difficult to impossible to abuse other people, animals, the world or anything else. We would see God in all and everything and, therefore, when in the act of mistreating any aspect of the world around us we would see that it was God we were mistreating and stop ourselves.

The case would be similar if we saw and connected with the God that is seated personally within us. Whenever we mistreated ourselves and made self-defeating or self-sabotaging decisions, we would see that we were only punishing ourselves by cutting ourselves off from the Divinity within us. By contrast as we deepened our inner relationship, we would want to consult the God within in us before making decisions or pursuing courses of action. Our hearts would cry out to us if we were about to do something wrong just as our hearts would sing to us as we followed a proper course of action. The responsibility for our lives would not rest upon the mercy of an externalized God but within our own system. We would be responsible. We would recognize that we were responsible.

Lastly if we accepted that God was our eternal Friend, our whole perception of our world and our situation would be transformed. The hostile lens through which we see an evil world inhabited by evil people would not last in the face of the new knowledge that there is a benevolent God within us that only wants the best for each of us. Demons would now be viewed as helpers who were placed there by our Friend for our benefit. Problems would become blessings, and everything that we received good or bad would be received as Divine gifts from our Divine friend. We would believe that everything comes from God and since God is our Friend, then everything that He gives to us is for our greater good. There have existed souls in this world who have taken this perspective and they have inspired great movements and improved the human condition greatly. Their examples pointed towards a path all could eventually take. Given our current dilemmas, there is no better time than now for us all to step onto that path.

So we are releasing our first book containing these three ennobling ideas now as it is patently obvious that there is no time to lose. And our first book is directed towards young children because there is no better time to get started with this important inner work than at the beginning of one’s life.

We are also making available a free lesson plan/activity book to accompany My Friend Within for parents and teachers to use to help pull out this knowledge that already exists within the child. We are all born knowing that God is within all and everything and most importantly within us and that he is also our beloved Friend. We only need some gentle guidance to help these truths emerge from within us. I hope parents of all religions, races, and ages will purchase this book, undertake the simple accompanying activities and lessons with their children, and start them solidly on this wonderful path of becoming the best person they can be. Then these children can in turn go on to help create the best world that humans can create.

Please help us spread the word about My Friend Within and the free lesson plan so that many may benefit from it. Thank you.

From the rustling leaves of the Grove,
Paul

My Friend Within - Our First Bamboo Grove Press Release!

November 25, 2008

We are very pleased to announce our first Bamboo Grove Press book release!

 

My Friend Within cover

My Friend Within encourages children to follow their natural yearning to find God seated in the center or heart of all things, including themselves, and to take delight in the mysteries of spirituality. The appealing art work and simple, rhythmic text provide a gentle way to spark an awareness of what is deeply rooted inside all of us. As children embrace the idea that “God, my Friend, is within me,” they are setting the cornerstone of the foundation for their future spiritual lives. (From the back cover)

 

Here my husband Paul Romano, author and illustrator, sits down to talk briefly about the timeless messages waiting for children in My Friend Within and why we chose this particular book to be our first publication. We feel, and it is our daily experience, that the ideas contained in My Friend Within are the single most important principles to reinforce in children in order to prepare them for a vibrant spiritual future during rocky, uncertain times.

My Friend Within is also just plain fun and contains many opportunities for conversation and exploration. In the video, Paul talks about the fun we had as a family developing the complementary lesson plan we are offering with My Friend Within, out of our desire to support parents, teachers and children as much as we possibly can.

 

For more information on how to purchase My Friend Within, please visit our E-store.

We hope My Friend Within benefits your family as much as it has benefited ours and that you will join us in helping children everywhere become adults who act based upon the promptings of their Friend within.

From the rustling leaves of the Grove,
Leslie