Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

During an intense few weeks this October, my life changed dramatically through circumstances and events that broke down the life I was living and opened the doorway to a new reality orchestrated by the Divine hand of Spirit.

During this time the land in New Mexico spoke to me through stones found during an early morning hike in an arroyo in Abiquiu. These stones held information on teaching people how to build a personal mesa.

A mesa is a shaman’s altar or medicine bundle used for healing, ceremony, prayer and divination. It is a portal to Spirit and deepens our awareness to non-ordinary states of reality.


I have carried a mesa for the past 10 years, starting with the Four Winds Light Body School and the teachings of Alberto Villoldo. Since that time I have had the great privilege to deepen my practices with medicine men and women in the high Andes through the Bouquet of Light Women’s Journey to Peru to awaken the Divine Feminine.

My mesa has changed in so many ways over the years as kuyas or healing stones have been added and released. This journey now creates a whole new mesa for me.

For some, a mesa looks like a bag of stones or arrangement of rocks and on a literal level this is true. But at the mythic level a mesa deepens your connection to Spirit and anchors you to Mother Earth. A mesa teaches us to listen to the voice of Spirit as it moves through us. The only reason I have any sense of what the stones in the arroyo were speaking of was because of the connection to my own mesa.

Each stone, or kuya as they are called in one’s mesa, represents a particular location in Northern New Mexico to gather for ceremony. Each ceremony will be an opportunity to receive a kuya and begin to build a personal mesa. Although these kuyas represent locations in Northern New Mexico, you can participate from wherever you are and build a mesa with stones from your own native land.


Each kuya is received during one of the four seasons. The cycle of seasons become the reference point for building our mesa helping to deepen the connection to our own inner rhythms and cycles as each season becomes a mirror for our own reflection.

During each season we will hold an intention for our personal evolution and transformation as we learn to work with our kuyas or healing stones. Each season will also include information and teachings on:

  • Opening Sacred Space
  • Creating an Altar
  • Shamanic Journey to meet a Spirit Ally
  • Clearing and Purification Practices
  • Kundalini Kriyas and/or Meditation
  • Guided Breathwork Session
  • Journaling Assignments
  • Personal and Collective Despacho Ceremony

The Mesa Building Journey will be offered on land as well as online allowing you to participate from wherever you are at a pace that suits your lifestyle although establishing certain practices each day will be highly advisable. A forum for communication and group sharing will be created through a closed Facebook group.

I never had any thought about teaching others to build a mesa but it is clearly Divine intent. Although this journey is still shaping itself into being I am inspired to start sharing and spreading the news of this unique opportunity for spiritual transformation that is being guided and informed by the Santa Tierras, the ancient wisdom of the feminine land spirits.

Registration for this first time ever experience will begin in the season of Winter after the start of the New Year so stay tuned for more information.

I thank you for spreading the news!





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When the bedrock is dismantled, the foundation we have built our life on crumbles. On our journey to the enlightenment of truth the crumbling is necessary. It is necessary to have these breakdowns of our belief systems, the fixed and rigid states of mind that we operate from.

It is only then that we can create the possibility for what is actually true and authentic for us rather than building our life on false precepts that have been imposed on us.

It is terrifying to feel our life fall apart. Everything we have ever been led to believe becomes a lie. And the biggest lie is the painful betrayal against our own soul, the belief that we are separate from the source of love that we are.

The deepest pain is the illusion of separation. The deepest pain is also where recovery lies for it is the recovery of our truth that makes us whole. What makes us whole makes us holy. The recovery is the path to our divinity.

Our spiritual practices provide the ground when our life falls apart. The time that we spend on a mat, the time that we spend on a cushion, the time that we spend in prayer is what holds and sustains us through these times of falling apart and coming together, breaking down and rising up.

excerpt from the forthcoming “The Feminine Path to Enlightenment”

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I was born in New York City. In 1960. And never lived more than 50 miles from its epicenter. That’s a long lineage of roots.

As I travel to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico the miles unravel all that is familiar. I am officially in the unknown.


A day of ceremony on the road. Joining my ayllu sisters from Peru at 12:12 pm in meditation on LOVE. To open our mesas, sing, chant, rattle, drum, pray and light candles from all parts of the globe. To shift into non-personal awareness and be love as we usher in light during this auspicious time of transformation.

My journey west rides on faith. Faith is my ever diligent GPS lady who I trust to navigate unknown terrain. She cannot however guide me to a site for ceremony in the wild landscapes of western Texas. For that I must listen to Spirit.

I pull off I-10 at about 11:45 CT. I make a left and keep on driving. My GPS companion persistently asks that I turn around whenever possible.

I feel a call to be near water. Ten minutes later I know this is it. It takes my breath away.


IMG_8162I build an apuchetta with stones found in the water.

When we trek in the Andes we build apuchettas along the way…little “apus” or mountains to hold our prayers and offerings of thanks for the safe passage of our journey, our gratitude to Pachamama and the Apus, blessings for our families.

The apuchetta protects the white candle I place inside to burn the hucha it holds from clearing. A gold candle is also placed in the apuchetta to honor the sun and usher in light. If you look in the apuchetta you can see the flame burning.

i drum in the wild. Its pulse beating with the heartbeat of Pachamama. My song growing stronger reaching the Apus.

Butterflies are everywhere. They land on my mesa. Messengers of transformation.Visitors in the water. A baby turtle and catfish. Hawks fly overhead. The portal to the divine is open. Qintu to Mama Cocha

The Sun is warm. The sky clear blue. Over an hour has passed since I arrived.

As the drumbeat slows ceremony closes with an offering to Mama Cocha…the waters. A qintu or prayer holder made of three bay leaves, a yellow rose petal and sprigs of sage give thanks to Creator for guiding me to this magical space. To drum and sing. To be in communion with Spirit. To weave luminous threads in a web of love.

As I drive a chant reverberates through me for hours. At times breath and sound carve out abysmal caverns in my heart where love cannot get in. A deeper well opens to beauty, to gratitude, to the bounty of blessings and the AWE of  the privilege to be on this journey. The vibration repairs the damage done in the absence of love. A lullaby soothing the hiding hurts of long ago.

Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram.

I reach my hotel room in El Paso and am curious about this chant I have droned for hours.

Krishna Das, one of my favorite kirtan artists, and who may be the first one I heard sing this has this to say …”Shri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram is the song/mantra that Hanuman is always singing. Rama is the name that Maharaj-ji always had on his lips. It is the mantra that purifies the heart and bestows devotion to God. It is like the taste and the gratifying quality of nectar in the form of emancipation… It is like the bee for the beautiful lotus of the devotee’s mind… Install the luminous gem in the shape of the divine name of ‘Rama’ on the threshold of the tongue at the doorway of your mouth, if you will have light both inside and out.”

As the light of this day begins to set, my heart has been hollowed. Traveled to new terrain both inside and out. Purified, emancipated in a deeper dance of devotion.

Informed by light…all the way to dreamtime.

Ceremony on the road.


AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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Our ideas about a daily practice can often be an obstacle to practice. We may think that a daily practice must look like our yoga class. Or we must be able to assume a certain posture in order to meditate. We think conditions must be perfect before we start. We need a special space or certain equipment or the right clothes. Expanding beyond our ideas can liberate the impediments to practice.

If nothing else, practice is about change and adaptability. I practice yoga but rarely use a mat. My cushion has been with me for years but I am often meditating without it. What my practice looked like 10 years ago or 5 years ago is vastly different than what it is today. A sense of fluidity and flow is necessary in establishing a practice.

My daily practice has always included some form of work with my body. If I strip my physical practice to its heart what lies within is the practice of meditation. The physical form may vary but the awareness that I bring to that form cultivates practice.

We do not meditate to become good meditators. We meditate so we can show up in our life with the qualities we cultivate in practice. When we cultivate the mind of meditation, this presence and attention naturally spills over from our mat into our life. The parameters of our practice blur. Our practice is no longer strictly defined by the time we spend sitting on a cushion. One of the most important qualities we establish in a daily practice is that of showing up. This is no small feat.

I recently took part in a workshop at the Shambala Center in NYC; Running With the Mind of Meditation.

A group of like-minded souls gathered on a Sunday afternoon. For this brief moment in time we became a small sangha weaving our way through the chaotic streets of Manhattan, running with the mind of meditation. Running has been a practice of mine for 25 years. Most of my running is done alone. Running in community fed my heart, not just as some cardio workout, but through the spark of devotion in every heart I ran with that day.

It was that spark of dedication from each heart that showed up that fed my soul. Each one of us took time out of a Sunday afternoon and made the effort to meet in the heart of the city to run and meditate. We showed up. And that touched my heart.

And that is what a daily practice asks of us. To show up.

To show up when we don’t want to. To show up when we are tired. To show up when we are pissed off. To show up when showing up is the last thing we want to do.

But is this not the same thing that life asks of us? That we must ask of ourselves?

What inspires a daily practice?

Show up and find out.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

If you would like to delve deeper into the art of practice show up for the Empowerment Camp at Feathered Pipe in Montana next summer where Michael Lennox and I are soulfully collaborating to Awaken the Inner Teacher.

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Offering ceremony through the internet transcends previous boundaries, forms and ways of participating. We have an opportunity to connect from all over the world. It is a reflection of the magical and mysterious matrix of which we are all part. I honor and give thanks to each Soul that is called to offer prayers and intentions here to uplift the whole.

As we gather under the darkness of Mama Killa, Grandmother Moon, we open our hearts to give thanks for the bounty of Pachamama and receive the gifts of vision.

This month’s intention for our New Moon Despacho is inspired by the Pachamama Days of Peru. The shamans of the high Andes dedicate the month of August to honoring Pachamama and dreaming the world into being for the year ahead through the despacho ceremony. This ceremony weaves us to powerful visionaries and links our prayers to the collective intent of the paqos, the shaman priests.

When we strip our hearts naked and taste its longing we discover our personal prayers are a call to humanity, a prayer of the collective. The essence of every heart longs to be in union with Spirit, to know the song of its Soul and express that for the good of all while we are here, in this kaypacha, the Earth plane. Our individual prayers become prayers for the collective. My prayers empower your prayers. We uplift each other. This is the meeting ground of ceremony.

We offer our collective hearts to Spirit.
We let go of the attachment of how our visions and dreams
will manifest in the kaypacha.
We cultivate trust in the divine order.
We surrender to the great mystery
so we are no longer guided by the voices of fear,
the limiting belief systems
and old paradigms that have laid false imprints in our minds.
We deepen our connection to Nature
and open the channels to Spirit
as we fearlessly step into the guidance
that is so willingly offered to us.


If you would like to add your prayers and intentions to this New Moon Visioning Despacho create a time and space that feels sacred for you. You will need about 20 minutes to follow this ceremonial video. We start with a short purification ritual followed by a journey of your heart to the year ahead. You are then guided on how to offer your prayers and intent to the qintu (a prayer holder that is placed in the despacho). I suggest viewing on full screen by clicking arrows at bottom right corner of video.

The following suggestions are offered after ceremony to integrate this experience more deeply into your being (these are on the video as well):

  • Create a Sand/Earth painting – gather natural elements such as sticks, stones, flowers. Let these reflect different aspects of your vision. Create a border for your mandala on the Earth and arrange these elements in a meaningful pattern for you. This would be beautiful to anchor in your garden if you have one.
  • Create an Altar for your Visions – dedicate a space with a small cloth or textile and place any objects that symbolize your vision. Feed your altar by lighting a candle, leaving offerings or spending some time in meditation there. An altar will help hold and carry your visions to the year ahead.
  • Express your Creativity – journal about what you feel in your heart or your dreams. Paint, draw or create a collage or vision board of your experience. The artistic expression integrates the experience more deeply into your Soul.

From the bottom of my heart
I bow in gratitude
to the beauty
of each and every heart.
Thank you,
Thank you,
Thank you.

~ Namaste ~

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As much as I love meditating and spend time each day doing it I could never make it through an entire weekend of sitting were it not for a community of like minded Souls dedicated to the very same thing.

Although there was no “theme” for the weekend sesshin that just ended a clear message rang through. It feels worth sharing since this message seems to come through time and again from various, unrelated sources.

Although the retreat this weekend was silent words are spoken during teisho, teachings by the Roshi, and daisan, individual meetings with the teacher. Messages are also received as a felt sense or knowing that comes from the stillness of mind that settles through a group that sits together for an extended time.

From a story of building a zendo in Staten Island after 9/11 to the travels of dust from Africa to North America the theme that emerged through our time of retreat was interdependence. We may still hold fast to the stoic belief I can do it myself but the truth is we accomplish very little on our own. Each of is a unique indivdiual with an authentic expression of who we are and we are empowered in community.

Empty Zendo at Breakfast Time

Empty Zendo at Breakfast Time

During sesshin each individual sits on their own cushion doing their own work. Yet what each individual accomplishes in a sangha or community is far greater than what could be done on their own. It is very difficult, and as for myself impossible to sit for the duration of a weekend if I was attempting to do that on my own. This power of community that shows up in meditation influences all areas of life.

The time of the Lone Ranger is over. Any attachments we have to being an island unto ourself are done. What matters now in the evolution of consciousness is interdependence.

Nature has always known this. Roshi went to great lengths to illustrate this point of interdependence while talking about dust. Dust? Who talks about dust? For most dust is nothing but a nuisance or the catalyst for an allergic reaction. The Scientific Journal studied the significance of dust from a forsaken desert in Africa. When wind currents are just the right speed that dust travels to deposit minerals to fertilize farmland in North America. It is also responsible for the formation of clouds that bring rain. Dust in Africa feeds agriculture on another continent thousands of miles away. Nature knows this deep and intimate interdependence.

Now it is our turn. What we do matters. If we want to dream a different world into being we can not do it alone. I extend an invitation to the upcoming Full Moon Healing Ceremony to join a powerful community of Shamans, Reiki Masters, Medicine Women, Energy Healers, Priestesses, Sister Tribes and Prayer Warriors who will be collectively supporting and empowering your own healing through Ancient Shamanic Ceremony, Prayer Bundles and Distant Healing.

Stay tuned my friends as I share in my next blogpost how the power of community has impacted my dreams.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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After a beautiful and inspiring ceremonial space during our New Moon Despacho, I took a Shamanic Journey to ask for any messages from Spirit on our Awakening and Soul Evolution now. This is that conversation…

Appreciate Nature. Really take in the beauty and wonder of the Natural world. Don’t just look at a sunset and think “Oh look at the colors. They are so beautiful!”. Be in silence and drink this in to your Soul. Feel the beauty of this sunset in you. Become aware of the beauty of all forms in Nature, not as an intellectual pursuit but as a deep sense of appreciation that lands in the core of your Being.

Spend more time with trees, yes trees. Perhaps there is a tree on your property or a tree near where you live. Maybe you pass a certain tree every day. Begin to develop a relationship with this tree. How would you do that? Become a friend  to this tree.

Stop rushing to Enlightenment. There is nothing out there to rush to. Drop the striving, the clinging to some kind of truth just beyond the horizon. That is not where it is.

It is very simple.

In the majesty of a Tree. Really being with a tree. It is that simple.

That can’t possibly be it. Just being with a tree? Just looking at a tree? There has to be more!

But then we miss it. With all the clamoring of wanting more. We miss the experience of what is around us all the time, at every moment. We miss the majesty of the tree. We miss the beauty of the form. We miss the heart of another. We can’t possibly believe this is it. That it is here.

So we keep on missing.


Meditation will elevate Mind.

Meditation will elevate Consciousness.

Meditation will transcend into the Lightness of our Being.

The Light Being that we are.

I am meditating on the side of a mountain, siting on rock, sitting on stone. In another moment I am suspended in midair in the midst of these mountaintops. I can sit in this air because all I am is Light. This Light at the center of my being. This Light that is so light it does not need stone to sit on. This Light that I am needs no ground underneath.

This is what meditation can do for us. Transcend us to the Lightness of our Being.

We must know this Lightness of our Being.

We must know who we are as Spiritual Beings.

We must know the Divinity of our Soul.

This is what Spirit tells us.

AHO my friends! AHO!

Karen Chrappa
Author of A Structure for Spirit

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