Most Popular Stories of 2012

Elevated Existence celebrated an amazing 2012, with bestselling authors on the covers of Elevated Existence Magazine, adding new expert bloggers to our daily news coverage on the Web site, winning a 2012 Gold Folio: Award for Best Single Article in the Spiritual/Religious Consumer Magazine Category, and launching our new YouTube channel, featuring an interview with bestselling author Gregg Braden.

Looking back on the year, we wanted to share with you the 10 most popular stories on our Web site. Bruce Lipton, Caroline Myss, Marianne Williamson and Dr. Wayne Dyer are a few of the authors we featured in the below stories, and there is even a Dr. Oz recipe!

Here they are in order of popularity:

1. Bruce Lipton on 2012 & Healing the Body

2. Oprah Explores How to Navigate Life Purpose With Caroline Myss

3. Marianne Williamson: How the Universe Views Intimate Relationships

4. How & Why to Add Lemon Water to Your Daily Routine

5. Neale Donald Walsch Shares 3 Secrets to Ending Struggle

6. 15 Vegan Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

7. Dr. Wayne Dyer Explains New Book “Wishes Fulfilled”

8. Dr. Brian Weiss Explains Past Life Regression Therapy

9. RECIPE: Dr. Oz’s Fountain of Youth Shake

10. The Secret Behind Many Law of Attraction Experts – The Master Key System

Super Soul Sunday: Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

“Sufism is about love. It’s about the heart. It’s about this extraordinary secret of human beings that within our heart – not our physical heart but our spiritual heart – we have a direct connection to God. And we can experience that directly within the heart through love,” Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee told Oprah in a recent episode of Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network.

Author of the book “Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart,” Vaughan-Lee sat down with Oprah in the garden of her home and explained Sufism is a belief in oneness and love. Not matter what religion a person may practice, Sufism can be a part of that, the author said.

“You can be a Christian, you can be a Buddhist, it doesn’t matter … what matters is how you live your relationship to God,” Vaughan-Lee told Oprah. “God is everything. This is one of the basic experiences not just of Sufism but the core of every mystical path is oneness. Everything is God. There is nothing other than God. We are all part of this great mysterious outpouring of love that we call creation. Everything in creation is an expression of this incredible love. If you go to the core of your being, into the very center of yourself, what do you find there? Either love or longing for love.”

In the book, Vaughan-Lee explains in Sufism there are three journeys – the journey from God, the journey to God and the journey in God. The first – the journey from God – is about forgetfulness because when we come into this physical world, we forget our Divine nature. But for many, there comes a time when something wakes them up, and they begin their journey to God, he said.

Reaching the journey in God is realizing there is nothing other than God. This can be an experience of oneness or even an experience of love, the author explained. “You live what God wants you to live without an eye that says what about me.”

Oprah pointed out that for many, the journey to spirituality can be painful, and often it is a tragedy or trauma that opens the door to the spiritual path. Vaughan-Lee believes this is because the heart needs to break open.

“Most people are so closed. They are so contracted, it’s all about me, me, me … one has to learn humility. You have to learn patience. You have to learn that it isn’t about you, and those are all painful lessons, and we don’t learn them so easily [as] human beings,” he told Oprah.

Both Oprah and Vaughan-Lee pointed out the world is in a state of longing, as are most people. Many look to material things or situations around them in order to fill this void, but what they are truly seeking is love.

“It’s a hunger for something that is real. All these things, all these material things, they don’t satisfy our soul. They may give us a moment of pleasure … they don’t nourish our soul,” Vaughan-Lee explained. “There is this longing and people sometimes mistake it for depression … we have lost the understanding of longing and so [people] project it. They want a new pair of shoes. They want a new boyfriend. They want something, and they do not realize it will not satisfy this hunger in the heart.”

The author also spoke about the ego, and what he called “crucifying the ego,” in order to know God. In Sufism, they talk about dying before death, and this is about the ego.

“For most people the ego is the king … [But] there is something else. There is this Divine part of you that you can be guided by, you can connect with, that can give you the help, the grace, the nourishment, the meaning that you need. It’s the soul that gives us meaning in life,” he explained.

Right now the world and our planet are in a moment of crisis, said Vaughan-Lee. We have forgotten that everything is sacred – every leaf, every tree and everything around us, he noted, explaining he would like people to remember the world belongs to God, not to us.

“Part of my practice, and the practice I try to teach people is in your prayers remember the world to God, feel it in your heart, the suffering world and offer it to God because God is the greatest power. God is the greatest healer. God is the only real truth. And then maybe out of this world of forgetfulness there can become remembrance, and then the world can respond and something can be born again.”

If you missed the episode with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee you can watch it at the Super Soul Sunday Web site.

Super Soul Sunday: Michael Singer’s “The Untethered Soul”

We listen to it all day, every day. The voice in our head that interprets, judges, thinks and basically talks to us about everything. Aside from getting quiet in meditation, this voice never really shuts off – and even during meditation it can be a challenge.

In the early 1970s, as an economic student studying for his doctorate, author of the book “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself,” Michael Singer had a realization about this voice, which literally changed the way he viewed it and everything else in his life. He realized it wasn’t really him that was talking. He was the observer of the voice, which was his “psyche and not his soul,” according to Oprah Winfrey, who interviewed him on a recent episode of Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network.

“There is something we listen to on a regular basis. The problem is we think it’s us. For example you look at a vase and you say, ‘That is a very interesting shape, but I don’t like the color very much. It reminds me of my grandmother’s vase,’ and all of the sudden we have somebody narrating and talking inside your head. That’s not you,” he told Oprah. “You are not the thought. You are the one watching it.”

In the book, Singer encourages the reader to ask themselves two questions – “Who m I?” and “What is that voice in my head?” He believes this is a key step toward spiritual development.

The answer is, we are the one who notices our thoughts and emotions, or whatever is in front of our senses. “I am the seer. I am the one who sees,” he told Oprah, explaining what he calls “the lucid self.” Similar to a lucid dream, where we are dreaming, but are aware we are in a dream.

“You are more conscious in that dream then you normally would be. In a sense you are awake within the dream. That is what the lucid self is,” he explained. “Now do that in your real life … your mind is continuing, life is following in front of you, and you are aware that your mind is moving. the world is unfolding but your seat of consciousness is transcendent to that – its centered at a deeper level, and all of it just goes right by and you don’t have the same relationship with it that you used to have. It’s something your watching not something you are.”

So how do we handle problems in our life as they arise? We can do one of two things – lean into the problem and get involved or lean away from it, Singer said.

“The moment it starts with that chitter chatter in the mind, my first reaction inside is to relax and lean away from that,” he told Oprah. “What you will start to do is get some space, and you will learn over time that’s the smartest thing your ever did. Why? Because you gave it room to pass through, and it will pass right through.”

In doing this, we are operating from what he calls “the seat of the self.” We begin to realize we are causing the majority of our problems due to our own mental reactions to life. We have the right to choose not do this, he said.

“Still go to work. Still take care of the kids. But lean away from this mess that the mind is doing to amplify and overemphasis or over exaggerate whatever is going on … what will happen is when you let go of the noisy mind, you end up in the seat of quiet – because what is back there is quiet. My experience is that now you can look at reality and you will know what to do,” Singer noted.

Dealing With Fear
One of the biggest things many people fear is change. This is because we have gone to the mind and said to ourselves, “I’m not OK. How does everything need to be for me to be OK?” Singer said. Then we devote ourselves to creating the situations we need in order to be OK. When things start changing around us that don’t match what we believe let’s us be OK, then we get scared.

“People don’t realize fear is a thing. You can either push it away and avoid it and be scared of it, or you can let it go and let it pass right through,” Singer said. “Fear comes up out of your heart. It’s a very natural thing. It’s human. You’re watching and you see it. You have the right to relax and let it pass right through you. If you don’t do that, you’re going to try and fix it. You’re going to try and control situations outside so you don’t ever feel the fear, and it all starts to bother you.”

The alternative is to not fight with life by learning “how to interface and interact with life in a wholesome, participatory way. Fear doesn’t let you do that,” he said.

Removing Your Inner Thorn
In a chapter with the above title, Singer explains how to let go or remove what he calls inner thorns. These are triggers or situations that cause us pain. Comparing these to actual thorns, he asked if we had a thorn directly on a nerve, where anything that touched it caused pain, what would we do?

“You have two choices. One is you could try to avoid everything thing in your life that touches that thorn, or you could take it out,” he said. “That is the game that we play. ‘How do I build a life that avoids touching all this stuff that happened to me that I can’t handle. When it happened to me I couldn’t handle it and now its caused all these soft spots inside of me – thorns – so now I have to train everybody around me so they don’t ever touch it.’”

But we can choose instead to remove these thorns the same way we would remove an actual thorn from our body. This is the spiritual journey, said Singer. When we are disturbed by something in life, we can become aware of our thorns.

“Just like pain happens when you hit the thron outside, disturbance happens inside,” he said. “When something hits it, you will feel a disturbance pop up inside of you. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be disturbed? Do I like being disturbed?’ No, so you have a choice. An event happened outside and [you] can deal with it without being disturbed. In fact I can promise you that [you] can deal with it better without being disturbed. Disturbance isn’t helping you. Disturbance is hurting you. And so you are way better off learning how to deal with the disturbance. That is also how you remove the throne. They are directly related. The fact that the situation outside stimulated this disturbance inside of you means that you’ve uncovered something stored inside of you that needs to come out.”

It is our problems in life that help us on our spiritual path, the same way pain in the body alerts us to an issue that something needs attention, he told Oprah.

“It’s like if your body started to hurt, you don’t say ‘shut up,’ you say ‘I wonder what’s wrong.’ It’s trying to talk to you,” he noted. That is your heart trying to tell you something is wrong inside of you. How do you get it out? You relax and it will work itself out. That is my experience. Relax and don’t touch it. Relax behind it, and it will come up and push its own way out. It’s almost as if your heart doesn’t want that inside, and so just like the body pushes splinters out, it will try to push itself out but you won’t let it because the moment it tries to push it out, you push it back down.”

When we lean back and relax enough times, eventually the spirit or soul within us begins to grow and take over that voice in our head. This spirit is God, and we grow closer to it each time. Then our issues will begin to fall away, he explains.

Singer learned this first-hand when, as the founder of a multi-million dollar software company, he found himself in a corporate scandal and being investigated by the government. He was the CEO, and the entire executive team was accused of fraud because of one employee who was guilty.

“From the moment that took place, peace came over me, and I just rested back into it and my attitude was, ‘My god this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to let go of anything that is left of me.’ There was a part of me that would never want to be in that situation because I didn’t do anything. [But] I let go of the whole personality of Michael Singer. I felt that God was reaching down to pull whatever was left of me ego out.”

His executive team and he defended themselves, and the charges were dropped before a trial, but it dragged on for six years, he told Oprah. It was during this time that he wrote the book “The Untethered Soul.”

“You must die to be reborn. You must be willing to let go of your personal self, of your psychological self, of the complaining voice … in order to be who you are. You must let go of who you think you are. That is what is meant by that [quote]. You meditate so that you will have the center so you can let go of what life is doing. The real growth is letting go,” he said.


Super Soul Sunday: Marianne Williamson on “A Return to Love”

It was 20 years ago that best-selling author Marianne Williamson appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show with her book “A Return to Love,” based on the principles in “A Course in Miracles.” Since then, it has sold more than a million and a half copies, been published in 23 languages, and spent 39 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

And today, the book remains “as timely now as ever,” said Oprah on a recent Super Soul Sunday discussion with the author.

“In a Course in Miracles it says the thought system of the human race is dominated by fear, and it has been for ages and so enlightenment is an unlearning of the thought system based on fear, and instead the acceptance of a thought system based on love,” Williamson explained. “Love is about letting go of the fears that stand in front of our hearts and letting in the love, and then acting from that.”

Reading from book Oprah said: “The reason so many of us are obsessed with becoming stars is because we are not yet starring in our own lives. The cosmic spotlight isn’t pointed at you, it radiates from within you,” which sparked a discussion about the law of attraction and obtaining what we want in life. Williamson had an answer for her.

“A lot of this talk of ‘if you think it you can get it’ … the difference between magic and miracles is that magic is when you use your mind to tell the universe what you want. Miracles are when you ask the universe what it wants and how you can serve it,” she said, explaining every one of us has an individualized curriculum for their lives, and we are constantly learning – even when we are waiting for the next thing that we believe will make us happy.

“A lot of times people think, ‘I want another relationship or another experience or another job,’ in order for ‘it’ to be happening, but ‘it’ is our being the people that we are capable of being, and the perfect lesson for us to practice being who we are capable of being is whatever is happening now … people think some day my path will start, but whatever is happening in this moment is the path,” she told Oprah.

The Course says a miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love, but when our hearts are closed off, we are “deflecting the miracle which would otherwise be happening,” said Williamson.

A practice she shared with Oprah is for us to open our hearts is to ask, “Who do I need to forgive? Where am I holding a grudge? Where am I not giving? Because only what I’m not giving can be lacking in any situation. Where am I showing up with attitude? Where am I showing up with unkindness?”

In her workshops, she often sends people home with the homework of praying for whomever they consider an enemy or someone who betrayed them or hurt them. She asks they do this for 30 days, every morning for at least 5 minutes if they can.

“The course says your greatest power to change the world is your power to change your mind about the world,” she explained. “Our minds are joined. There really is no place where you stop and I start, so if I pray for you, if I pray for your happiness, either you will behave differently or I won’t care.”

She also explained what she called “Divine Compensation,” (she has a new book based on this coming out in November) where if anyone does something to harm us, the universe jumps right on it because it is “self-organizing and self-correcting.” This means the universe will make sure that if something is taken from us from another person in the material world, it will be given back us. But if our hearts remained closed, we won’t be open to receive it.

“Just like the embryo turns into a baby and the bud blossoms, your life is already programmed in the mind of God to its highest creative possibility,” she said. “Everything fabulous that could happen is already programmed in the ethers of the universe. The blueprint is already there.”

Oprah asked, “So does it matter then what I do?” and Williamson said it matters that your heart is open and that you are coming from a place of love and not fear.

“It’s like a file in a computer. If my heart’s not open, I don’t download the possibility on earth as it is in heaven. It’s a file – an undeletable file – but if I don’t bring it down to the screen, if I stay in bitterness, what I’ll get on the screen is bitter. That doesn’t mean it’s not on the computer. And the title of this file is “God’s will.”

It’s not the circumstances in life that make us unhappy, it’s that we are looking at them through the filter of fear, Williamson told Oprah. The prayer she uses from the Course is “Dear God, I am willing to see this differently.”

Another practice she recommended is to “blast them with love.” This means, before we go into a meeting, on a job interview, or anything else in life, we send love in our minds to the people and the situation. We can say, “the only thing going on here is, I am going to bless that person, they are going to bless me. I don’t know if I’m supposed to get that job. My only agenda is that God’s will be done – the downloading of the file,” she said.

For more on Marianne Williamson, see our coverage of her live workshop in Los Angeles called “Enchanted Love,” looking at “A Course in Miracles” view of intimate relationships, which is the cover story of our June 2012 issue.

Oprah Explores How to Navigate Life Purpose With Caroline Myss

Born in Chicago and raised catholic, best-selling author Caroline Myss discovered she was an intuitive at the age of 8, and today is a well-known medical intuitive, teacher and author of books including “Anatomy of the Spirit” and “Sacred Contracts.”

Myss recently sat down with Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday where the two discussed intuition, life purpose, and navigating our own spiritual path. Oprah started off the discussion by by asking Myss to define “spirit.”

“Your spirit is the part of you that is seeking meaning and purpose,” Myss told Oprah. “Another way to understand spirit is that it’s the part of you that is drawn to hope … that will not give into despair. The part of you that has to believe in goodness, that has to believe in something more.”

In life, we are given choices, and our intuition or inner guidance system, is there to help us navigate these choices. “We have an intuitive voice with us. We are all born intuitive,” said Myss, explaining in every moment, with every choice, we can either choose to enhance our life or drain it.

Oprah read the following from the author’s best-selling book “Anatomy of Spirit:” “From a spiritual perspective, in fact, the entire physical world is nothing more than a classroom, but the challenge to each one of us in this classroom is will you make the choices that enhance your spirit or those that drain your power.”

We need to view everything in our life as a learning lesson as we seek to find our truth, purpose and path in life – and then stay on that path once we find it. Are you enhancing or draining because “there is nothing in between,” these two, said Myss. It’s either a choice of fear or a choice of love.

“Even if your in a grocery store and your thinking ‘Should I buy this or not?’ and your gut says ‘You know you can’t eat that!’ and you decide ‘I’m not going to listen to that voice.’ Right there, even in that tiny thing, you’ve walked toward fear because you blocked your intuitive voice,” she explained.

Myss believes each person is born with a purpose for being alive in this physical world and she calls these “sacred contracts.” This is not a literal document, but a “spiritual document” our soul recognizes, she said. Many people say: “I just have to be true to myself” or have a knowing that they just have to do something. That “knowingness” is the soul recognizing its path, she noted.

“You have fundamental agreements that you simply feel and you can’t put your finger on them because they reveal themselves to you within the context of your life, through coincidence, through synchronicity, through obligations you can’t get out of, through mad love you can’t stop no matter what you do,” Myss told Oprah. “These are all parts of your sacred contracts that form the whole of your contract.”

Despite these contracts, many people remain confused about their purpose for being here, or wonder if they are truly on the right path. In her book “Anatomy of Spirit,” Myss says: “People suffer when they pursue a life or chase a dream that doesn’t belong to them.”

She told Oprah we often become fixated on something and believe we have to have it, when in actuality, the dream or goal doesn’t belong to us. “In society we are taught to imitate what doesn’t belong to us,” she said, explaining that knowing if we are on the right path is not as difficult as many people think.

“Have no judgments about your life, no expectations, and give up the need to know what happens tomorrow,” Myss said. “Be fully present and appreciate all that is in your life now.”

However, for many who are suffering after losing a job, struggling to pay a mortgage, or getting over a breakup, this can be difficult to embrace. When Oprah asked what she would say to these people, Myss replied:

“I need to say to you, you had your life focused on something that didn’t belong to you, and a path that didn’t belong to you … or you wouldn’t be here [now]. You locked in on something that did not belong to you, or someone that didn’t belong to you. You didn’t let go of a yesterday that didn’t belong to you. You hung on to a rage that did belong to you, and you wouldn’t let it go. You lost track of being here or something happened to you and you said this to yourself – ‘it shouldn’t have happened’ and you never got over it.”

Additionally, many people assume when they go through troubled times it’s a sign they are on the wrong path, but often things we deem “bad” can turn out to be exactly what we needed, she said. It’s about remaining true to who we are and making choices that enhance not drain our spirit.

“There is a lot more pain that comes from answered prayers then unanswered ones,” Myss noted. “If people really got what they wanted, they would be in deep grief. This is why they say ‘be careful what you pray for, you might get it.’ There is a lot of wisdom to say just trust. I don’t [always] know what it in my own best interest.”

She also explained we are never really on the “wrong path,” there are just times when we are not navigating or “managing” our path well. “Your making choices that are harming you, and that is why it’s hurting you right now. You are making unwise choices. When your lifepath begins to harm you, then we have to sit back and say – we’ve taken a detour.”

You know you are managing your path well when you don’t put yourself in a position to betray yourself, she told Oprah. If we are in a situation that we feel we are giving away our power, draining our psyche or compromising our integrity, we need to reevaluate.

“You can be physically tired, but not psychicly drained. If you are, you are betraying yourself in some way,” she said, explaining we are all aware – if we are honest with ourselves – when we are betraying our true self.

“It’s that voice that says, ‘You shouldn’t have said that.’ It’s the voice of your conscience, consciousness and gut instinct. It’s the voice you don’t want to hear that never turns off. When you follow this voice and push, it’s the part that keeps us moving and turning the wheel of our life. It will guide you.”

Watch the full episode with Caroline Myss online, and tune in this Sunday for a new episode with Deepak Chopra and bishop T.D. Jakes on the OWN Network, online and on Facebook.

And read our coverage of Oprah’s interview with Devon Franklin and Sarah Ban Breathnach!


Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday: Sarah Ban Breathnach

Every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, Oprah Winfrey brings audiences a new inspirational interview on her OWN Network with the show Super Soul Sunday, and this Sunday she interviewed the  New York Times best-selling author of “Simple Abundance” Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Although she sold 7 million copies of the book worldwide, the author shares with Oprah how she found herself completely broke and on her sister’s doorstep with only one suitcase and her cat.

While she had appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show nine times, and Oprah credits her for being “the reason I write in my gratitude journal to this day,” 15 years after her success she lost it all. “It took moving everything to help her find herself,” Oprah said.

She shares her experience and the lessons she learned in her book “Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity.”

“I think that I speak truth, and I speak it lovingly, and that I acknowledge my own mistakes,” Breathnach told Oprah about writing the book. “I’ve made every money mistake a woman could make personally and in business.”

Once a freelance writer living paycheck to paycheck, she wrote “Simple Abundance” about finding gratitude in every moment, and it spent more than two years on the NY Times best-seller list.

“What simple abundance did for me is to ritualize, to bring into my life on a daily basis the experience of practicing gratitude,” Oprah shared.

But one day, after 119 weeks on the NY Times list, the call that came every Wednesday to report she had made the list again … did not come.

Looking back, as wealth hit Breathnach, she realizes she was not prepared for it, and also admits she never thought it would all go away.  “I really thought it would continue because I was putting out the best that I could do. I did not slack,” she told Oprah.

She now says “wild spending,” including the purchase of Isaac Newton’s Chapel as a home for her to write, bad investments and a costly divorce contributed to her downfall.

When she wrote “Simple Abundance,” she explained she was only looking to change her own life, and had no idea she would touch the lives of so many women. She took the same approach with her book “Peace & Plenty.” Her goal was to save her own life. “It was written to be a healing to myself,” she said.

Breathnach also shared how her tumultuous and emotionally abusive marriage contributed to her downfall. “He told me I was no good with money… he was very forceful and he said his background was in money, but he wasn’t earning any money… I didn’t realize it. He said he was an independent businessman.”

She admits she started to believe the “angry, vicious” things he would say to her, and she “didn’t want to admit that I had made a disastrous mistake.” Once she finally asked him why he was being so cruel, he admitted the money was gone, and she realized that was the reason he was with her.

Finally, her daughter came over and surprised her for Christmas and told her she was worried about her. She said: “Mom he is sucking the life out of you. He is not making you happy” Breathnach explained. When she responded “I don’t know how to help myself,” her daughter said, “Mom, you’ve helped millions of women. I’ll help you help yourself.”

That is how she ended up on her sister’s doorstep. “I have really learned about surrender. I have really learned that lesson now,” she said to Oprah.

So what is her greatest spiritual lesson? “Guard your heart. Watch your treasures. For what is your treasure will be your heaven on earth,” she said.

Oprah ended the interview with a the Q & A segment transcribed below:

Oprah: What is the soul?
Breathnach: The soul is the spiritual essence of who we really are.

Oprah: What is your definition of God?
Breathnach: Everything.

Oprah: What is the difference between spirituality and religion?
Breathnach: Religion says there is only one way to heaven, spirituality says choose the one that brings you joy.

Oprah: What does prayer mean to you?
Breathnach: Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Prayer is the constant conversation with God. And it is the most passionate conversation I have with anybody?

Oprah: Where do you feel most at home or at peace with yourself?
Breathnach: With my animals.

Oprah: What do you think we happens when we die?
Breathnach: I hope I get to say “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow,” – for me that is the greatest gift (Steve Jobs) has given to me personally because I thought if Steve Jobs could say “oh wow” as he is going towards heaven, then wow.

To watch clips from the interview, visit the Super Soul Sunday Web site, and tune into OWN next Sunday for Oprah’s interview with DeVon Franklin.