the spirit of giving danielle van de velde

How The Spirit of Giving Generates Flow

The Spirit of Giving
How the act of Giving generates Flow

I don’t know about you, but this time of year can be quite fraught for me. There’s the end of year whirlwind with work, accounts, school activities, and reminders of all the things I didn’t get to, through the year (gulp!). Then finally, when we make it through the December crush, the preparations (and spend) for time at home, with family and friends and the mad scramble to organise gifts, sets in. In the Season of Giving, we can so easily lose our connection with the Spirit of Giving itself.

The true Spirit of Giving doesn’t require a big budget or lots of preparation time.

The Spirit of Giving is actually a lens through which to view our life and our connection to it, and it is one of the most potent forces we have at our disposal to generate flow.

Flow is when our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits are aligned and connected with our life field, consciously. When we are in a state of flow, we are happy and in my observation, people who operate in flow are well, vital, grateful, successful and fulfilled.  

Being in flow doesn’t mean we don’t experience challenges; this is simply the nature of life. But it does mean that we move through them quite differently – with presence and grace. Flow allows a momentum, which steers us into higher possibilities because flow brings the realisation that we, our life field, our relationships and all that we experience, are inextricably linked. Flow also enables greater flow. Just like how a healthy flowing river shapes and widens its banks, flow expands our awareness and capacity and vastly changes our inner landscape and connection with life.

People come to my meditation classes and healing sessions for all sorts of reasons. But if I were to distil those reasons down, I could say that most of them are related to a disconnection with flow. This disconnection may be presenting as a physical illness, or low vitality, or a feeling of lack in love and abundance, or a lack of sense of purpose. These seem to be the big four and when we are out of flow we see these aspects as separate from us, as things to be attained and held on to, as things that we lack. And, we sense our life is blocked or stagnant in some way. When we are disconnected from flow, we are disconnected from life.

the art of giving 2 danielle van de velde

Vitality, love, abundance and fulfilment are aspects of flow and giving them unconditionally and consciously triggers their movement into and through our life experience, and it has a multiplier effect.  

It generates the flow of these energies not only through us, but also through those we engage with, in the Spirit of Giving. When others experience giving, they are more likely to give. Just like how rivers flow, join with other rivers and all converge in the sea.

Here are some simple ways to connect with the Spirit of Giving and generate flow. 

Remember, this is energy work and so it’s not the size or expense of the gift itself, but the conscious expression of the Spirit of Giving that holds all the power. When we view vitality, abundance, love and purpose as fields of energy, rather than states of being, then we can become empowered to bring their influence and presence into our lives, by giving them to others. We are, in essence, generators.

If you are feeling a lack of love or acknowledgment:

  • Send a message or make a call to someone you love when they pop through your mind or when you dream of them.
  • Say ‘I Love you’ to loved ones when they say or do something that stirs your heart. Just say it more anyway.
  • Consciously express gratitude when you are touched by someone else or given a gift. Don’t leave it till too late – return that energy in full.
  • Once a week, do something caring for someone without any reason, fanfare, or expectation of reciprocation.
  • Practice Brahmavihara Cultivation. This is one of the beautiful meditations covered in my online meditation course Return.

If you are feeling a lack of abundance in your life:

  • Nurture gratitude for the things you have and enjoy what’s around you. A gratitude journal is great for this.
  • Be generous whenever you can. Shout your friend that coffee. Invite friends to share a meal at your table.
  • Recycle unused items in your home. Even if it is your favourite dress, but you haven’t worn it in two years, give it to someone who will.
  • Regularly encourage your children to do the same with outgrown toys and books.
  • Volunteer your time to people in need. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but the action itself will trigger the flow of abundance. Just try it and see!
  • Practice heart-centered meditations like gratitude contemplation, for example. Gratitude Cultivation is covered in my online meditation course Discovery. And eight beautiful heart-centered meditations are coming your way soon in my next online meditation series Heart Light. 

If you are feeling a lack of vitality or illness in your life:

  • Give your body the rest, nutrients and sunshine it needs.
  • Give your sound-scape positive energy. Stop complaining and use the mantra: “I am healthy and vital by design and sovereign right.”
  • Nurture a positive attitude towards your body and your body will start to express it.
  • Recognize the health and vitality in others around you and express it to them.
  • Gift your home with symbols of vitality. Bring in fresh flowers, herbs and fruits.
  • Make one small change to your daily habit that improves the health of the Earth. Recycle, take your cloth bags for grocery shopping, switch from plastics to biodegradables where possible. Our vitality is linked directly to the vitality of the Earth.
  • Give vitality-related gifts to your friends. Bake an organic cake. If you see some beautiful mangoes at the market, buy an extra for your work colleague.
  • Practice body-based meditations like Yoga Nidra. See my online meditation course Return for this.

If you are feeling a lack of purpose

  • Give yourself time to pursue activities that make your heart sing; that you love. The clues to your soul-purpose lie in what inspires you and makes you vibrate.
  • Practice meditation to draw into presence and to know yourself and your design and talents. This is what Discovery is all about.
  • Give your attention to other purpose-led people around you and acknowledge that aspect in them.

the ripples of the heart are endless danielle van de velde

And remember, when you choose any one of my offerings, you are contributing to a much larger river of goodwill that supports many others and the environment. You can find out more about my goodwill focus here, which is an essential energetic aspect of my business and personal life, which I know generates flow. I wrote about giving and business in my blog post How Cultivating a Spirit of Giving is Good for Business.

These small simple expressions of the Spirit of Giving generate flow and engage us consciously with life and others.

Let the Season of Giving begin!


If you have any questions or thoughts about the spirit of giving and how it can benefit your life, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

Spirit Biz

Spirit Biz

Six surprising synergies between spiritual practice and successful business

Within the range of clients that engage me privately and attend my esoteric courses, there’s a vibrant community of entrepreneurs. These are people who are seeking to work with the energetic dynamics that create success in their business endeavours. It’s a form of engagement that I call ‘Generative Magic’. 

The word ‘Magic’ has all sorts of connotations and misconceptions surrounding it. For many, there is very little in common between what they perceive magical practice to be, and hard-nosed, on the ground, measurable ‘business’. However, the dynamics of business and magic have a lot more in common than what may be understood and it’s a growing area of interest in my world and offering that yields incredible results.

So what am I talking about when I say ‘Magic’? The understanding of ‘Magic’ is so often skewed by its trappings, the rituals, the objects, the famous characters and the encoded language that has developed to keep its secrets safe from persecution. However, at its heart, ‘Magic’ is a state of being and a way to engage from an expanded perspective on what the human system actually is and the true energetic nature of life. There’s a third aspect to the human physical/psyche system, which is the spiritual aspect, and the disruption of 2020 has more and more people seeking to connect with it.   

When we operate from our full, integrated self in our personal lives and also in business, a whole new program uploads where we consciously create our experiences. All forms of ‘Magic’, at their core, hold a process of ‘inner alchemy’, an alignment between all aspects of the self – the mental/emotional field, the body and actions, and the energy/spirit field. When this inner alignment is achieved and applied to a given goal, change is generated.

This happens because the magical perspective on self and life is that our inner terrain and our experienced terrain are actually one self-organising system. The well-known axiom ‘as above, so below, as within so without, as the universe so the soul’ is worked with as a literal set-up. Understanding this, changes the rules of engagement completely. And, rather than experiencing life, relationships, business, events, opportunities as ‘happening to us’, instead we are put right back in the driver’s seat and work with experience as ‘issuing from us’ and ‘happening for us’. 

Magic is about consciously aligning the engine of self – Intent, Desire and Will, and from that central state, generating patterns that our outer experience then rhymes with or reflects back to us. It’s the only way to roll! It requires work and taking full responsibility for everything…but Magic or not, isn’t that the truth of each of our lives?

So how does magical practice work in a business context? Here are six key synergies (of many) that can help illuminate the dynamic.

Business Vision AKA Field of Intent

In typical business practice, the translation of Vision to Action is largely a linear one. The founding team will gather and define the vision for the business, which then translates to the strategic plan, which translates to the business plan, which translates to the action plan, measures, accountabilities, and KPIs. Yet within the linear translation, so often, the passion for the original vision can get diluted and become somewhat disconnected to the activity, until the next team away day when the vision is resurrected and redefined.

The requirement for a vision is key in any magical working, however, with one major difference. The vision is generated as a living Field of Intent. That is, it is activated energetically and becomes a governing field of influence over every thought, feeling, word, action, and choice. Rather than a linear process, the Field of Intent sets up the hologram of activity and energy that influences all activity and brings the result to bear. It is the end result, in etheric form.

Alignment AKA Core Intent Discovery

Finding and connecting with the key motivational force of the vision in business is fundamental, and often misaligned. This step is in the arena of what Simon Sinek beautifully teaches, about ‘finding your why’. The ‘why’ is where the passion engine resides. And I often see entrepreneurs state their ‘whys’ according to what they feel might be acceptable or in line with the latest buzz thinking in their sectors. But the ‘why’ is deeply personal to the founders of the business or practitioner. It’s not how it appears that’s important, it’s how it feels and whether it is tapping the key motivational force for all activity. It’s the lifeline that keeps the energy moving through the company and the working.

When working with business clients, I give them the license to state their truth in this area. For some, their start-up is all about giving back, making a difference, changing the world. If there’s a strong 100% voltage in this, they’re ready to roll. However, so often when this wonderful altruistic-sounding ‘why’ feels misaligned, I will guide them through a process called Core Intent Discovery. Very often they will find that what they thought was their key motivation is actually one of several measures of their success, and their Core Intent is far more basic and raw, like, to make a six-figure turnover within the first year of operation, or to dominate the sector for their offering, or to satisfy a long-held desire to personally succeed. 

Our inner dimensions of Intent, Desire and Will are a lot like different teams within a business. If the visionaries, passionate creatives and action-oriented doers are out of alignment, productivity falters and conflict arises. It is the same with our minds, hearts and wills internally. These require alignment, collusion and mutual space and respect to fire on all energetic cylinders.

Whatever the individual core intent for the vision is, it has to be honest and on the mark. When it is found, the Field of Intent is connected with its power source and this generates movement towards the goal.

Accountability AKA Uniting the Will

Accepting full responsibility for all experienced events, whether they be personal or in business, is perhaps the area of Spirit Biz that requires the most introspection and work. In businesses, accountability is mandated through linking KPIs and performance reviews to reward; a kind of carrot and stick approach. In spiritual practice, a ‘United Will’ is the only state through which generative patterns can be strongly emanated to affect change. This process, in esoteric practice, is known as Metanoia – to ‘reverse the flow’. It is a form of inner alignment and transmutation of beliefs and fears in relation to the experience of our goal that has inhibited its realisation to date.

We may have a well-crafted vision of bringing a new and unique offering to the market. However, if somewhere within our system we are buying into a belief that we may not have the ability to do so, or we may not be ‘that unique’ or perhaps we hold a fear that success will expose us to the public or disrupt our lives, then the pattern we emanate into the Field of Intent is dysmorphic and will yield less than optimal results. Metanoia requires the practitioner to jettison stories of ‘why’ their desired field has not manifested, to jettison blame or victimhood, and accept fully their ultimate creative capacity, even if they have been creating less desirable results to date. 

This process creates an inner alignment and recentering into the power of the self and the Field of Intent. When Intent, Desire and Will are working in collusion, in equal measure and emanation, a highly magnetic force is generated which shifts reality. 

Networks of Influence AKA Fields of Influence

When starting any new business venture or start-up, networking and associations with like-minded, successful commentators, operators and influencers in the related field and markets of the business, are essential. All savvy entrepreneurs know and do this. A very similar synergy is worked with in spiritual business practice, in the external relational networks, but also, and more importantly, with energetic Fields of Influence.

The existence of large energetic morphic Fields of Influence is acknowledged in most spiritual frameworks. In Shamanism, they are acknowledged through the elemental and animal medicines. In religions, they are represented through pantheons of gods and goddesses, saints and prophets. In Western Magic traditions, they present in planetary deities and nature spirits; in Eastern traditions, they appear in Core Fields, avatars and spirit guides.

Fields of Influence are like living repositories of expertise that can be connected with, for guidance and influence of affairs. They are accessed within, through the deep mind in certain forms of meditative practice. Some examples of Fields of Influence I have personally worked with to reinvent my business offering during 2020 have been: Creativity, Expansion and Reach, Enablement, Activated Communications, Deals and Contracts. Working with Fields of Influence wakes up latent expertise within and can vastly affect connections, collaborations and the emergence of new pathways.

Logo AKA Sigil/Seal

The development of the symbolic representation of any business is, for me, one of the most enjoyable processes of any new venture. Brand architecture and the resultant logo design is in itself a wonderfully clarifying process and there are some incredible brand outfits who have mastered the art.

At the outset of a new business venture, it is often an outlay that requires a commitment of faith before revenues can justify the spend. And for this reason, the symbolic representation of the vision can so often get short-changed. However, in the world of Spirit Biz, the logo takes on a whole new dynamic. 

The word ‘sigil’ is an old English word that derives from its Latin root ‘sigillum’ which means sign or seal. Sigils marked the banners, wax seals and castles of the ancient world and not only represented lineages and tribal cultures, but held within them the power of the sovereigns that owned them. They are regarded as activated representations of the power of their originators, a force within themselves. They are evident in every spiritual framework around the world. Hieroglyphs, yantras, runes, planetary symbols, religious symbols, even our alphabet and symbolic art are all forms of Sigils. 

In spiritual practice, Sigils are creative enfoldments of intent, energy and correspondences which, when activated, generate energetic shifts in our lives. They are one of my favourite tools for creating change and magnetising outcomes, especially in business. When a logo is understood in a spiritual context, it gives a whole new impetus to branding.

Responsiveness and adaptability AKA Flow

If 2020 has taught the business world anything, it has been that agility and adaptability in strategy, direction and momentum are paramount for success. All of us, in many ways, have had to assess what elements of our business needed rerouting or changed formats to keep operating and retain existing client bases and perhaps access new ones. 

For my business, it has meant shifting offerings on-line, into new creative formats and across varied platforms. It has also required a massive and swift upscaling of my website, content, rankings and social media presence. All of which, I engaged with through Generative Magic.

In a year that has seen the sad demise or shelving of many new businesses, my small business has gone online, gone global, jumped in rankings, nearly tripled its client base and managed an increase in revenues. And this is despite the larger paying work of in-house corporate and school programs, retreats and large group gatherings being suspended for the most part of the year. My offerings are now listed on Spotify and InsightTimer app and I was approached and signed by one of the biggest spiritual trade publishers in the world for a four-book deal recently. 

In periods of high uncertainty, Spirit Biz works best, because from a magical perspective, when everything is uncertain, everything is possible. The energy of wholesale disruption can be leveraged and directed with greater power. The key to working with this dynamic is to remain entirely in energetic flow. And to do this, a perspective of command and ultimate trust in the axioms of Magic must be embodied. It takes some work, as very often it’s a deconditioning of well-carved reactive patterns as to what we previously would have perceived as ‘a dead end’, ‘a block’, ‘an obstacle’.  Once the process is imbued with Spirit, every single event is within the process, even if it appears to counter it. Our ability to maintain positive energy, to welcome all events, to perceive changes in direction as necessary new pathways, ‘obstacles’ as necessary redirections, and deadends as invitations to choose alternatives that are in line with the vision, helps us maintain a strong energetic field that holds the manifestation potential of the goal.

Another tried and true spiritual aspect of successful business flow is in active altruism. The spiritual perspective on giving also takes on a whole new dynamic when we engage in giving as an aligning, abundance-generating activity. I have written more about how this works here.

If you are a female entrepreneur, embarking on a new business venture, or reinventing an existing one, and you’re drawn to understand how to spiritually engage in the dynamics, you can join me and a suite of incredible speakers at this year’s Online Spectacular Business Symposium 2020 from the 10th-12th November, hosted by The Daisy Chain Group. I will be talking more in depth about Generative Magic and I am in great company with speakers from around the world who will impart:

  • what you need to create passive income
  • how to turn your knowledge into an online course
  • the power to have a podcast with a punch 
  • understanding legacy and purpose
  • how to shift your money mindset to wealth and growth
  • How to achieve and build an engaged community that trusts your brand; all whilst following you.
  • the 8 traits of successful women!

If you have any questions about the synergies between Spiritual Practice and Successful Business, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

spirituality for self empowerment danielle van de velde

What does being spiritual really mean?

What does being spiritual really mean?

The rise of modern spirituality for self-empowerment.

Someone asked me recently what my motivation was, for the work that I do. It was a great opportunity to pull back from the activities of teaching, healing and mentoring and fold into my ‘why’ that glows underneath and guides my ‘what’

The big invitation that is being relayed to every single person on the planet currently, through the experiences of COVID and #BlackLivesMatter is to personally examine where we hold division and judgement within ourselves, and therefore, in our world and life views and actions. 

I believe I’m welcoming so many new people into private sessions and course communities as a response to this invitation. A major shift is taking place within all of us. There is a search for the missing piece of self, a deep desire to connect with our Spirit, and through that, the Spirit of life and others. 

To live a ‘Spirited life’ requires a dismantling of our reliance on evidence, measurable phenomenon and control – in other words, total reliance on the intellect and physical reality. It requires learning a new language of meaning beneath words into the felt, intuitive language of symbols, synchronicities and sensations, and finding synergies with the intellect and actions. We are designed for it. It is how we are supposed to operate; dwelling and operating within our entire human system which comprises our physical aspect, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual aspects. And why? Because our essential nature is CREATIVE! We are creating our life experiences all the time. However, without the deep, felt and conscious connection with the causal field of our being – our Spirit, we are creating life, unconsciously. 

Unfortunately, the word ‘Spiritual’ has a pretty bad rap in our modern context. It is often confused with religious dogma or new-age terminology. Or, it is associated with the whole ‘love and light’ meaning which makes little sense when we are in the throes of hardship, illness, trauma, or indeed, witnessing a world in chaos.

For centuries the view of ‘Spirit’ has been associated with a requirement of agency…that is, as individuals, we are unable to connect with this causal power within us without some form of trade or ‘guru’. Living a Spirited life doesn’t mean pure continual bliss and butterflies. What it does mean is engaging with life from an entirely different perspective, and therefore perceiving the hardship, illness, and chaos as useful, transmutable and way-finders to personal wholeness.

So the answer to the question of my ‘why’ – it is to enable and empower others to connect deeply with their own innate spiritual core. To do this takes some deconditioning of paradigms, some tools, and mostly, new expanded perspectives on who and what we actually are. For some, it requires healing to come into wholeness. 

But the essential message in all pathways is that everything we experience in life is happening for us and being generated by us. Our inner being and our outer experience is one self-organising system. When we experience dissonance in ourselves or in our experiences, it is that one system messaging to us that somewhere on the inner, we have separated from our Spirit. 

A big part of this enablement and empowerment is to de-woo-woo-fy what Spirit actually is. To open up a conversation about ‘Spirit’, how it feels, its dynamics. And it doesn’t take much, because as soon as someone makes the choice to connect with their innermost nature and core, that intelligent core starts to guide through intuitive senses, clear patterns within information and events, dreams and the drawing-in of like-spirited people.

So how do I describe ‘Spirit’ for me? The experience of Spirit is so subjective that it’s almost impossible to define it in a way that would work for everyone. So, I’m going to express my experience of Spirit the best way I can, and if you can sense a little voltage in there that puts a light on your experience of what it is, then go with that.

Spirit is the vibrational force that holds this whole shebang in place and keeps it cycling through its manifestations. It is the animating force within every single one of our seventy-two trillion cells and the spaces within and in between.  

I feel Spirit most keenly when I am in the wilderness, or around children. I feel it in the energy field of a loving, free person and I can especially feel it (and work with it) in group practice. It is the energetic current I feel when I meditate and engage in meditative ritual. It is the vibrational power I feel when I fully forgive or choose love and compassion. And, it is the activating force that enables me to put those choices into action. It is the palpable vibrating energy that moves through my system when I am healing or seeking revelation for a client.

It is the movement or flow through my body, mind, heart and life, that carries with it abundance, health, opportunities and true friendships, and it is protective. It is the force within my creativity, my words, my teaching. It can be summoned and raised within my physical body and energetic system and it can be directed to situations and others, for healing and change.

But it is more than simply energy. It is sentient, benevolent, living, responsive and intoxicating. It is the true nature of consciousness and it is present in everything. Everything. It is what brings it to bear. It spirals through all manifestations of life, from things to processes to experiences to relationships, to rocks, fire, trees, oceans and wind, and the human body and individual consciousness. It is a living information field. And when we live connected and aligned with it, when we embody it, truly knowing that we are it, we are steered to our highest possibility. Lots of people call it lots of things. I simply call it Spirit.

Over the years for me, being Spirited has come to represent a state of being rather than any set of actions. It’s a way to live ‘in Spirit’; to have an ongoing interaction with the invisible dynamics that underpin my ordinary reality. To achieve this state, there are things that we must do, of course. But I see a lot of people getting caught up in the ‘doing’ and not so much translating it into the ‘being’, or spending a lot of time on social media presenting themselves as spiritual. I also see a lot of people give their power away to others who present as having exclusive access to Spirit.

To be Spirited, we need to loosen our identification with our outer reality and who we have previously perceived ourselves to be. We have to question it all. I have found the easiest way to help people do this is to give them knowledge in clear modern terms that makes sense to the mind and shifts perception to enable a move into the heart and energy realm. With mind, heart, and energy body working as a coherent team, the gates to Spirit are flung open. What we believe to be true about ourselves and the nature of life, determines our experience of life. And we need to navigate consciously.

As we become Spirited, we open our channels to communicate with Spirit itself. To do this effectively we need to learn how to recognise when Spirit is communicating and guiding us and not something else, like our ego or someone else’s ego.  

Spirit uses the hologram of life experience, any and all forms, to answer our calls and guide us into alignment. It can be through different teachers, books, courses, dreams, intuitions, gifts, meditation circles and chance encounters. It is always through triggers, discomfort and illness. It is reliably accessed through the wilderness. 

Spirituality For Self Empowerment - Danielle Van de Velde

The best way I have learnt to communicate consciously with Spirit is to maintain my energetic circuitry through practice and observe in stillness and keep my awareness firmly pegged in the mind/heart/energy union. Spirit talks to me through my coherent system and in patterns. When I am meant to take notice, I have a distinct feeling in my heart, a knowing in my mind and a new resonance in my cells. When I call to Spirit, I do it through spiritual demonstration; meditative ritual; an energy act of the heart, mind and body, and then the dialogue is on. It is the only way to roll. It is also extremely cool.

You will see that you have a Spirited instinct in your life already, without realising that you are working with the invisible dynamics that underpin your external or ‘ordinary’ reality. The way we adorn our homes, our connection with colours, the slightly frenzied spring cleanouts of our space, the way we heal our children when they’re sick, or touch a friend to soothe them and the call to the wilderness, for example, are all spiritual expressions. Even the least woo-woo of us do it because Spirit is universal and innate within our physical and energetic design and it corresponds with the true nature of life.

This dialogue is intensely personal, gentle and often, simply an inner whisper or vibration. If we are distracted with the madness of modern life, dissipated thoughts, reactive emotions and the outer noise of modern living, then we miss it. That soft inner voice needs some inner space around it to reverberate and be heard, and this why meditation is key.

And it is equally important not to give power away in the process. If your system isn’t humming and beating ‘yes’, then walk away, close the book, switch off the podcast. With the resurgence of inner practices and so many people searching for meaning in a whacked-out world, being on some form of spiritual path or better still, appearing as some form of spiritual guru has become very trendy. This is not to discount the real thing. Modern-day mystics and amazing spiritual teachers are around, engaged and in service. And believe me, you will know it when you meet one. But, also in the fray are many more, who aren’t.

I have the pleasure of friendships in the UK, the US, Europe, Australia and now in Asia with active seekers like me. Over many years, I have been to my share of readings, rituals, ceremonies and channelings, churches, ashrams, pilgrimages and temples and I have developed an excellent radar for cosmic BS. The underlying theme is, and always is, get to know your Spirit Self, your mind/body/energy system and listen to that. It’s the only way to connect with Spirit and live a Spirited life! 

Begin your spiritual journey through my online meditation course. You can also sign up for my fortnightly meditation sessions and guided practice. Seasoned Spirit-seekers looking to deepen their explorations can book private Intuitive Healing and mentoring sessions. 

If you have any questions about spirituality and self-empowerment, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you along your journey to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

covid 19 masks and mindful breathing danielle van de velde

A return to True Sight and True Breath

A return to True Sight and True Breath

The unexpected blessings of COVID-19 masks

The mythic proportions of COVID-19 across the world and yet, the highly personal changes it has mandated for each and every one of us, is yielding what I believe are some very specific pointers to where we can focus our spiritual enquiry. I talk about this in my blog ‘Ostara’s Crowning’, written when the full scale of the pandemic was yet to be realised. 

With all inner enquiry, the key is to observe what’s happening around us with ‘symbolic sight’, that is, to rise up from the literal and obvious, and observe the thematic and the patterns. In this article I explore an interesting emerging pattern. The requirement to wear masks is pointing us towards two key spiritual and energetic functions of our system that we so easily take for granted – which, however, link us to the wider, more dazzling aspects of our systems.

True Breath

The current happenings in the world have put a real emphasis on the spiritual importance of the breath. COVID-19 attacks the lungs. The entire world is currently masked, reminding us of how much we take free, clear open breaths for granted. And while the world is suspended in the throes of recalibration, and the activities in main industries that contribute to atmospheric pollution have been suspended or slowed, our planet is measurably cleaning her atmosphere. 

In Singapore, we are in the steamiest part of the year. Humidity is very high, which makes wearing masks when out and about a very uncomfortable experience. The awareness is drawn to each and every breath and the ache for a free, deep fresh breath is palpable. Coming home and peeling off the mask, my body is taking in deeper, more nourishing breaths as if they were the first breaths it has ever taken. 

This renewed relishing of free breath for all of us is generally, highly significant. Why? Because the breath, when worked with consciously, is one of our key spiritual superpowers. 

The activity of the breath is directly linked to the activity of the nervous system. When we are not in the present, and our minds are either projecting forward into possible future scenarios, or cycling back over past events, we tend to take thoracic breaths. Thoracic breathing only utilizes 20% of our lung capacity and when under high stress or threat, many of us tend to hold our breath. This shortening and suspension of breath deprives the body and brain of vital oxygen and life force, and interrupts the connection between the nerve impulses generated by the breath to balance the brain and nervous system activity. The ancient Vedic practices of Pranayama (Prana meaning vital life force; Yama meaning breath), and the current trendy versions like Wim Hof’s breathing method for example, all work with these connections that are inherent in our design.

Covid 19 Masks and Mindful Breathing - Danielle Van de Velde

The breath is the only function of the autonomic nervous system that we can control. Placing our full concentrated awareness on the act of breathing is called ‘mindful breathing’. Mindful breathing naturally produces deeper inhalations and longer exhalations. Breathing is one of the physical body’s most important detoxification systems and mindful breathing is our subtle body’s most important clearing and energy raising systems.

When we breathe mindfully and with various breath-techniques (Pranayama) we are able to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. Autonomic activities such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestive activity and the flight or fight response are calmed and soothed. The body’s systems start to synchronize and work in flow. MRI scans during mindful breathing show calming of the amygdala which is responsible for anger/stress arousal.

With regular meditation, the amygdala is shown to actually shrink as a calm state becomes the default. With regular mindful breathing, the brainwaves shift from Beta waves, to Alpha and eventually Theta waves. This means that the brain calms frenetic thought activity and enters a state similar to a deep dreamless sleep, although the meditator is awake and acutely aware. Alpha coherence is more predominant in the right hemisphere of the brain allowing the experience of timelessness, visioning and interconnectedness. 

For this reason, all of my meditation courses – the introductory course and fortnightly drop-in via Zoom- include instruction and guided meditations in Pranayama or meditative breathing techniques. They can be powerful meditations on their own, or fabulous pre-meditation practices to settle the awareness into presence and readiness for other practices such as mantra, mudra, contemplative or creative meditations for example.

True Sight

Having lived all over the world, I have come to see that different cultures have different approaches to smiling. When we moved to Asia six years ago, I learnt very quickly that a ‘smile first’ strategy was best employed. In my observation, people generally don’t smile first here. However when you beam a smile in acknowledgment as you pass people, you are greeted with beaming smiles back. If you’re into those moments of human connection as you pass people in the street or nature trails like I am, it’s a ‘smile first’ game in Singapore. 

Now with masks as mandatory apparel when out and about, I have realised how much I relied on reading someone’s full face to communicate and gauge the response. I have also realised that I had become somewhat lazy with my smiles, relying on my lips to convey the connection, rather than the smile reaching my eyes. With my lips concealed, my smiles also were, and instead of beautiful smiles being returned, I was seeing wary and stressed looks.  

I have made it my daily mindfulness practice to allow my smile to beam from my eyes…and I have also brought back the wink and meaningful blink. It’s incredible, the response of relief, recognition and meaningful eye gazes being returned. Through focussing on communication through my eyes, I have tapped a sense of solidarity as we all get on with flattening the curve and being in this experience together; a new, silent and powerful form of connection.  

Covid 19 Masks and Mindful Breathing - Danielle Van de Velde

So much is communicated through the eyes, when we give them full access to the soul. And just as the COVID-19 masks have raised a refocus on the true breath, they have also raised a refocus on true sight. Is it possible that we are also being invited to ‘see’ the world, our human race, ourselves, and our lives as if we are seeing them for the first time?

As well as the social responsibility of vastly reducing local spread, masks mean greater silence – a window to observe, to listen, to feel and to lean into the miracle of sight, and in particular, perception.

What are we seeing around us and how are we allowing it to affect us? Are we seeing restriction, denied freedoms, doom, and conspiracies? Yes, these elements are in the mix. But equally present are new opportunities, a pause to change habits, to return to dreams and passions, to creatively express, to deepen relationships with family, to give and love unconditionally, to forgive, to cultivate altruism, to tap new and inspiring content, to reconnect with the planet and the wild. 

We can choose what we ‘see’, buy-into, feed with our awareness, and dwell upon. It doesn’t mean denial of what’s there, it means balancing our field of ‘sight’ and therefore our emotional responses…and these emanations vastly affect our life experiences.  Are you perceiving your COVID-19-cup experience as half empty or half full?

In Yogic philosophy, the outer and inner senses are expressions along one pole of the senses. That is, our inner sight or clairvoyance, dreaming, creative visualisation, is an expression of our wholesale sense of sight, just as our mechanical ‘external’ sight is. They are aspects of one field – true sight. So when we focus on one end of the pole and engage in practices that improve and strengthen it, we raise the whole pole.

This is the deeper, lesser-known result of meditations that focus on eyesight like Trataka, Mirror-gazing, Sun-gazing, Yantra gazing, Shambhavi mudra, just to name a few. These powerful practices are all proven to improve physical eyesight, yet they are also engaged to sharpen inner sight, and inner sight is key to spiritual living. 

Seeing life through the eyes of the soul means living intuitively, seeing things as they are without the muddy lens of reactive patterns, assumed meaning and judgements. With spiritual sight we are able to identify the synchronous patterns of meaning within our life experience and to work with them directly for spiritual expansion. A well-honed inner sight opens us up to our abilities of creative visualisation, or dream weaving, and shamanic journeying as powerful tools for divination, deeper enquiry and conscious creation.

In my upcoming online course Discovery, instruction and guidance are given in several of these practices to enable deep introspection and a new perception of self and life. You may subscribe to learn more. 

Covid 19 Masks and Mindful Breathing - Danielle Van de Velde

Given, the masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future, perhaps it’s a good time to engage with them slightly differently from a higher viewpoint, and actively respond to the invitation to return to True Breath and True Sight.
If you wish to start mindful breathing and meditation and understand the benefits of meditating regularly do get in touch and take our introduction to meditation course, ‘Return’. You can also visit our website to explore courses and useful content to guide you along your journey to healing, self-discovery and mindful living.

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