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Meditation Articles
for Kids, Teens, Adults
by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Susan Kramer


Prayers and Meditations for Holidays and the Season
July through December

1. Advent Meditation
2. Advent Prayer and Meditation
3. Advent Preparations
4. All Saints Day Meditation

4a. All Saints Day Meditation and Invocation
5. All Saints Day Prayer
6. All Saints Day Prayer and Meditation
7. All Saints Day Reflections
8. All Saints Day Reflections and Prayer
9. Autumn Meditation Altar
10. Children's Prayers of Thanksgiving
11. Christmas Angel Meditation
12. Christmas Eve Prayer
13. Christmas Lights
14. Christmas Meditation Altar
15. Christmas Meditation and Prayer Celebration
16. Christmas Prayer
1
7. Christmas Prayer and Meditation on Love
1
8. Christmas Prayer for Children
19. Christmas Prayer on the Babe of Bethlehem
20. December Solstice Meditation
21. Fall Equinox Ceremony Plan
22. Fall Equinox Meditation

23. Fall Equinox Meditation and Prayer Celebration
23a. Guided Fall Meditation

24. Holy All Saints Day Meditation
25. How to Make a Spiritual Holiday Wreath

26. Independence Day 4th of July Meditation
27. Independence Day Meditation

2
8. Independence Day Prayer
2
9. Labor Day Meditation
30. Labor Day Prayer for Reflection
31. Labor Day Walking Meditation

32. Prayer in Honor of All Saints Day
33. Story of a Christmas Angel
34. Thanksgiving Prayer and Meditation
35. Thanksgiving Tradition and Meal Prayer

36. Thanksgiving Celebration Meditation

36a. Thanksgiving Day Affirmations and Meditation
37. Thanksgiving Day Grace
38. Thanksgiving Day Meditation Around the Feast
39. Thanksgiving Peace Meditation
40. Veterans Day Prayer and Meditation
40a. Warm Weather Outdoor Meditation

41. Winter Meditation
42. Winter Solstice Meditation
January through June

 



1. Advent Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Holidays
holy days can be a time for reflection and rejuvenation by taking advantage of the scattered minutes of 'waiting' times in the midst of busy-ness.

Standing in line during holiday shopping the few weeks of advent leading to Christmas, hanging decorations, or waiting for cookies and cakes to finish baking are opportunities to quietly reflect on the qualities of kindness, caring and sharing that bring joy to both the giver and receiver
that birth joy in ourselves by their gift of giving.

And when you have a bit of time to yourself, here is a sitting meditation on the lasting qualities.

Preparation: In a quiet place sit with a straight back, hands folded in lap and close your eyes. Or if you have a holiday candle, just gently gaze at the flame with partially closed eyes.

Begin even and regular breathing in a pattern such as this: Count 1 breathe in; count 2 breathe out; count 3 breathe in, and continue counting breaths for at least a minute. This gives your mind something to do, while the even breathing de-stresses your body from the rush of holiday preparations and events.

Now, let go of the counting but continue to breathe evenly with no breath retention.

In your thoughts take yourself back to a pleasant holiday from your past; maybe from your childhood. Remember the excitement and anticipation you felt. Ask yourself how you could experience that this year.

Perhaps giving someone a surprise is one way; I find the planning energizing, and the recipient benefits, too!

Take a few moments to appreciate your family and friends, and send out positive thoughts to our world family for peace and harmony.

To finish your meditation take a deep breath, stand up and stretch.

Take time for reflecting
On qualities lasting.

 



2. Advent Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Advent is a joyous time of looking forward to and preparing in our hearts and hearth for the birth of our dear Babe of Bethlehem. It can be a time of introspection along with all the outer preparations for the joyous celebration.

One of the traditions I like is making the special wreath of candles and evergreen boughs as a centerpiece for our table. Then every time I enter the room I am reminded of the coming birth on Christmas morning.

Here is a prayer to say each day during Advent either in your meditation or as an evening prayer. If you wish to make this prayer part of your regular meditation begin by sitting in a quiet spot in front of a low table with a holiday candle lit. Burn incense if you like.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Blue cedar in bloom; photo credit Susan Kramer
Begin even and regular breathing. For example, breathe in 2 counts and breathe out 2 counts. Keep up the regular rhythm throughout your meditation but do not actually say the numbers. Now take a few minutes for the following


Advent Prayer

A joyous day will soon be here
And that's the cause of Christmas cheer
The little Babe of Bethlehem
Will grace us from his love within.

This child to come from heaven above
A special gift of God's own love
Will help us to remember while living
That joy and fulfillment come by giving.

Let's pray and prepare as the holiday nears
How we can share excitement and cheer
In ways that honor the Newborn Babe
Who births in our heart on Christmas Day
Who births in our heart every day!

Finishing the prayer close your eyes for a period of silence and contemplation on the meaning of Christ's birth to you. Take some time to write out your thoughts in your journal after your meditation for later reflection.

Finish your meditation with a deep breath in and out, stretch and go on with your day, enjoying the peaceful feelings that come after the stillness of meditation.

Article and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer



3. Advent Preparations

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Advent is a time of expectation and preparation for the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, the Holy Babe of Bethlehem, that we celebrate on Christmas Day.

An advent wreath is a visual way to look forward to the Holy Babe's birth through the symbolism of lighted candles. I find it very inspiring to light the candles in the evening as soon as dusk falls.

The act of lighting the candles reminds me that the Light of the world to so many never fades and as the weeks pass in expectation of December 24th and 25th more and more light is produced by more candles being lit. The first Sunday just one candle is lit and each successive Sunday one more is added till all are lit by the 4th Sunday.

As there are four Sundays in Advent you will need 4 candles, one for each of the Sundays, and a 5th candle for Christmas Day.

Another preparation I make this time of year is the holly wreath for the front door. You can intertwine holly and ivy and pine sprigs on a wreath form or make you own by bending a wire clothes hanger into a round shape and tying on the sprigs securely. Then adding decorations such as small balls or tiny pine combs, or shiny red ribbons.

The culmination for me in my preparations is arranging the manger scene in my front window. This holy act really is a special time for me to reflect on the eternal message of Christmas.




4. All Saints Day Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

On November 1st each year we celebrate the lives of saints from the past. I see this as a prelude to the grouping of holy days around the winter solstice from the many world religions and traditions.

In the Northern Hemisphere, November it is a time of waning light, a time for more indoor activities of reading and reflection. It is a time of celebration for a bountiful harvest, or a time of quiet and joyful anticipation of a better year to come.

Reflecting on the lives of saints shows us the path through life, though it may be materially difficult at times, has a built in reward in that forever in our meditation we can commune with Peace and Joy.

Meditation for Reflection

In your quiet space, light a candle at your small table or altar and burn incense if you desire. On your seat, sit with your back straight, hands folded in your lap or resting palms up or palms down on your thighs. Close your eyes.

Do a few rounds of regular even breathing to calm your body and mind, setting the stage for joy to emerge in your thoughts. Breathe in 2 counts; breathe out 2 counts; breathe in 2 counts and continue.

Allowing your counted breaths to continue on their own, turn your thoughts to appreciation for all that you have in life at this moment.

Reflect that even when times are difficult with your circumstances or relationships, that you have this precious time in meditation to enjoy your restful body and calm mind. Think of some appreciations.

Remember that by their lives the saints have shown that joy is an inner quality that bubbles up to fill in the spaces of each empty-seeming moment with peace and joy, fueling the fires of caring and loving devotion in activities in the world.

Finish your meditation with a deep breath in and out; stretch and go on with peace and joy, renewed and rejuvenated as with the lives of saints before and of today.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap




4a. All Saints Day Meditation and Invocation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

All Saints Day reminds us that there are fine examples of godly souls for us to emulate on our path to God realization.

 

When we read about or meet an enlightened soul in person see that it is possible for each of us to adapt our lives to reach the ultimate human goal. And while we struggle to improve ourselves we have the reflection of saints that point the way.

 

The book Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages by Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, cover shown here, is full of inspiring stories. No matter how much saints have suffered to get where they are, the journey was eventually worth it in more than one way:

1. They reached their eternal home of bliss in the past or if still living they may be blissed out now in their consciousness. 

2. Saints serve for a much longer period than their human lifetime through the recordings of their lives and deeds that survive their deaths.

 

A meditation

 

Begin by sitting up straight in a quiet and private place, either on the floor on a cushion with legs folded in, or on a chair with soles of feet firmly planted on the floor for balance. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs.

 

Close your eyes and begin even and measured breathing such as 2 counts to breathe in and 2 counts to breathe out, 2 counts to breathe in, continuing this pattern throughout your meditation without actually saying the numbers.

 

Regular, rhythmic breathing calms the mind and relaxes the body, letting stress dissolve during your meditation and with enough sessions, reducing stress in your life.

 

Follow the flow of your regular breathing for a minute and for this meditation adopt an attitude of respect for the saints. Feel their goodness surround and envelope you during your time of quiet communion.

 

If you are drawn to the life of a particular saint, think about the qualities they embody and that you wish to emulate. Reflect on how you can incorporate these traits in your daily life.

 

Now think on at least one loved one or pet in your life and from that point radiate loving and caring feelings out in ever widening circles in undulating pulses of enlivened energy, aim for encompassing far into the universe.

 

Finish your meditation by taking a deep breath in and slowly releasing it. Open your eyes, stretch out and move on with your day, but first write any new insights in your meditation journal for later review and reflection.

 

Invocation for Blessings

 

May the blessings of the saints

Keep me inspired on my journey home

To the place reflecting

The radiance of my soul.


*****
Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages by Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman is available at Amazon.com



5. All Saints Day Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi


The day after Halloween, November 1st, is a time to turn attention to those who have inspired us by their unselfish actions. Here is a prayer for quiet reflection on the lives of saints who've come before us. Take some moments after reading to sit in stillness before going on with your day.

I like to pray at the beginning of my meditations for both inspiration and to set a positive mood to the time in silence. Contemplation on the achievements of saints is surely one way to uplift one's mind, and be receptive to the insights meditation has to offer.

In times of need we turn for strength
To those who've come before our days
That their unseen presence might
Come to us as guiding rays.

We need the voice of bygone times
In our present plight for peace
May the saints who lived for all
Bless us each in their outreach.

Continue to embrace our world
Hold us in your constant love
Dear holy ones in heaven's sight
Emblazon our hearts from up above.

Remind us in your quiet ways
That we can reach the worthwhile goal
World peace will reign forever on
With kindness shown to one and all!




6. All Saints Day Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

All Saints Prayer

To all Dear Saints who've blazed a trail
That we may see the way to go
We give our love, thanks and many blessings
On your special day
On All Saints Day.

We receive the blessings flowing through the saints to us every time we pray for their intercession. So on this special day in their honor we send them blessings, too.

Here is a meditation in honor of All Saints

Go to your favorite quiet spot to meditate where you will not be disturbed. I prefer the time before retiring as it is very quiet in the household and on the street outside my window.

Prepare your altar by laying out a fresh cloth or wiping it clean. Place flowers, a candle, incense, a special rock or other sacred object you find uplifting.

Wash yourself and put on fresh clothes to symbolize coming to the altar as a new babe, an innocent.

Sit on a cushion with your legs folded in, or sit on a straight back chair with the soles of your feet on the floor for balance.

Fold your hands in your lap or place them face up or face down on your thighs. Close your eyes.

Begin a pattern of even breathing such as 2 counts to breathe in and 2 counts to breathe out and continue this rhythm throughout the meditation, without actually speaking or mentally saying the counts after the first minute.

Take time to appreciate the pathway the saints have taken in their quest to merge with the Divine. Be thankful for their efforts as it has set a beautiful model in our own quest for awareness of Divine Love.

Say a prayer such as the one included above this meditation and extend your feelings of love to you family, friends and our global family, too.

Sit for a few minutes in silence listening to your breath, then open your eyes and stretch out and go on with your day, uplifted with thoughts of love running through your body, heart and soul.

Article and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer; Sacré Coeur, Paris France




7. All Saints Day Reflections

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Sit in your favorite meditation spot on a chair or cushion; light your altar candle and burn some incense if you like. Take a deep breath to begin and then go on to breathe in an even rhythmic pattern, such as breathe in counts 1, 2, and breathe out counts 3, 4. Continue breathing evenly while meditating without actually saying the numbers either verbally or mentally.

Pick a saintly quality you'd like to emulate during the holidays, perhaps charity. Many saints are known for their charitable ways, and why? Because charity benefits other people, and it also benefits ourselves because we feel good when giving and caring. Our body feels energized and our mind becomes calm. We feel good about ourselves when being expansive in giving.

And, let's remember that charity does begin at home. Give your time and listening ear to members of your own family and then to others in your daily life. If you have the opportunity, spend some time with those shut in, seniors who may not have many visitors.

A listening ear may be just what an older person needs more of, especially in the holiday season. That is what charity is: giving unselfishly where there is need.

Finish your reflection by writing ideas in your journal about how to be charitable. Or, if you are picking another virtue, write out a plan for implementing it in the coming weeks.

Take a deep breath to finish your meditation and go forward with your strong resolves to be part of the plan that makes the world a nicer place to be!




8. All Saints Day Reflections and Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

All Saints Day is a special time to think on why some people are known as saints. Perhaps with this holy season upon us it is time to pick a virtue that is saintly that we can work on and put to use during the winter season, such as showing kindness so that children or the elderly receive some special tender loving care.

All Saints Day Prayer

Saints of old, saints today
Inspire us in your blessed ways.
That we will strive to be our best
In ways you know
Will meet life's test.
Daily we will work and strive
As humans we will be alive.
And every act and thought we have
Will bring us closer
To our best.

Striving and being fully alive to the Divine within sets the saints a part. They literally shine with acts sublime and divine. This is the kind of life to emulate day by day, little bits adding up to the whole. And the blessed reward coming back moment by moment as happiness and harmony in our lives.

Emulating the saints ways is a win
win proposition. Just as with all our acts in life we pull out the direct results of what we put in. What more can we ask?

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo of trees in forest in The Netherlands by Stan Schaap




9. Autumn Meditation Altar

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi


Autumn is a good time of year to reset your meditation altar for the coming holidays.

I like to have a candle take center stage so that I can practice candle gazing or tratak at times; particularly in the evening as the day peacefully closes.

With the bright deep colors of Fall I choose spice and orange for my Fall Solstice Candle. I like to lay out a mat of multi-colored pressed leaves over my meditation table cloth. They should last through the early winter.

And with the new calendar year, January 1st, I choose a white candle to match the crisp newness of winter days, particularly when light is reflected off a new snow. As I live in The Netherlands, I have the opportunity to enjoy several snows through the winter.

A big plus about candlelight is it reminds me that warm and caring attitudes nurture relationships.

Next, if you like scent, place an incense holder alongside your candle. I like to burn sticks of sandalwood, but that is my personal preference. The wafting smoke of incense reminds me of the transient state of attachment to earthly possessions; yes, they can all go up in smoke at a moment's notice. It is better to meditate on the qualities that are permanent like unconditional love, rather than request objects that will fade away in time.

To depict a particular Fall holiday or celebration, such as Thanksgiving, I decorate the altar with flowers, plants or leaves. As Christmas approaches I use a few choice sprigs of holly with berries as I have a few trees in my garden. Perhaps you live in an area where you can bring in leafy branches, or can stop at a flower stand if you choose to.

Inspiring photos of saints on your Fall altar can remind you of what you aspire to in your life. I like to keep a photo of Sri Sarada Devi and the Blessed Mother Mary on my altar.

And other objects that remind you of the purity of your soul such a crystal stones are a worthy addition to your array.

Enjoy creating your Autumn altar; it should inspire your daily meditation.




10. Children's Prayers of Thanksgiving

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Little meditative prayers for the child in us all!

A little prayer of "Thank you, God,"
Sets our thoughts aright.
Keeps us feeling all day long,
More positive and bright!

This New Day

At home, at school, or at play,
I thank you, Lord, for this new day.
And, dear Lord, help me remember,
That happiness lives inside me forever!


Golden Light

Golden Light, shining bright,
Always teach me what is right.
Teach me to speak with kindness and care.
Teach me to be willing to share.
Teach me to remember, when playing with others,
That all of us are world sisters and brothers.
Golden Light, shining bright,
Keep our world family safe in Your sight.

How to Pray

I asked, "Lord, please teach me how to pray?"
And the Lord said, "Okay."
Prayer is kindness, prayer is caring,
Giving friendship first, and sharing.


A Shining, Loving Light

A little prayer of "Thank you, God,"
Sets our thoughts aright.
Keeps us feeling all day long,
More positive and bright.

And when our thoughts are true and bright,
We shine forth our inner light.
Our inner light of God's own love,
Starts shining out on those we love.

And so, let's thank God every day,
With all our energy and might,
For blessing us so warmly, closely,
With a Shining, Loving Light!

***

As a follow up activity after reading these little prayers of thanksgiving with your children, have them draw pictures of each prayer, and collate the pages into a little prayer book for them.




11. Christmas Angel Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

The Christmas angel was busy that night. With feathers falling from her wings like gentle snow flakes she laid a trail for the revelers singing hymns of joy house to house along the village lane. Their voices blended harmoniously in the Christmas carols even though they'd never practiced as a group.
Christmas carols have a way of uplifting us so that what we sing blends every voice as one in happiness and praise.

It is the time of year we can really feel at one with those beyond family to include community. Christmas carolers singing door to door are extending themselves this night of nights and letting barriers down by singing to those they may not even know.

The Christmas angel flitted off to her next assignment, another group in another land, traveling faster than the speed of light as angels do by instantly appearing wherever needed in the moment.

We too can spread our loving wishes as fast as angel wings by sitting in meditation and sending loving and caring thoughts out to family, friends, the global family and universe.

Christmas Meditation

Sit in your favorite quiet place, light a beautiful candle, burn some incense and take a minute for rounds of even breathing to calm and harmonize body and mind.

Think with appreciation for what you have and how you can gift those in need this holiday season. By doing with less ourselves we can reap much joy in giving little presents to others. The thing about giving is its blessings return many times over in satisfaction in the form of happiness.

Be still for a minute in silence, listening to the sound of your breathing, in and out, in and out. Enjoy the calmness that descends over your body and mind, the gift to you from meditation.

May the Christmas angel leave the gift of joy in every flutter of her wings that you come to understand ever deeper the meaning of Christ with us in Christmas.

To finish your meditation take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Stretch out and enjoy your deepening peace on Christmas Day.

And looking out your window to the horizon, you may just see the fluttering wings of the Christmas angel trailing a dusting of snow.



12. Christmas Eve Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

A prayer for meditation to revel in the joy of Christmas.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Golden chain tree; photo credit Susan Kramer
Blessed Shining Night of Lights
Pointing out the newborn babe
Who came to show our world that love
Is by far the truest way.

To find the path to heaven's home
To make our searching not in vain
To show the way that fills our soul
With heavenly light day by day.

Blessed Shining Light of Lights
We find you in our heart each day
And by our caring, sharing acts
We go forth, not led astray.

Blessed Babe of Golden Light
Never forgotten, here to stay
Living on eternally
Hand and hand with us each day.
Living on eternally
Living in joy with us today!


Prayer and photo credit of golden chain tree by Susan Helene Kramer




13. Christmas Lights

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Christmas lights burning brightly remind us that love is the illumination that stays with us everyday, not just Christmas Day. When we spend our moments sharing and caring, our love burns brightly just as the lights of Christmas burn so brilliantly through the holidays.

Let the lights of love burn brightly in your life by adopting an attitude of caring in daily activities and interactions. Holding a positive attitude brings more energy into your body. Think about that for a moment. When you suddenly are offered the opportunity to go on a fun outing, no matter how lethargic you're feeling, you'll suddenly feel the energy to get up, get going.

Christmas Light Meditation

Light a candle on your altar. Sit with your back straight, either on a cushion or on a chair. If sitting on a chair plant the soles of your feet firmly on the floor to maintain balance. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs. Close your eyes.

Begin even and regular breathing such as 2 counts to breathe in; 2 counts to breathe out; 2 counts to breath in and continue this rhythmic pattern throughout your meditation without saying the numbers. Breath is a tie between body and mind; when we need to calm down regular rhythmic breathing helps bring the emotions and body into peace and serenity.

Think of an appreciation for someone you love. See your loved one surrounded by the brilliance of Christmas light. Let the light expand outwardly for a few moments into the far distance and over the horizon of your imagination. The light is now encompassing the entire family of humanity in its warmth. Enjoy feeling part of the whole worldwide family.

Take a minute to sit and reflect on how you can incorporate the light of love in your life. This is your Christmas gift to yourself that not only benefits you but all the come into contact with you.

Finish your Christmas Light Meditation by taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly. Open your eyes and stretch out. Go forward in your day with a positive caring attitude.




14. Christmas Meditation Altar

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

A lit candle represents the Divine Light that enlightens everyone on our planet.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Christmas candles photo by Susan Kramer
Light is the very sustenance of spiritual and earthly life.

On the grand scale, without the light of our sun we would not be able to live on planet earth. There would be no process of photosynthesis to turn sunlight into plant material, the basis of our diet for both vegetarians and meat eaters, alike. (After all, the animals we eat need to make their flesh by eating plants.)

When a candle on your altar is lit, as during the Christmas season, the flame provides both heat and warmth, another of the requirements we need on the planet to ward off the chill and in early days, to scare off predators at night. And what is more nostalgic then a blazing campfire promoting camaraderie and the telling of stories and tales?

In earlier days, and still in tribal cultures without a written language, it is most likely that many traditions and tales from the culture and history of the tribe are passed down by the younger members listening carefully to the tales of the elders while sitting around the flaming light of a central campfire.

Candle light has been with us for a long time in our history and even if we do not 'need' it today because of electric lighting, it adds ambience to any gathering or event.

Keep your candles burning brightly and think about some of the ways light and heat have benefited humankind through the centuries. And, why not enjoy the special delights of scented candles, brightly colored as a special centerpiece on altars or holiday tables this year!

Candle light shining bright
Reminds us of the star that night
That pointed out the newborn babe
Still living in our hearts today
Ever with us, every way.


Article and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer



15. Christmas Meditation and Prayer Celebration

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

This is a celebration ceremony for Christmas Day to help make reflection on the birth of the Holy Babe a time for birthing personal and world peace.

Your celebration can include elements of meditation, prayer, reflection and music, making it especially festive and meaningful.

The place and participants:
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Susan Kramer
A family or living room; in a park; at the beach if in a warm climate.

Family and friends gathered in a circle, sitting on blankets at the beach, chairs indoor.

A central symbol of focus could be a candle that is placed at the center of a table, or a manger scene with candles in a circle. One or more family or friends can lead the ceremony, they need not be clergy this ceremony recognizes everyone as celebrants.

Some elements that could be included:

Christmas carols, of course, and even though this poem is secular, a traditional poem such as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" which ends with a positive message.

The Christmas story from the Holy Bible with several people taking turns reading sentences.

Offerings of inspiring song or dance from those assembled including the children.

Prepared or extemporaneous speeches on the meaning of Christmas in the speaker's life.

A Christmas Prayer; a time for silent meditation for personal and world peace.

An uplifting Christmas hymn sung as a group with everyone holding hands. Examples that are uplifting: Silent Night, Holy Night; Away in a Manger; Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem; Angels, We Have Heard on High; Oh, Holy Night; your family favorites.

Concluding:

Sharing of Christmas treats from the kitchen; exchanging gifts.

Christmas lights shining bright
Remind us of the Holy Night
A Little Babe was born to say
Give lovingly in every way
Give love to others every day.


Blessings and love to all!
Susan

Article and photo credit Susan Helene Kramer



16. Christmas Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

A prayer to meditate upon the lasting message of Christmas …
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Blue tit - photo credit Susan Kramer
Sparkling bright
Perpetually shining Lord of Light
Pointing out your path of love
That first and holy Christmas night.

You brought into our darkened sight
A message on that day of days:
Through caring, sharing become aware
Give unconditional love always.

You showed your Sacred Heart of Love
So everyone could see
Through acts of charity love shines
Unbridled, full, strong and free.

That kindness opens inner sight
Shining as a guiding light
Perpetual remembrance to this day
Of the holy Christmas night!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prayer and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer; two month old Parus caeruleus visiting birthplace in garden, The Netherlands




17. Christmas Prayer and Meditation on Love

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

A prayer for meditating on the light of love, every day of the year.

Christmas lights shining bright
Remind us of the
Birth of Christ.

Opening hearts wide to love
Lets brightened light
Shine from above.


This friends and family time of year
Reminds us each
Of what is dear.

That caring, sharing from our heart
Is true love's action
We impart.

With kindness uppermost in mind
Contentment, joy
We always find.

Lighting up our lives this way
Gives Christmas to us
Every day!




18. Christmas Prayer for Children

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Holly trees with berries red
Children early tucked in bed
Thoughts alive with holiday cheer
For Christmas morning's almost here.

It was so long ago a babe
Changed our lives with what he gave
He shared his love with everyone
This precious gift of God's own Son.

And so on Christmas day we take
The time to give and share and make
A special place inside our hearts
Where love will live and not depart.

Let's celebrate our joy and peace
Share our love with all we meet
Remembering that the newborn babe
Lives safely in our hearts this way
Lives safely in our hearts today!

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Creche; photo credit Susan Kramer

As a follow up activity after reading this little prayer with your children, have them draw pictures of the message in each paragraph, and collate the pages into a little prayer book for them.

Prayer and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer




19. Christmas Prayer on the Babe of Bethlehem

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Christmas is an inspiring time we open our hearts and hands in helping and showing kindness and care. May we take the blessings we receive from family and friends and share it in the larger circle of community, with our family 'round the world.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Photo of canal in snow, The Netherlands by Stan Schaap
Christmas bells are ringing
Silver stars are shining bright
The little child from Bethlehem
Was born this holy night.

He gave his love
For us to share
To learn to give
To learn to care.

For caring for each other
As we'd care for babe in arms
Is just the way to keep us safe
To keep each other safe from harm.

By giving, caring, sharing
As the Babe of Bethlehem has taught
Our actions reap a wealth of joy
They're never done for naught.

Christmas is a holy day
A time to give our love away
In giving the gift of God's own love
We're sharing the blessings from above.

Prayer by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap



20. December Solstice Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi


The conclusion of the third week in December marks a time of change. In the Northern Hemisphere going from shorter to lengthening days. And in the Southern Hemisphere the days of light will gradually shorten. But no matter where you live on the planet it is a time of change.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Stan Schaap
Spiritually, the solstice marks an occasion to look at your life as a whole, to evaluate the direction you are walking; where you are heading. And the energy is present to make the changes needed to walk the talk - to step up to the challenges of leading the real life each of us want; a life of happiness.

To begin: Go to a quiet place and sit on a cushion on the floor with your legs bent in and hands folded in your lap, or lay your palms face up or face down on your thighs. Alternately, sit up straight in a chair. If you have a meditation altar light the candle and burn some incense if you wish. It is refreshing to have some boughs of pine draped across the front or a living plant or fresh flowers; whatever scents uplift you indulge in.

Start a few rounds of regular rhythmic breathing such as counts 1, 2, breathe in; counts 3, 4, breathe out; counts 1, 2, breathe in and continue this pattern for a minute. Then let go the counting but keep up the even rhythm during your meditation.

Breath is a tie between the body and mind and helps each part harmonize. When you are stressed begin even, regular breathing as just described to calm your body and mind, both.

Now, close your eyes and reflect on the following questions: What is your overall goal in life? Are you heading in that direction by your thoughts and deeds each day? What attitudes can you adopt to help you reach your long-range goals? Are there changes you can make to your daily routine that will aid in making your dreams come true? What is the first step you need to take toward your goal?

These are some of the questions to ask yourself and reflect upon to help pinpoint how you can reach the overall goal by the shortest route.

I will give you a hint here: Living each moment for what is best for each situation as a whole gives moment to moment happiness. Anything else you do is preparing yourself to make this commitment.

To finish your meditation take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Open your eyes and write out your insights and resolutions in your meditation journal. This helps make your uplifting thoughts more concrete and practical in your life.

I'd like to leave today by sharing that this is the anniversary of my vow to serve God through serving humanity. Just making the vow brought in a wave of energy to my torso, across my heart region, that has stayed with me ever since.

When we make a sincere commitment
The Divine cooperates
By making the energy available
For its fulfillment.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap

 



21. Fall Equinox Ceremony Plan

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Equal as in the same number of hours of sunlight and dark sounds so close to the word equanimity. Perhaps the message inside the equinox is to be moderate in all things if only on this one day a year, with not too much excess at the very least.

The Fall or Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere is a time of celebration for the gifts of the summer garden. It is a time to both enjoy the plenty, and to store ahead for the leaner days of winter and early spring before new plants are mature enough to eat.

As a little aside on winter growing I'd like to suggest making the best use of your east, west and south facing windowsills to grow herbs and salad leaves. I grow them all year in my south facing windows here at the 52nd latitude.

Now let's stay in the moment and plan a ceremony, a celebration for the Fall Equinox.

Prepare your main altar:

Items to include could be vegetables and fruits from the garden or harvest. Use a main candle to represent the light of the sun, which through photosynthesis allows food to grow. Also include a bowl of water to represent the much-needed rain for the thirsty plants.

Offer a prayer of thanksgiving:

Lord above, thank you for the gifts of this planet in the rain and soil
And the universe for the warmth and radiant energy of the sun.
May we grow ever more mindful of your blessings
As we work to preserve the earth and its natural balance.
May we appreciate our global community moment to moment to moment.


Be silent for a minute or more. If celebrating as a group, hold hands in a circle surrounding the altar during this short period of reflection.

While holding hands in the circle, each in turn can give an appreciation for what they have to be thankful for and their plans for the coming autumn season, which may include making gifts for giving during the winter holidays.

Ask everyone to sit down and finish your celebration with quiet time in a peaceful meditation for several minutes, followed by a joyful song of thanksgiving.

After your celebration eating a shared meal is a good way to socialize before leaving
a feeling of fellowship embracing all.



22. Fall Equinox Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

The signposts of changing seasons mark opportunities to meditate and reflect on what is important to us.

Autumn is harvest time in the Northern Hemisphere, and a time to reflect on what we have reaped in our lives through our actions.

To begin a harvest meditation sit straight, eyes closed, hands in lap and take a few even breaths to settle down. For example - breathe in 2 counts; breathe out 2 counts; breathe in 2 counts and continue.

Begin thinking with appreciation on what you have harvested in your life. If you have a long-range goal, break it into manageable pieces - little steps to success.

Reflect that each positive step leads to another in kind, and builds a life full of contentment and happiness. And what greater reward could anyone reap in the harvest of life, then being able to see a bounty of harmony and peace!

Reflect that we are all interrelated and by helping one another attain goals by giving encouragement we are adding to the overall world success.

The equinox is a time of even hours of night in day in both hemispheres. Let's take advantage of the time where we on the planet all have this in common to dwell on our sameness as one large family of humanity.




23. Fall Equinox Meditation and Prayer Celebration

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

The fall or autumnal equinox marks equal hours of light and darkness, but particularly it is a time for appreciating and giving thanks for the fruits of our gardens and labors in life
at home, school or work.

Here is a plan for an equinox celebration for a group of people to hold outdoors - at the beach, park, in the mountains, or another space big enough wherever you live.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Field after harvest, The Netherlands. Photo credit Susan Kramer

The Celebration Ceremony

1.
A central focal point is established. It could be a bon fire or table of offerings from the summer’s harvest of fruits, flowers or vegetables placed in the center of a large circle.

2. To begin, everyone gathers round the central focal point in a circle and holds hands.

3. The leader or group recite a prayer for world peace. Here is one that I wrote:

Interfaith Prayer for Peace

Lord, we each and everyone
See You shining as a sun.
Radiant bright You are our light
Keep us sheltered in Thy sight.

In every culture, language, clime
We feel Your presence in our time.
We look to You and in our way
Call out our need and daily pray.

With peace our present beck and call
Lord, keep us centered, one and all.
And as we try with all our might
Keep us striving toward the light.

May Your peace
spread through all lands
We’re standing together
hand in hand.


4. After the prayer follows a minute of silence for contemplation on the meaning of the equinox as a point in time signaling spiritual balance.

5. The silence flows into uplifting group singing or peace chants. If the group knows a simple circle dance that could come next.

6. At the end of singing and dancing everyone sits down in place for a few minutes of silent meditation on the theme of thankfulness for the season’s harvest.

7. Rounding out the ceremony, all rise, join hands and sing an uplifting song for world peace and harmony.

Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit Stan Schaap

 



23a. Guided Fall Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Fall is the time of year we have to rest from summer activities. If you live in the northern hemisphere the days are shorter and evening more conducive to indoor activity, in particular I’m thinking of catching up on reading all those recommendations from friends.

To make use of concentrated reading it is the time to dip into your stash of spiritual books or those that carry a strong moral, reading about others’ experiences of what to avoid, especially. And, in this way learn how to live rightly.

 

A guided Fall meditation for reflection

 

Begin by preparing a spot where you can sit privately and undisturbed. If you use an altar set out a centerpiece of the changing leaves, and light an orange or yellow candle.

 

Burn some incense, I like sandalwood. Then fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs.

 

Close your eyes and begin even and regular breathing such as one count to breathe in and one count to breathe out. Do not hold your breath at any time. Regulated natural breathing is a way to calm an agitated body or upset mind, it moderates your emotions.

 

After a minute, let go of counting your breaths, but keep up the rhythmic pattern throughout your meditation.

 

Imagine you are walking along a well-worn path through an old forest. Pine needles underfoot cushion and quiet your steps until all you hear are birds singing in the top of trees.

 

The bird songs are harmonious to your ears and you feel at peace and at one with nature.

 

Occasionally a flutter of leaves gently float by to rest on the floor of winter to come, but for now forming a carpet of color all around. When the chlorophyll leaves the leaves and retracts into the tree the real inner color of the leaves is revealed, just as our inner brightness is revealed when we let it shine through caring and compassionate acts.

 

Along this path nature is leading the way in teaching us how to harmonize our lives both outer and inner: Outer through physical activity and inner through meditation and reflection.

 

Now the path is opening to a meadow where you have a chance to sit and rest, feeling the sun’s warmth, just as we feel warmth through our sunny acts in the world.

 

Enjoy these feelings before gently opening your eyes, taking a long breath in and slowly releasing it. Stretch out and go forth with renewed vigor, a bright attitude, a loving heart.

 

Meditation and photo by Susan Helene Kramer; path through a forest in Fall



24. Holy All Saints Day Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi


All Saints Day is celebrated on November 1st each year, and is our special time to remember those who have come before us and dedicated their lives for the betterment of others. Serving the needs of others has its own reward of joy in the very moment of action, because the doer feels harmonious.

The reward for acting for the highest good is an option all of us can grab onto at every moment. And if we are not doing so now and wish happiness and harmony for ourselves, now is the time to change our views, attitudes and actions.

Because I have been through the experience I can tell you first hand that instantly your body will relax and mind become calm. This happened to me more that 30 years ago and my life changed for the better from that moment on. It is a personal decision to go for harmony, thereby bringing happiness into your life and acting as a catalyst for others to follow suit.

All Saints Day Meditation

To begin, first arrange your meditation altar if you use one with a nice center or side candles, incense, fresh flowers. Wash and put on fresh clothes. Sit on a cushion on the floor facing your altar, fold your legs in. Alternately, sit up straight in a chair with the soles of your feet firmly planted on the floor. Clasp your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs.

Close your eyes and begin regular, even breathing for a minute, such as 2 counts to breathe in; 2 counts to breathe out; 2 counts to breathe in and continue the rhythm during the meditation, but let go of counting the numbers.

Breath is a bridge between body and mind and regular even breathing calms the mind and relaxes the body.

Now take a minute to think of an appreciation for someone in your life who has inspired you to be your best. Think on what qualities that person had that struck a chord with you. Those would be traits to emulate.

Take some time to think of a specific saint who has inspired you; reflect on their qualities and how you can incorporate them into your own life.

Finish your meditation by taking a deep breath in and slowly releasing it. Open your eyes and write any new insights in your meditation journal. Stand, stretch and go on with your day with appreciation for the saints who have come before and modeled the highest way to live.




25. How to Make a Spiritual Holiday Wreath

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

This is one of my favorite times of year because I have time to reflect and meditate on all I have to be thankful for. Probably I really get into the Christmas spirit beginning with Thanksgiving Day, when we are given the opportunity to express all our blessings, usually around a feast with family and friends.

The Christmas spirit really takes hold when I begin working on a holiday wreath. Here is how I do it:

Begin with a medium round pizza pan or other round fireproof plate or pan of similar size, about 12 to 14 inches in diameter.

Stand thick candles toward the outer rim, evenly spaced a part. I use thick candles so they don't burn down too quickly. I like to use red candles, but you could use a different color for each week leading to Christmas, or choose those with different decorations to make each week special.

Now, place a special candle in the center to be lit late on Christmas Eve or first thing on Christmas Day. I like to use a white candle with gold or silver decorations. To me that is very special.

At the base of the candles lay pieces of evergreens in a circlet pattern with the fronds overlaying the stems of each piece as you lay it in place. You could use holly with berries interspersed with pine.

I also like to place small figures of animals, such as sheep or cows amongst the foliage before moving them to my manger scene at Christmas.

To use the constructed wreath, either place it on your meditation altar or on your mantle or dining table, where ever it seems appropriate in your home. Also scale down the diameter of the pan or plate holding the wreath items if you have a smaller space to place it.

Be sure that when the candles are lit they are not near anything flammable like a tablecloth below or objects at the side or overhead like a hanging lamp.

This Christmas season I wish you many blessings and an opening in your awareness of the real meaning of Christmass.




26. Independence Day 4th of July Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Let’s take a few moments for silence and appreciation for all we have in our lives, because those who came before us fought hard that we may live in an independent country.

Here is a prayer to include in your meditation on the 4th of July .

May the glory of Independence Day
Remain in mind in heart
May we cherish our hard-won freedom
That it never falls apart.

Because those who walked before us
Believed in freedom’s cause so much
We can carry forth a torch
Of honor and ‘In God We Trust’.

That first Independence Day
More than two centuries past
Must live forever in our thoughts
Never forgotten - never a lapse.

It is a precious land we hold
In safekeeping for our children
That they, as we, may enjoy
Lives bountiful, worth living.

May God’s blessings ever
Ring out
Over all our land
A toast of praise we raise today
Americans  join hand in hand!




27. Independence Day Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Independence Day, in America the 4th of July, is a time to reflect on the sacrifices we have made and make to be able to express ourselves without suffering negative outcomes. But, it is important to remember that one's expression cannot be another's repression. This is just one point to reflect upon on Independence Day.

Reflective Meditation

Begin by sitting in your favorite spot or in a quiet place in the garden. If you are sitting on the floor on a mat fold your legs in and clasp your hands in your lap or place your hands palms up or palms down on your thighs.

If you are sitting in a chair, sit up straight and place the soles of your feet firmly on the floor. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs.

Close your eyes and begin regulated breathing without stress or force, such as breathe in on count 1; breathe out on count 2; breathe in on count 1; breathe out on count 2, and continue in this pattern during your meditation without actually saying the numbers.

Do not hold your breath at any point.

Breath is a connective force between body and mind; even and regulated breathing calms a restless mind and relaxes an agitated body. Use it any time you need to calm yourself.

Freedom and independence are precious. Now is a good time to think on what these ideas mean to you. Let your thoughts develop, one thought leading to a deeper thought, like peeling the layers of an onion, layer upon layer.

In this way you gain depth of understanding on the importance of independence, and independent thinking in your life. We each have a unique gift to develop and share with the world. Independent thinking can help you discover yours.

Finish your reflective meditation by taking in a deep breath and slowly releasing it. Open your eyes and write new insights in your meditation journal. Occasionally, go back and review your thoughts.



28. Independence Day Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Every year on the 4th of July we have the wonderful opportunity to celebrate our freedom. Let's remember in our prayers and meditations to be grateful and thankful for all we have.

May we nurture freedom's call
Protect what we have gained
Give our best and do our best
Where freedom's concerned - not complain.

Refrain:
For America's independence
So courageously fought for and won
We give our heartfelt thanks.

We owe so many a debt of praise
For opening to us a land
Where people can strive and reap rewards
Working together hand in hand.

Refrain:
For America's independence
So courageously fought for and won
We give our heartfelt thanks.

With appreciation and honor today
For others having cleared the way
For a land where opportunity calls
Where freedom is a given for all
We give our heartfelt thanks!




29. Labor Day Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Labor Day Verse

For all the work we do each day
We deserve a rest
All year long we really strive
And try to do our best.

Labor Day's a time
To let go of the strife
Put up our feet, take a break
Really enjoy our life.

Let's take a quiet moment
To reflect with thankfulness this day
For family, friends and all we have
The blessings on this Labor Day.

Meditation

Begin by finding a quiet spot to sit on a cushion on the floor with your legs folded in. Alternately, sit on a straight-back chair, with the soles of your feet on the floor for balance.

Fold you hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs. Close your eyes. Begin even regular breathing such as 2 counts to breathe in and 2 counts to breathe out. Keep up this pattern throughout your meditation.

Take time to think on all the family and friends you have, your coworkers and all that you are truly grateful for. Everyone is part of your immediate family or your global family.

Think on this: We depend on each other to do the best at work so we all benefit. After all, we give our hours at work for others' benefit and they do the same for us, as we are all sharing and using the natural resources.

Take a deep breath in and slowly release it while giving an appreciation for this day of rest. Open your eyes, stretch out and go on to enjoy your day.




30. Labor Day Prayer for Reflection

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

May we reflect lightheartedly and prayerfully on this day of celebration by sitting in meditation and reflecting on the following verses!
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Sculpture by Arturo Martini (1889-1947) Time for rest; time for play
We celebrate on Labor Day.

Throughout the year we give our best
We each deserve a little rest.

The days and weeks and years march on
Work well done an unspoken song.

We thank you Lord for giving life
Even when work seems more like strife.

In work we have a chance to show
Our talents perhaps, but surely to grow.

Interrelating and doing our jobs
Helps us remember we’re an important cog.

On the wheel of life we turn and go on
Fulfilled when we say
"A good job we've done."

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prayer and photo credit by Susan Helene Kramer; sculpture by Arturo Martini (1889-1947) "Judith en Holofernes" Kroeller-Mueller Museum, The Netherlands




31. Labor Day Walking Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Labor Day is dedicated to rest, relaxation and celebrating all the effort we put into work.

This is a perfect opportunity to commemorate through a walking meditation in nature …

To begin, pick a familiar trail so you needn't worry about where your next step may lead, while reflecting inwardly on the benefits received in your life by giving "your all" to work.

Set out in an even rhythm such as taking 2 steps to breathe in and 2 steps to breathe out. Let your arms swing at your sides - right arm and left leg forward, then left arm and right leg forward. This practice develops right-left brain synchronicity.

Walking along in stride let your thoughts turn to appreciation for all gained in life by your labors, such as the essentials of life for yourself and family, and the companionship of coworkers and colleagues.

Appreciation lifts the spirits, and combined with a walking meditation
sets the stage for peace and harmony at home and work.

Walking along, attuned, in time,
Walking along, feeling fine.




32. Prayer in Honor of All Saints Day

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Let us honor the lives of saints who've tread the path we are now on, by remembering them on November 1st.

I see this as a time to remember there are others who came before us and through sticking with one or more virtues elevated themselves into an eternal blessed consciousness.

Reflecting on the lives of saints shows us the path through life, though it may be materially difficult at times, has a built in reward in that forever in our meditation we can commune with Peace and Joy.

Remember that by their lives the saints have shown that joy is a quality that bubbles up to fill in the spaces of each moment with peace and contentment, fueling the fires of caring and loving devotion with family, friends, the community of the world.

Prayer in Honor of the Saints

The saints have come before us
To show us how to pray
They tread a path of righteousness
Lived it everyday.

They modeled what it's like to live
For truth, the noble way
To follow this same path
We have the choice ourselves today.

Dear saints, keep us
In your hearts each day
That our needs will be fulfilled
That we'll learn to pray.

For goodness comes of being good
That example you have shown
Heavenly saints rejoicing above
Pray for us till we come home.
To our heavenly home return
Till we justly return home.




33. Story of a Christmas Angel

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Christmas time comes once a year
But lives forever in our thoughts
When we extend a helping hand
With loving kindness in our heart.


She was sitting on a window seat gazing out on the snow that had fallen during the night. The angel was disguised in the garb of an elder, obvious from her flowing silver-streaked locks and relaxed bent posture. She had been through and seen so much during her many days; knew it would not be long before her tresses and skin matched the blanketing drifts outside.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Manger scene. Photo credit Susan Kramer
But in the meantime she was using these moments of reflection to think back on what she had done with her life. Had she used it wisely? Had she done all that she had come for?

Deeper and deeper her memory searched back and looked at events where she had an opportunity to help others, especially children in life and death circumstances.

There had been several children she'd pulled from the clutches of death who would have drowned. Two youngsters had fallen into swimming pools and she was the one who saw them at the bottom, and without a second thought had jumped in and pulled them out, almost as if they had never fallen in.

And then there was the time a boy of 11 had drifted out on the early winter's ocean surf on a child's raft. Because his legs had become cold with hypothermia he could not kick to get himself back to shore. She had run into the breaking waves with more will than strength, while calling to others to help drag him to safety.

Now that she was too tired to run on the beach her acts of selfless love had taken a new turn. While she would sit at her computer she would go deeply within and dream up stories and meditations to help others fulfill their mission on earth of developing beautiful souls, by using opportunities as they arose to contribute to a better world for all.

Particularly, she wrote on how parents could guide children to be the best they could grow to be. She shared hints she'd learned along the way, with the intent of instilling spirituality in hearts and minds through simple kindness. And as parents would be teaching, so they too would get ideas on how to actively care.

Was the mission of the Christmas angel accomplished?

I'd say it was, as this morning when glancing over at the window seat I saw the reflection of where she had been as a glowing light, stretching outside, shimmering on the snow, rising above the trees and beyond the horizon.

And the memory came to mind this Christmas morning that Christ's message lives eternally: Expend energy lovingly with each other, as He loves each of us heart in Heart.

Is there any better way that a Christmas angel would live?

Poem, story and photo by Susan Helene Kramer




34. Thanksgiving Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi


A meditation, written as a poem and prayer, for remembrance of ways we are truly blessed…

Creator and Sustainer
I am grateful
for all the pure and loving blessings
I have received in my life.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France. Photo credit Susan Kramer
I am grateful
You have come to me
through the caring of my friends
and that You have
worked through my caring actions
for the comfort of my friends.

I am grateful You have inspired me
to look for more than meets
physical, mental and emotional views
by providing disappointments in those areas
that I may seek out Your Presence
in that quality that can never
be taken from me
Infinite Lovingness.
Lovingness for my family, friends, creation
manifestations of Your Self
Your own lovingness.

I am grateful to always be able to reach
for your hand of guidance by following
the direction of my conscience.
I am grateful to feel unconditionally loved by You
as I love unconditionally.

I am grateful to be able to tune my inner heart
to Your divine music whenever I choose
letting myself rise within Your uplifting presence.

And most of all I am ever grateful
for my time as a human
To be able to love and feel love
with all my body, mind, heart, soul, spirit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Prayer and photo credit Susan Helene Kramer; Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

 



35. Thanksgiving Tradition and Meal Prayer

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Thanksgiving Day comes by once a year so let's make the most by offering sincere thanks for all that we have. Here is a prayer to get you started and perhaps include as your circle of family or friends gather for a holiday meal.

In my family when the kids were growing up we took time to hold hands around the table, and each take turns saying one appreciation for the person seated to our right. Then the head of the table said a prayer of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Today we give thanks for all that we have
For our family, friends and neighbors, too.
For a bountiful harvest to partake
And as much as we can, to be of use.

Thankful we are for continued health
To give our time and helping hands.
For jobs to care for those we love
To provide for much as we truly can.

We are thankful for fuel to heat our homes
And gas to run our cars.
For warm clothes against the winter's wind
We very grateful are.

We are thankful for our basic needs
For everything that's here.
We know by sharing from our bounty
Others will find their way this year.

For those nearest and dearest to us
All our community, too.

And for our billions of brothers and sisters
A worldwide family all, it's true,
We are thankful and grateful this year!




36. Thanksgiving Celebration Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

This is a special holiday to really reflect on all we have to be grateful for and not to dwell on the shortcomings. Thanksgiving Day is a time to show care and share with family, friends or those less fortunate by donating groceries or serving at a shelter.

Thanksgiving is a time to extend our borders of self to consider that we are part of the large family of humanity. Reflecting on our interwoven lives feels satisfying, because we start feeling our interconnection with others.

We can extend the Thanksgiving Day feeling by smiling as we walk down the street and with those we interrelate with during the day. For example, I know the grocery store checkers feel the warmth of a smile. I've observed how they relate to kind and cranky customers, and it's different.

Thanksgiving Day Meditation

To begin: choose a quiet place, and if you have a meditation altar it would be appropriate to light an orange or yellow candle for it cheeriness. Burn some incense if you like and set out a plant or flowers.

Facing your altar, sit on a cushion on the floor with your legs folded in and back held straight. Or, sit on a chair with your back held straight and your hands clasped in your lap or palms facing up or down on your thighs.

Close your eyes and begin breathing evenly, such as one count to breathe in; one count to breathe out; one count to breathe in; and continue this pattern for a minute. Then, let go of the counting but keep up the rhythm for the rest of the meditation.

Now, think of at least two things you are grateful for, thankful for in your life. You could include family, your job, your health. Reflect on how you can add to someone else's joy by being kind during your regular day.

Take some time to send caring thoughts out to your family, friends, community, world, universe. Allow yourself to feel expansive while feeling part of the larger whole.

Finish your meditation by taking a deep breath in and slowly releasing it. Stand and stretch and go on with your day, feeling whole and refreshed. If you keep a meditation journal now is the time to write any new insights that came to you during the meditation. Later you can go back and review them.

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Holy Father, Beloved Mother
Thank you for what I've been given
Teach me how to be gracious in living
That I may expand my love
With all I know
And share Your love wherever I go.




36a. Thanksgiving Day Affirmations and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

We have this special day each year to concentrate on the blessings that flow through our lives. And we return those blessings to family, friends and larger community by kind thoughts and acts.

 

Even keeping a positive attitude blesses others as the feeling is picked up by those crossing our path each day.

 

Let’s use Thanksgiving Day as a starting point to show we really are grateful for nature’s bounty by conserving our resources for now and future generations. Isn’t it our responsibility as earth’s stewards to keep what we have in good shape and flourishing for all? 

 

Thanksgiving Affirmations

 

In thanksgiving for earth’s bounty

I’ll do my best to conserve natural resources.

 

To show thankfulness for blessings of family and friends

I’ll be kind each step along the way.

 

To grow in thankfulness

I’ll meditate upon the true gifts I’ve received

And contemplate how these treasures can be spread.

 

By being thankful I’ll be thoughtful

Caring, sharing myself with those in need

 

I pray to the giver behind all gifts

That I may always be thankful for what I am given.

 

Thanksgiving Meditation

 

Decorate your altar for the holiday, perhaps with an orange, golden yellow or cranberry candle. Burn your favorite incense.

 

Sit up straight and close your eyes and begin even and regular breathing in a measured pattern such as one count to breathe in, one count to breathe out, one count to breathe in, and continuing on with this pattern during your meditation. After establishing your rhythmic breathing, let go of the counting and continue the pattern throughout your meditation.

 

Contemplate the meaning of Thanksgiving Day in your life. Is this an opportunity to be with family and friends in appreciation for this group of people in your life? How can you show others you care about them? When you feel thankful how does your energy level change? Do you feel inspired and energized?

 

Take a moment to give an appreciation for the bounty of your family and friends in addition to your special meal.

 

To finish your meditation take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Open your eyes and write down any new insights in your meditation journal. Stretch out and enthusiastically go on with your day.





37. Thanksgiving Day Grace


Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Thanksgiving Day comes once a year, but if we turn our thoughts to thankfulness every day we reap the rewards of contentment and blessedness year round.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Photo of Paleis Het Loo, The Netherlands by Susan Kramer
Thanksgiving Day Grace
Meal Prayer

For all our family, and friends too
We give our thanks
Dear Lord to you.
For food to eat, for clothes to wear
For giving us the time to care
For teaching us that loving deeply
Lets us feel well, live completely.
As your children, young and old
For all these gifts and more untold
We give our thanks
Dear Lord to you.

A tradition my family has enjoyed on Thanksgiving Day is holding hands at the table before our meal and going around the table with each of us saying what we are thankful for. Even the little ones participate. Then we have the more formal meal prayer.

We like to set the table to reflect the meaning of the day with a centerpiece of candles and colored fallen leaves. I like to use gold and orange candles for the Thanksgiving centerpiece surrounded by oranges stuck with cloves. Before we begin the meal I heat apple juice or cider with a cinnamon stick to remind us that thanksgiving, daily, is the spice of life.

Thanksgiving and appreciation are qualities that warm our hearts and fill us with energy to think and act kindly. What better way is there for us to live in our world than by spreading kindness and joy wherever we are.

Article and photo credit of Paleis Het Loo, The Netherlands by Susan Helene Kramer



38. Thanksgiving Day Meditation Around the Feast

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Prayer of Thanksgiving

For all good things we give our thanks
For family and friends, too
Thanksgiving for the natural world
Preserve it we must for more than a few.
For food to eat, a home to rest
For quiet time to pray our best
We give our thanks dear Creator, to You.

Thanksgiving Meditation around the Feast

Incorporate this meditation and prayer into the time you sit around the table to enjoy a bountiful meal with family or friends.

Prepare the table by laying out a cloth and making a center piece with a large candle surrounded by autumn vegetables, fruit or flowers.
When it's time for dinner let your guests know you are going to incorporate a Thanksgiving prayer and a period for silent meditation at the end of the meal.

I suggest you wait until everyone has eaten so the food does not get cold, then hold hands for the prayer, such as the one above. Next, go around the table and let each one give an appreciation for what they especially are thankful for. Then spend a minute in silent meditation before unclasping hands.

Now, it's time for dessert and that can truly be a time to warmly share amongst family and friends.

Events like this help spiritualize the bond between family and friends and remind us we are not a lone island on planet earth, but rather interwoven into each others' lives on the local and global scale.

Let thoughts of thankfulness, gratefulness extend from your holiday celebration into life by caring and sharing what comes your way for the good of family, friends, community.




39. Thanksgiving Peace Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

As hours of daylight wane, and we spend more time indoors, here is a passage for thanksgiving and meditation on the power of our 'inner light' to shine for world peace.

Never underestimate the power of prayer, intention, meditation for uplifting all minds. After day is done, our time on earth completed we will see that divisions keeping us in the delusion of separateness will have melted away and we will be of one mind in the greater One mind.

Let us give thanks during the holidays this year for all we've come into consciousness of as one humanity.

We brightly shine in Autumn's light
With caring actions day and night.

Lighthearted acts with all our might
Open us to 'inner light'.

Peace is needed everyone
Our constant song let that become.

The universal Source of light
Knows our need and knows it's right.

To light our life with joy and peace
Giving all a firm release.

From bondage, selfishness, withholding
From darkness by pure love's unfolding.

Autumn days give time for thinking
Let's uncover 'the light'
Let's go for peace keeping.

That all lands as one become
And flourish fully
work well done!



40. Veterans Day Prayer and Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

May we take a few moments to reflect, remembering those who served our country well ...

You gave for peace with courage
That families may be free
So children could grow strong
And safe they'd ever be.

In giving for the sake of peace
You may have suffered loss
Your body may still show its wounds
From taking up the cause.

May remembrance of your time away
Your sacrifice for peace
Spur us on to strive more strongly
For freedom, that there'll be release.

From causes that sent some away
To fight that we may freely live
With gratefulness we thank you, veterans
For all you gave and give!



40a. Warm Weather Outdoor Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Let's take the opportunity to commune in a meditation with nature. We can let the natural sounds be part of the rhythmic pulse of our meditation just like we listen to the regular pattern of our breathing.

To begin, go for a walk to a secluded area where you will not be disturbed for half an hour or more. It can even be a meditation bench at the back of your yard if you have the privacy. Another choice is a public park such as the Santa Barbara rose garden in the photo. If you sit with your hands folded in your lap and eyes closed, those passing by will think you are resting and not wide awake behind your shut eyes.

If you have a beach nearby sit at water's edge but not so near that a wave will overtake you. Ideally, you've brought a beach towel or blanket along to sit on.

Meditating outdoors requires a little more preparation than staying in the house: include a sun hat, sunscreen, sweater or light jacket, towel or light blanket, water bottle, insect repellant, fruit or granola bar.

For the meditation, if you are sitting on a blanket on the ground bend your legs in and fold your hands in your lap. If you are sitting on a bench plant your feet firmly on the ground to maintain your balance. Fold your hands in your lap or place them palms up or palms down on your thighs. Either way of sitting close your eyes.

Take a deep breath in and slowly release it. Begin even regular breathing one count to breathe in; one count to breathe out; continue this pattern throughout your meditation.

When you breathing is established listen to the sounds of nature around you. Do you hear birds in the distance. Listen to the rhythm of their songs. It is so much like human poetry or song in its repetitions. This rhythm is soothing to the soul. Paying attention to a bird song takes us on a mini-vacation away from cares of this world into a land of harmony.

It is this natural harmony we are looking to capture and take with us after the period of meditation.

When you are ready to end your meditation take another deep breath in and let it out slowly. Stand and stretch and walk home feeling the harmony of nature all the way down to your bones.

Coming home, if you've had any new insights during the meditation write them in your journal for future contemplation and review.



41. Winter Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

By taking time to regularly reflect, meditate, seek guidance from the quiet within, we can work out many of the problems we face in the active part of our day. Winter in the Northern Hemisphere with its longer hours indoors is a time for deeper reflection and meditation on long-range goals.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Susan Kramer - winter full moon
To begin:
Choose a quiet place reserved for meditation; a corner of a room, even a closet can be converted to make space.

Sit on a cushion or chair with your back held straight, hands folded in lap, eyes closed. Sitting before a low table with candle, burning incense and flowers is conducive to peace.

Begin even breathing: Counts 1, 2 breathe in; counts 3, 4 breathe out; counts 5, 6 breathe in; to 50 or another even number.

Stop counting and just continue to breathe evenly. Reflect on the day's events. Decide what to do about a situation that is unresolved.

Re-evaluate your goals, if necessary. Plan the next day's actions to harmonize with the best for all concerned, preserving personal peace of mind in the process.

Keep a journal at your side and reflect on long-range goals. In subsequent meditations note your progress.

Also, a journal used in this way becomes a valuable tool for recording issues you are going through at the time. Writing is one way to work out sticky problems in an objective rather than emotional way.

Finish the meditation with prayers or affirmations for personal and world peace. Stand up and stretch, refreshed.

Article and winter full moon photo credit Susan Helene Kramer




42. Winter Solstice Meditation

Article by Susan Helene Kramer
Shuchi

Solstice is a time for reflecting that all life on earth is cyclical. It is another opportunity to give your prayer and meditation life a regular cycle of its own.

By taking time to regularly reflect, meditate, seek guidance from the quiet within, we can work out many of the problems we face in the active part of our day.
Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: photo credit Susan Kramer
To begin:
Choose a quiet place reserved for meditation; a corner of a room, even a closet can be converted to make space. Sit on a cushion or chair with your back held straight, hands folded in lap, eyes closed.

Take a few moments to read an uplifting writing, or say an affirmation for personal and world peace such as:

Personal peace, one by one,
Grows into
A peaceful world home for everyone.


Begin even breathing: Counts 1, 2 breathe in; counts 3, 4 breathe out; counts 5, 6 breathe in; to 50 or another even number.

Stop counting and just continue to breathe evenly. Reflect on the day's events. Decide what to do about a situation that is unresolved. Re-evaluate your goals, if necessary.

Plan the next day's actions to harmonize with the best for all concerned, preserving personal peace of mind in the process.

Finish the meditation with prayers or affirmations for personal and world peace. Stand up and stretch.

Personal peace retained
Planetary peace more easily gained.


Article and photo credit Susan Helene Kramer


 

Collection One 1. to 40.   http://www.susankramer.com/meditationarticles3.html
Collection Two 41.
to 80.   http://www.susankramer.com/meditationarticles3a.html
Collection Three 81.
to 120 http://www.susankramer.com/meditationarticles3b.html
Collection Four 121.
to 160 http://www.susankramer.com/meditationarticles3c.html
Collection Five 161.
to 200+ http://www.susankramer.com/meditationarticles3d.html

Prayers January through June  http://www.susankramer.com/meditationarticles4.html


All content on this site is copyright Susan Helene Kramer
 and may not be used in any manner without express written permission.
Email: susan@susankramer.com

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A meditation and yoga practitioner since 1976, Susan, Shuchi, writes on practical spirituality, meditation, yoga, family and social issues, and dance. Her instructional books are listed at her web site http://www.susankramer.com/books.html


 

page created October 3, 2009; updated April 21, 2011

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