You know how there are times in our life when everything changes? There is freshness, innocence, and delight in these shifts. Leaving home at 19, creating a home with four others then, or having each of my children, or being a Girl Scout leader. Teaching meditation is fresh each sitting, spontaneous, in-the-sparkle of the moment and the energies of the people, the devas, and the world that are gathered right then. My inner processes have been repeated times when everything seems to have changed: understandings, insights, participation with inner and outer life, emptying, emptiness, and the dance of the heart. MS has been part of that inner journey: its inconstancy, the steadfast march of acceptance/allow/give-in to the new/give away give away give away, and simply be.

Moving to Colorado has been the latest categorical change.

I love New England, and thought that I would never move from the lush green everywhere, the crisp colors of Autumn, and the particular blue sky of winter with crystalline listen-t0-it-fall snow. But, I have left and have moved to the high desert of San Luis Valley in south-central Colorado, only a few miles from the New Mexico border. (Interesting, about border towns: Spirit Fire in Massachusetts is only a few miles from the Vermont border too.)

I now live at around 7700 ft elevation. Towering mountains of 12-14,000 ft can be seen in three directions. In the last few nights, they have been blessed with the fairy dusting of snow. It is a beauty that, like the vast sparkle of the night sky, makes one’s heart sing. I love it here. I love it.

My spirit and mind feel home like they did when my dog and I would hike the 90 acres of Spirit Fire’s land by ourselves before it became the beautiful and heart-full meditation and retreat center that it has become. Now others experience what I did there. Thank you Steve and Tim and all who over the years have nursed the vision of Spirit Fire. A walker has replaced the faithful dog!

Dear Jane and Lynn, from whom I will be renting the small house still incomplete in its renovations and ADA equipping, are the latest teachers in my life. Each person along the way has been from the bevy of girls of the Girl Scout troop over its years, to my now-grown children, to colleagues and friends, and family members. Due to all of you, and now Jane and Lynn, the outer me is made thin while the inner essence is more deeply discovered and lived from. It’s a humbling, gentling process. Jane lives the Paramitas like no one I have ever encountered. Her constant generosity of time, energy, action, and genuineness is a wonder. Her self is nowhere in her picture of reality, therefore she is in a state of joy all the time! I love how our Dharma, karma, and merit put human beings together in circumstances that are always conducive to spiritual growth. It is all so perfect.

I went to a Mexican tile shop in Taos, NM (an hour away) for the new bathroom. The experience was like none other to this New England girl. Hand-made beauty everywhere and you could feel the aliveness of the clay and mud of the tiles. As I started to walk among the rows of color and design, my mind and sensations were transported back to a couple of Spanish lives I had had around 12-1300. It was giggly. Driving into Colorado two years ago from the north, Native memories were so strong, poignant, and joyful that I had to pull-over more than once. And, now in Jaroso with long stretches of vastness skirted by towering mountains, my Himalayan past, its training, and its silence make me melt sometimes. Gratitude is too small a word – both for the kindness of those from my past and from all those who have made this new adventure and chapter of my life possible.

In this newness and nowness, ribbons of memories from myriad past lives play. I feel like a plant not quite yet creating the bud that will become a blossom, but know that that flowering is inevitable. Thank you to all who have made this possible now and through all my lives. Our samaya is forever. Deep gratitude.

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One-year Esoteric Psychology program – begins in retreat April 2019

I am very excited to invite you to join the one-year Esoteric Psychology program that will begin in Wisconsin in April 2019. Registrations are now open.

What is Esoteric Psychology? It is a comprehensive study of a human being as an evolving being of consciousness and capacity. The first focus is Energy as recognized through the seven primary and archetypal energies in our solar system and beyond: the Seven Rays.

The Seven Rays underly all manifestation and expression. Esoteric Psychology holds oneself before one as the evidence of the Science of the Seven Rays. How you think, learn, communicate, or move in your body is, right now, demonstrating at least one of the five dominant Rays that comprise your energy signature. The temperature of one’s emotions through the day report the Ray of the emotional body. Passionate, excitable, and quick to respond are hotter in temperature than patient, calm, or reserved; whle both emotional aloofness or cruelty feel cold. The temperature analogy is also describing certain Rays on the emotional body. But, the Seven Rays are only one focus of the one-year Esoteric Psychology program.

Other subjects of study and interactive group processing are:

  • the unfolding of the chakra system and subtle anatomy. This is demonstrating every moment of every day already, but does one recognize the chakric or vehicle reason for such manifestations? Why are some habits hard to change and others not a problem? Furthermore, whole-self transformation is greatly supported when one understands the inner wholism that one is working with.
  • the spiritual Path and its ongoing unfolding through our life. In other words, everything is Path. Learning how to work life as Path speeds one to greater ease in one’s life and fosters one’s capacity to serve others and the world.
  • the understanding of others and the world through the wide lens of energy, telepathic currents, and ongoing ceasless change
  • plus, the cultivation of meditation as an art, science, and way of living one’s Being.

The Seven Rays display in the learning styles of children and in the teaching styles of parents and mentors. There are many esoteric (hidden) reasons for increased sensitivity in the children that are incarnating, in the ways that their minds work, and in their choice of parents. Generally speaking, they have a chakra system that is functioning alternatively, and usually more refined, than society as a whole. Informed support of the young people in our life and the world is another good reason to take this program.


The one-year Esoteric Psychology program begins Friday, April 26, 2019 near Madison, Wisconsin. It is offered in association with Spirit Fire Meditative Retreat Center, an educational non-profit organization. The one-year Esoteric Psychology program consists of:

  • four weekend retreats (Friday evening – Sunday afternoon) providing a secluded environment for weekend intensives, deep work, group meditation, and camaraderie. 
  • retreat location: Durward’s Glen in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
  • twice-monthly online mini-classes or practicums in Esoteric Psychology, the science of the Seven Rays, and your expansion;
  • selected reading from Esoteric Psychology I & II, Discipleship in the New Age II, the Rays and the Initiation by Master DK through Alice Bailey, as well as other texts
  • instruction in meditation. 
  • Tuition: $1000. $500 deposit required by December 17, 2018.
  • Lodging: $500 total for all four retreats. $150 deposit required by January 11, 2019. *Lodging is single occupancy/private rooms. 

This program is drawn from a multi-year Esoteric Psychology program that was taught in Toronto, Boulder, and Boston from 1993-2004. The facilitator is Donna Mitchell-Moniak. She holds a master’s degree in Esoteric Psychology and PhDE in Esoteric Philosophy, both from the Seven Ray Institute. She is a meditation teacher, author, and the founder of Spirit Fire.    Donna’s blog is .

Contact: Donna Mitchell-Moniak ( with questions. Register at

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Thank you, and …

Thank you everyone for:

  • meditating together
  • your support for my upcoming move to Colorado
  • and for being in my life.

While I’m moving and settling in, there will be no live meditations. Please continue meditating, though. Develop yourself in wisdom and compassion, in truth of Being, and in transparency.

Support goodness, clarity, truth, and ease of the suffering and discontent in the world in every way possible.

Keep an eye out for my upcoming programs. They will be announced here.

Peace and light, donna

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advancing meditation: luminous aspect, Patanjali last one

“Once one sees the distinction between pure awareness and the luminous aspect of the phenomenal world …” Almost every word in this instruction is a mini-instruction! In this meditation the focus is “the luminous aspect.” We have encountered this in many meditations. Quite often it is the immediate experience in the first seconds of a sitting. For most people, this experience is pure awareness. It is not profound, pure awareness, but is pure and is awareness compared to what normally occupies one’s mind. This is experienced as luminous or bright, clear or transparent, simple and unadorned, perfect as it is. One feels present as Presence. Excellent!

But, by analogy, this experience is like a child learning to doggy paddle saying “I can swim,” compared to an Olympic swimmer. Yes, the child is swimming, and yes, one is experiencing pure awareness, yet there is so much more that is possible.

Patanjali gives us pause, then, when he says that we are to experience the “distinction between pure awareness and the luminous aspect of the phenomenal world.” This requires the former experience of pure awareness plus perceiving through daily phenomena to the luminous nature that actually is presenting as the experiences of life. In Buddhist advancing meditation and life practice this is part of Mahamudra. In this regard, one technique that will support Patanjali’s and the Buddha’s instructions is encouraging oneself to simplicity of thought and purity of emotion. This is accomplished through living as selflessly as one can. Not only does this bolster in-the-moment Presence but  consistently undensifies the phenomenal world. The latter results because the perception of density is a by-product not being Presence, pure awareness.

Presence “deconstructs all of the phenomenal world’s objects and conditions” not by doing anything but by fact of Being. Pure Awareness is “discriminative insight” because pure awareness is pure Awareness.

Meditation training, then, is the habitualizing of one’s waking consciousness to its innate luminosity and transparency. These are attributes of pure Awareness; and Awareness is the genetrix of all states and forms of consciousness and cognition. Our problem, so to speak, is that we don’t know there is a mother-nature. We, like the child learning to swim, only know what we know. Meditation constantly tantilizes us with the more that we are innately, like the Olympic swimmer was once a child learning to doggy paddle.

Patanjali adds one more important teaser. “Once the luminosity and transparency of consciousness have become as distilled as pure awareness, they can reflect the freedom of awareness back to itself.” Consciousness rarely engages its own luminosity and transparency, let alone cognizes these same attributes within the experiences of perception called phenomenal existence. But, as clarity and voidness are consciously cultivated, consciousness purifies thus does its perception of phenomena. With this, phenomena is also freed from the densifications that an impure and circumscribed consciousness put upon existence. Now, consciousness is becoming distilled, purified. One will then begin to experience the sameness, or one taste, of Awareness whether expressing through phenomena, through cognitation and consciousness, or through Itself.

Patanjali has described what within Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist teachings is understood as Mirror-like Wisdom, also called Reflective Wisdom. Pure Awareness and all that awareness IS perfectly report each other to each other, like a mirror perfectly reports what stands before it. The mirror cannot fabricate something alternative. In truth, phenomena doesn’t either. The simplicity is that phenomena is Awareness expressing. Existence is Awareness, Awareness is Existence.

Patanjali has encapsulated a profound realization and teaching. Tilopa gave this instruction to Naropa with, “Look into the mirror of the mind.”

advancing 083018 luminous aspect


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advancing meditation: distinction and transparency: Patanjali 4

Distinction, discriminitive insight, luminosity and transparency. In Book III of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the cognitive capacity for distinction that is commonly used to distinguish red from blue, rain from snow, or any other seeming difference is now used in a vipashyana way. One is to notice the usually not noticed of the luminous transparency of life.

Using the ability to distinguish has become a habit that denies the greater elegance of all that appears and appears to exist. There is another way to live with and use this transcendent cognitive capacity. A several minute explanation of Patanjali’s instruction is given before the meditation; so there is no need to type it here.

Vipashyana is vast and profound. Both Patanjali and the Buddha gave step by step instructions in how to liberate one’s Awareness from the seeming and apparent. We are to recognize the transparency of all appears and appears to exist.

advancing 082818 distinction and transparency

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