Reverend Dana St.Claire

The Path IS The Goal

Reverend Dana St. ClaireHi ~ Thanks for clicking on my personal page.  I am going to chat with you here just a bit, and then you will find 2 versions of my Life story here ~ the first is very brief ~ the second is longer, juicier.

Albert Einstein said,  “There are only two ways to live your life.

One is as though nothing is a miracle.      The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

I concur.  I choose the miracle.

In my early 20s, as I studied ‘The Nature of the Soul’, I would say, “If I am receiving this caliber of training at such a young age, what is the rest of this incarnation going to be like?!”

I’ll tell you what ~ it’s one sweet ride. I do and have really enjoyed my Life.  I have been kept well-amused.  Yes, it’s had its ups & downs, its rough patches ~ places, inside and out, that I wouldn’t choose to visit again.  As it turns out, such is the nature of Incarnating Human On Planet Earth.  Grist for the mill.

I am completely grateful for all that I have learned & all that I have remembered.

If there is one totally worthwhile thing I’ve learned ~ choose to be amused, rather than annoyed.  Being annoyed is the easy way.  It’s easy to be annoyed.  It’s easy to be a pickle.  And yet, that annoyance is the cusp of a slippery slope you probably don’t really want to slide down.  Been there.  Done that.  Sent the t-shirt back.

I am Grateful and Blessed to do what I do ~ sharing meditation, The Love That Heals, Compassionate Kindness, with my amazing, brilliant fellow humans.

The Dalai Lama says, “My religion is kindness.”  Mine, too.

I wish you well as you travel your Path.  May it unfold before you with Grace, Clarity, Style & Laughter.

Here’s my ‘Brief Bio’ ~

Trained to teach meditation in her early 20’s, Rev. Dana St.Claire has been teaching people to meditate for over 40 years.  A ‘Purveyor of Meditation’, Rev. Dana shares tools, insight and guidance to live a centered, sane, more joyful and fulfilling Life.

Here is my ‘Bio of Greater Detail’ ~

Come, join me in my obsession ~

In this incarnation, I have navigated a Spiritual path uniquely self-directed.  Much of the message I share with you, the tools, insights and suggestions, come from my own Life-experience.  The realizations of my own ‘figuring things out.’

My whole Life I have been blessed to be ‘shown the way’ by instruction and guidance I have, gratefully, received from inner voices I’ve heard since I was a little girl.

When Scott & I first got together, he was working in the field of mental health. When I mentioned to him that I have always heard voices, I learned that ‘hearing voices’ is a sign of mental illness.  Smiling, I looked him in the eye and said, “Hhmmm . . . I guess it all depends what the voices are telling you.”  Mine have always been insightful and spot on. Works for me.

Looking back over the last 40 years of my Life, I can see, Whew!, I have really been obsessed with meditation ~ especially, with sharing insights, tools and experiences of meditation. I am privileged to guide others as they discover, excite and activate their own realizations, their own inner Life.

I am completely convinced that the ‘reason’ we are here, incarnate human, is to become as Soul Conscious, as Love Conscious, and Compassion Aware as we possibly can, while we are here being human, while we are here touching each other’s lives, and contributing to our world.

It is true that the only way God ~ The Great What Is ~ touches this world is thru the heart and hands of each incarnate human.

We are Spirit incarnate in human form.    We are Spirit having a human experience.

In potential, your expression, your work, the Life you live is Love made visible.

After all, God is Love.

One of the huge blessings of my Life is to have been found by my obsession at an early age. I began meditating at 19. We were friends immediately. I felt so ‘home’.  In the days of the Beatles, Maharishi and Transcendental Meditation, I received my TM mantra. I could say I embraced meditation right away, but, as I think about it, it is as if meditation embraced me. It came and got me.

Driving home, after our day at the meditation center, receiving our mantras, I remember saying to my then-husband, Bob, “I feel like a person who has always really loved ice cream, but the only flavor I knew about was vanilla.  All of a sudden, I have been turned on to ‘31 Flavors’!”

Looking back at that, I have to smile at how accurate that ‘knowing’ was.

Bob & I were supposed to return to the TM Center to participate in weeks of classes, explaining meditation to us.  We never went.  I began meditating for 20 minutes twice a day.  Had anything in my sweet, short Life ever felt so right?  Looking back, Thank Goodness I didn’t have it ‘explained’ early on.  That would have changed everything.  I am Grateful I got to explore meditation my own Way ~ unburdened with ‘shoulds’ and expectations.

As it turns out, soon after meditation entered my Life, every ‘certainty’ in my world came completely, dramatically upended. I was 18 when I married Bob, a guy I’d met, at 15, when the lines got crossed on the telephone.  That fleet instant of spazzing electricity was my premier ‘Fickle Finger of Fate’ moment. That phone wire fritzing effected the trajectory of my entire Life.

After 5 years together, 2 months after we began meditating, Bob decided he was “in love with another woman.” Yeow! After months of strangeness and anguish, I moved out.

Thru that period, I meditated twice a day because it was the only sane thing happening to me.  I had not one whiff of a thought about how meditation was ‘spiritual’ or that it was going to ‘save me’. [Remember, we never had meditation ‘explained’.]  That simply did not occur to me.  I meditated because I wanted the respite, the sanity I found in those few minutes each day.

In 1970, my marriage ended, I continued to work and returned to school. Thru the ‘Experimental College’ catalogue, I found an intriguing class on campus, called ‘The Nature of the Soul’. As I attended the initial meeting, the instructor, just in his introductory discourse, told me everything that had been going on in my Life for the previous year and a half.

Hhhmmmm . . . Maybe I should check this out.

‘The Nature of the Soul’ is a 40 lesson class, meeting once a week over the course of nearly a year. The information shared was of a caliber I had never heard anywhere else. I was completely intrigued. Not only did I ‘check it out’, I gobbled it up.

‘The Nature of the Soul’ presented a different ‘way’ to meditate. “There’s a different ‘way’?!”

TM, the meditation form I had been practicing, is a ‘mantric’ meditation ~ you say a word or sound ‘mantra’ over and over, in your mind, to still churning thoughts [‘monkey mind’] and to come to a place of peace, clarity and, ultimately, enlightenment. It hadn’t occurred to me that there might be other ‘ways’.

‘The Nature of the Soul’ taught a ‘seed thought’ form of meditation. With this ‘way’, as you begin your meditation, you consciously go thru each of the 3 bodies of your instrument ~ relaxing the physical body and releasing tension, calming the emotions, quieting the mind ~ and become available to your spiritual self. Poised in the moment, you open to the ‘energy’, the ‘essence’ of the seed thought.

Yes, a very different ‘way’.

In the first few paragraphs of ‘The Nature of the Soul’, it is stated, “Look not to the source of this instruction for its authenticity, but rather, look to the application of it in your daily life.” Wow. I definitely resonated with that.

I have always been wary of approaches to understanding Life that say, “This is the only way! Everyone else is wrong!” To me, that tactic appears fearful, defensive (“Don’t make me look at or question my beliefs!”) and focused on ‘self-interest’. I see “This is the only way!” as a directive more interested in the well-being of the ‘organization’ than the well-being of the human being.

In this moment, I say to you regarding the tools and insights of Maylaigh that you find in this website and our videos ~ Look not to the source of this information for its authenticity, rather, apply Maylaigh in your inner Life. Exercise it. Stretch yourself. Dance with The Love That Heals.

Give your Process of Becoming as much of your attention
as you would readily give to your concerns and afflictions.

It was thru ‘The Nature of the Soul’ that I was trained to teach meditation. This series of intensive esoteric instruction set my feet firmly upon my path. I embraced what I learned in this training as my Life’s work. I have taught meditation ever since, privately and in weekly groups. I have offered seminars and retreats, community full moon meditations and other public presentations for nearly 40 years.

Growing up, I always knew I would be a teacher. I never once thought that I would be a meditation teacher.

Reverend Dana St. ClaireAs I completed my ‘Nature of the Soul’ Teacher Training, I went on my first ‘road-trip’ to Oregon. It would not be my last.

At age 24, my meditation training was broadened as I lived at Nyingma, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Berkeley, CA. The first day I arrived, I heard the Rinpoche say, “The only difference between an enlightened man and an unenlightened man is a sense of satisfaction. That is the only difference.” Ok, you’ve got my attention now.

It was also from this Rinpoche, Tarthang Tulku, that I heard “The Path Is The Goal.” Whoa. I immediately saw the Truth in that. That compelling realization is one awesome piece of awareness-transforming information. Now there’s a worthy seed-thought.

After living at Nyingma, I returned to Oregon. I spent most of the next quarter century of my Life there. I married again, and was blessed to give birth to two Amazing children ~ my son, Isaiah, and my daughter, Lyla.

I have to give these 2 Remarkable Beings a ‘shout out’ ~ Just by being your Extraordinary & Wonderful Selfs, you always make me look so good. Mahalo ~ you’re The Best.

(Teachers and other adults would credit me for Isaiah & Lyla being kind children, perceptive & engaged, and commend me for “doing a great job” as their Mother. I’m real clear that I have ‘outstanding material’ to work with ~ they each were Exceptional Humans from the get-go. However, I will take credit for not ‘maiming’ them.)

As a young girl, a voice in my head would say, “Remember what this feels like.”  In my teens, maybe to be sure I got the message, the voice evolved to, “Remember what this feels like, because you will be on the other side of it.”  I raised my sweet children remembering what it ‘felt like’ to be the kid.  We’ve had a great time together.  I am ever grateful to the guidance of that voice.

Lyla & Isaiah are truly my Gurus. They allow me to practice and embody all that I have learned about insight, kindness, guidance, compassion and my own deep wisdom. I am ever grateful to my two gentle, wise, brilliant, funny teachers. Thanks, My Sweeties.

At a meditation retreat Scott & I attended in May, 1984, a segment of the program had an individual go into deep meditation to a place of profound stillness. Others would ask this deeply centered person questions. The stance of the person in meditation was escaping the thinkery’s “I know! I know!” to allow a response to come from that deep stillness. As I was the one in deep meditation, a participant, Jan Wilcox, asked, “What is Humanity’s next step in soul growth?”

The response that came from that profound stillness, “Humanity needs a new word for The Love That Heals.” Jan asked, “What is that word?” I sat in the stillness, my thinkery having no idea what that word is.  As I sat, a merry-go-round appeared above the outer corner of my right eye. Rather than horses going up & down, this merry-go-round had letters going up & down. I spelled what I saw, “M-A-Y-L-A-I-G-H.” Jan then asked, “How do you pronounce it?” As I would say the combination of letters inside my head, my phonetically-trained brain kept trying to make the ‘gh’ silent. It took me a bit to acknowledge that I was hearing a soft ‘ikh’ sound at the end ~ May lay’ ikh.

‘Maylaigh’ is a new word for The Love That Heals.

I realized, then, that receiving Maylaigh was an incredible gift. And, I do have to say, at that moment in May, 1984, I had no idea that experience, that word, that Love That Heals, was going to inform the fabric of the rest of my Life.

Looking back after 40 years of experience & exploration, I can say opening to and working with Maylaigh, the embodiment of that realization, is akin to a person who has never seen the ocean, experiencing its awe-inspiring vastness for the first time. Thru your own practice, your own exercise, as you draw in and open to The Love That Heals within your heart, within your inner & outer awareness, you will experience exactly what I mean.

The Truth, the ‘usefulness’ of Maylaigh, The Love That Heals, is the huge, inspiring element of revelation in my Life.  I am totally zonked by the perfection.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In 1984, I began hearing a voice that would occasionally, randomly say, “You need a gong.” A what? Each time I heard “You need a gong,” I would think of old ‘Charlie Chan’ movies and ‘plate’ gongs. I didn’t know bowl gongs existed. In the Spring of 1985, our family was planning to drive from Oregon to Southern California to visit my parents. The day before we were to leave, I saw an ad in a magazine, “Buddhist Meditation Supplies ~ Pillows ~ Incense ~ Gongs.” Really!?! The ad was for the Shasta Zen Abbey. Exact directions were given, “Just off Interstate 5, north of the town of Mt. Shasta.” We would be driving by there the very next day(!). Naturally, we stopped. In their [right livelihood] gift shop, they offered different sizes of bowl gongs. Bowl gongs?! Trippy! I purchased a ‘medium’ sized one, and we continued south on I-5.

At that time, each week I offered 3 ‘Women’s Spiritual Support Groups’ in Corvallis, Oregon ~ ‘The Heart of The Valley’. I learned what the gong was about by sharing it with these groups of bold, Spiritual women, sounding the gong as I guided the meditations. I came to understand that utilizing the gong tones while guiding meditation comes to me from past-life training. It certainly wasn’t anything this Life had equipped me to do.

I stand in awe of how well the gongs do what they do ~ mindful centering ~ insightful deepening ~ in one evocative tone doing more than a whole mouthful of words could ever accomplish.  The tones of the gongs take you places mere words could never find.

Ordained as a non-denominational minister in 1986, I have been creating & performing Ceremony ever since ~ Weddings, Baby Blessings, Memorial Services, House & Office Blessings, Wise Woman Ceremonies, Full Moon Meditations.

‘Maylaigh Ministries’ is ‘A Meditation Ministry of The Love That Heals.’

In the 1990s Scott & I, with Isaiah & Lyla, lived in ‘Garden Home’, a neighborhood in SW Portland, Oregon. We were fortunate to be part of the thriving Spiritual Family at Unity of Beaverton. I was ‘The Women’s Minister’ ~ speaking at Sunday Service, and, with the Gongs, offering Women’s Meditation Retreats at the Oregon Coast, guiding monthly Women’s Meditation Circles and weekly Women’s Spiritual Support Groups. Scott was ‘The Prayer Team Minister’, guiding the circle of caring Souls as we gathered twice a week to pray for the comfort and well-being of others. Powerful work.

Our daughter, Lyla, then in her early teens, was instrumental in starting the Youth of Unity (Y.O.U.) Group for teen-agers at Unity of Beaverton. That group thrives to this day ~ a haven, ‘a great place’ for teens to gather in friendship and growing awareness.

Nearby in Garden Home, I recorded my first 4 Gong & Meditation cassette tapes at Rainbow Recording. Two of these tapes ~ ‘Tapestry of Healing Sound’ & ‘What Is ‘I’?’ ~ have been remastered and ‘freshened’ with additional gong tones. They are both available on this website along with our other 5 meditation CDs.

During this time, Scott and I produced our cable access TV show, ‘Meditation with Dana St.Claire’. I received phone calls and was stopped by people in cafes and on the street, telling me, “Thank you for what you do.” Pretty gratifying. A comment I heard more than once, “It doesn’t even look like a cable access show!” ‘Meditation with Dana St.Claire’ was voted “Most Popular Show” two years in a row.

At Unity of Beaverton, Scott & I also offered ‘Opening To The Angel of Abundance’, weekly groups allowing participants to deepen into their inner Life and open to the Angel of Abundance ~ softening, and ultimately transforming their inner stance of fear and lack. The ‘key’ here is to not continually invite the Angel of Abundance in — “Come in.” “Come in.” “Yoo hoo, come on in.” — but allowing Her to actually cross the inner threshold, come in, sit down and, together, have a cup of tea. A compassionate respite from ‘not enough’.

In October, 1995, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. Yup, I must say that came as quite a surprise. Several different things really Saved me at that time ~ certainly my longtime meditation practice, excellent medical care, huge prayer support and reading,

“This cancer may take years off my Life, but it is not going to take Life out of my years.”

These are the moments that certainly “put Life into perspective.”  Thru this time, my most significant inner life-line was this ~

“I am centered in my private unfolding.

Aligned with the rich, cool balance of the moment.

I connect to my personal oasis.”

Thru that experience, it became increasingly clear to me that in any Huge Life Lesson ~ serious illness, the end of a relationship, financial hardship, the death of a loved one ~ you are called upon to draw a deep, centering breath and ‘do it’ the way that makes the most sense to you. It is your “private unfolding.” Other people, out of their caring, or maybe their need to ‘control’, may tell you that you ‘should do this’ or you ‘should do that’. Thanks for sharing. The truth is, you have to ~ you get to ~ do it ‘your’ way.  This is your Life Experience. As you navigate this painful, frightening time, it is yours to ‘mine it’ for the gems of insight and self-awareness that are there for you.

Within yourself, insist upon aligning “with the rich, cool balance of The Moment.”  This moment.  Here.  Now.  No ‘shouldas’ from your past are going to save you now.  No ‘wouldas’ or ‘couldas’ from your future have power in this moment.

This Is The Healing Moment.

Keep your eyes open in times of adversity. Make good use of those times for what they are ~ a vehicle for inner growth, greater understanding, furthering and fostering your own Becoming. Within yourself, insist upon connecting to your “personal oasis.” It’s your Life. You get to choose.

Nearly 20 years ago, as I was writing a ‘bio’ for publication, I heard in my mind, “I am a purveyor of meditation.” “A ‘purveyor’? What’s a ‘purveyor’?” I knew ‘purveyor’ was a real word, but I had no idea what it meant. I looked it up. Purveyor: “to furnish or supply, to provide; the one with the tools or the goods.” I had to smile. “The one with the tools.” There it is ~ my passion ~ sharing the life-transforming tools of meditation. Indeed I am A Purveyor of Meditation. Blessed and Grateful am I.

Reverend Dana St. ClaireI am always happily willing to share the resources and tools of this Life-transforming process. Thru the 70’s and into the 80’s I taught ‘The Nature of the Soul’ to groups of men and women. For nearly 30 years, thru the 80’s and 90’s and beyond, in groups, retreats and private sessions, I have had the privilege of working almost exclusively with women ~ my cherished Sisters of Light.

In the early 2000’s, when we were in Southern California, my groups, retreats and presentations were, again, almost always women and men.  This was certainly true when Maylaigh Ministries offered Sunday Services and Prospering Prayer Circles in Toluca Lake, California, from early 2003 til late 2006. Thru our Services, we were blessed to share our insight, our understanding, our ‘way’ with an amazing congregation of ‘Compadres of Spirit’. Our hearts were touched by so many dear souls. We are especially grateful to our friends, Ron & Lois Thelen, for their encouragement, guidance and support as this part of Maylaigh Ministries blossomed and flourished.

Our Sunday Services were enhanced by the singing, keyboard and flute artistry of the talented Hal Fort Atkinson, our Music Minister. Nearly every Sunday included evocative gong & flute guided meditations. We were blessed with Hal’s original songs like the ever-popular ‘Busy, Busy’ and ‘Angel In The Backseat’. His wise & gentle ways coupled with his awesome musical gifts were a real hit with our Maylaigh congregants. Thanks, Cousin Hal.

My father made sure Scott & I met Hal, and his wife, Amy, soon after we moved into my childhood home to care for my folks. Hal & I are very distant cousins. We know each other at this time in our lives, because our great-great-grandfathers, Marcellus and Atthirades Atkinson, were brothers during the Civil War. Very trippy business.

To add to the ‘very trippy-ness’, Hal now lives here on the Big Island, not far from where Scott & I live ~ how’s that for bodacious synchronicity?!  We are so grateful and delighted to have Hal nearby.

In 2003, I recorded 2 new mediation CDs.  In April, ‘Air Over Water’ was recorded with the help of our dear friend, Don Martin.  Later that year, with Robert Tepper at Addison Sound, I laid the foundation of gong tones that would become our first instrumental CD, ‘The Path Is Maylaigh’. Cousin Hal was instrumental in the creation of this grace-full “aural journey”. In addition to his inspired flute, Hal brought his talented friends along to play. Jan Hasman added saxophone and Robert Tepper laid down a guitar track. Our son, Isaiah, recorded a vocal homage to the chanting of Tibetan monks (whom he spent time with in Dharamsala, India, in his late teens). The CD concludes with ‘The Grounding Chord’ ~ sounding the ancient, sacred OM.

During this time, my office was in Toluca Lake, where I saw private clients, offered Women’s Meditation Groups, and performed small weddings. The Toluca Lake area holds a special place in my heart. The whole time I was growing up, my mother worked at the Bank of America in Toluca Lake, across the street from Warner Bros. Studios. As a child, I spent my days at nearby ‘Kilgore Kiddie Kamp’ and attended Toluca Lake Elementary School. And, then, there I was, in my 50’s, back in this lovely area, doing my work with Maylaigh.

The latter part of 2008 found us & Maylaigh back in the recording studio. And, again, Cousin Hal knew just the right music professional, and connected us with his good friend, Wayne Boyer, of Spirit One Studio. Wayne is a multi-talented musician in his own right, and I am Very Grateful that he shared his sound engineering expertise with Maylaigh. These recording sessions produced our 2 newest guided meditation CDs, ‘Healing With Maylaigh’ and ‘Abundant Maylaigh’, each enhanced with inspired gong & flute. The third CD created in these sessions is Maylaigh’s second completely instrumental CD, ‘Love’s Spaciousness Conveyed’ ~ spaciousness, and then some. This CD is an immersion in gong and flute poetry ~ created in our meditation for your meditation ~ truly a centering, uplifting gift of gentle peace.

I was born in Burbank, CA, in 1949. Before I even graduated from high school, following my mother’s footsteps, I began working for Bank of America. [I was there for almost 5 years. My mother retired after a 40 year career ~ having crafted a rather remarkable position in Bank management, which, then, was still a very male-dominated work environment.] In my early 20’s, I was on staff as California Institute of the Arts [Cal Arts] opened its permanent location in Valencia, CA. I resigned that position in 1972, as I left on what I thought was a ‘road-trip’ to The Great Northwest. Such a ‘road-trip’ it was! With a few exceptions, I lived in Oregon for the next 26 years.

Scott & I met on Valentine’s Day, 1982, at a party for yoga and meditation teachers in Corvallis, Oregon, hosted by my dear friend and True Wise Elder, Ethel Hankey.  On a cliff at Cape Perpetua, overlooking the Oregon Coast, we married on the 4th of July, 1985. As Lyla was entering first grade and Isaiah the fourth, we moved to Portland, where we lived for the last 12 years we were in Oregon. As a result of our move to Portland, Isaiah and Lyla each graduated from the exceptional and highly regarded Catlin Gabel School. In late 1998, with Lyla and Isaiah both in college, Scott & I relocated to Southern California to live with and care for my elderly parents. We moved into my childhood bedroom. Whoever said, “You can’t go home again,” didn’t live on Dana’s World.

I am ever-grateful to my ‘Good Bud’, Scott. Lyla and Isaiah were 2 & 5 when we met. He helped me create a loving, encouraging home for them, as their caring and engaged father, mentor and friend. Just before Lyla graduated from high school, my father had a stroke. Scott & I moved south soon after she left for college, and for 4 years, he helped me care for my ailing parents. Abundantly woven thru this all is the welcomed satisfaction of the deep Spiritual Life the 2 of us share. We were each immersed in Spiritual training before we ever met. As it turns out, Scott is right when he says, “We were arch-welded by God.” And both the better for it. Thank you, Scott, for being your compassionate, selfless, functional self. My Life is richer ~ and way more fun ~ because you are such a wonderful, kind, loving part of it. You’re The Best!

As I write this in early July, 2009 (with a little editing in Dec, 2012), Scott & I live on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. In the years after the gift of Maylaigh arrived, we both began to sense a future that included “a retreat center for Maylaigh in Hawaii.” We each recognized the resonance between the inspiring, restorative energy of Maylaigh and the sweet, uplifting Aloha spirit of Hawaii. We currently speak and share Guided Gong Meditations with groups of like-hearted souls on the Island. We are growing this website and regularly creating new YouTube/Maylaigh video segments for your enlightened viewing pleasure. [Check it out!]

Thank you for joining us here.

We are, each and all, destined to travel this Amazing Journey to Becoming. You can avoid, resist or postpone it all you want. The inevitable does occur. We are each here, incarnate human, to become more Awake, Aware and Alive.

No time like the present.  Cut to the chase.

As it is said, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”

Your own inner Life is your Great and True Friend.

Traveling your Path, your tender heart finds a deep and certain peace, as you foster the Blessings of Self-Compassion and Clear Vision.

Thanks for choosing to Incarnate Human on Planet Earth.  Our world is a better place because you are here.

Show up. Be kind. Contribute.

If there’s any choice you are here to make, it’s to Enjoy This Incredible Ride.

May the Generations Behind Us and the Generations Before Us, Receive Sustenance

From the Wisdom of the Presence That Dwells Within Us.

Namaste.