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Issues of Time - Hidden Mysteries of the Grandmothers

Posted on August 22, 2017 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (3)

Issues of Time

Aging and changing, the cycles of life keep moving onward in their endless progression. As a teacher of chair yoga, I see how bodies age with time. There is a trend in our society to create the illusion of agelessness, to hide or shun the natural process of aging. There seems to be a greater fear of aging than there is of death. As a woman I feel the pull of the collective in terms of appearances, competitiveness and fitness in general. Ironically, more so in my field as there is a bit of a pull beneath the surface to need to stay young and healthy.  


At times, there is a covert bashing, if you will in terms of illness or “improper aging”, where one is to blame for such occurrences. In many ways there are means to better support the body and care for the vehicle that houses our souls, but sometimes illnesses come to even those who have done the right things (diet and exercise and good will towards all other life forms), and in terms of aging despite all our best efforts it will show in time. The psychology behind anti-aging or youth liberation as it is now called, seems cloaked and hides the undertone that tends to denounce a fundamental inalienable truth; the nature of existence and life in the physical realm itself which is temporal. Fear of change, when all is ever changing on the outside anyways, the real truth of this earth plane is an endless cycle of change in response to time. The laws of cause and effect themselves are submissive to the fact that time wears on. The constant factor; time, is inescapable and yet we strive so hard to fool and outwit it. All is vanity in terms of this grand form of denial as the wise king Solomon was able to show in Ecclesiastes.


Beneath the surface, beneath the physiological realm, on an energetic and even psychological level what is at play here….? What does this mean when we see the collective ever eager to cheat death and age? The boom of the pharmaceutical age, whose bi-products ensure a quicker end to the life of the earth with the wastes and toxins they leave behind to ravage the lands …all so that we can cheat death, stave it off a little longer. A battle against the forces of existence, a truly existential crisis (though most existentialist cannot see beyond the dominion of man his glorious self centered existence and most certainly ignore the horrors we force upon the other kingdoms of this earth both animal and plant to name a few).


We seek to be god, we seek to cheat death; and all the while do not see the vanity in this. For those in the new age world it is convenient to accept ancient vedic ideas of being god, especially since we as a culture have ever been trying to do so in a vitiated way through our self obsession with selfies and individualism.  It is the social heliocentric theory;  we are the shining lights of our universe as we go about in self aggrandizement, eating well and hoping to save humanity all like little gods with our narcissistic herculean hopes ignorant of the bigger picture. We say use this cream or use this ointment, even the most green conscious of us all have a twinge of this inherited karmic collective curse of trying to be divine, and live strong forever. So too is the story of the most beautiful angel in heaven Lucifer the light that tried to outshine god himself. Amongst most religious or mythological tales there is the blight of mankind…mans secret curse induced by our own need, man like the coyote who is a bit too clever for his own good always striving for a bit more of that! That whatever that may be…for now it seems we as a whole want youth, health and life for as long as possible come what may as a consequence.


So we have factories pumping out plastics to cheat the shelf life of the products that are to keep us going just a bit longer and stronger than before. Huge powers that manufacture these goods, keeping dark secrets about the real truth; hiding the secret balance of ying and yang, for each life extended something else dies. Our anti-aging creams, our blood pills, our electric homes, our super modified crops and foods. Always wanting more….flavors, time, comfort, luxury; the market selling to the mindset that has been cultivated well, driven deeper by the original impulse for more.


We as a people must wake up while we are here to see the true consequences of our actions rather then pay them forward to the future children we may or may not leave behind. What do we leave behind for them?  It is not what we have while we are here that what matters in truth, and yet that is the way we are living.  Borrowing from the future to give ourselves the luxuries now, just a few more years or a little younger face.  This is the secret truth that is not remembered but for a few on Saturday or Sunday, and even when we strive to believe we hold this truth daily ….check and see if it is truly self evident -see where you are holding your vanity. Look to the secret shown in your own eyes as you gaze in a mirror.


We change, and we have a little power to guide the way we see this change, how we work with it, what we are doing in terms of it and how it really adds to the collective essence we leave behind; only then do we begin to take a sobering look at the truth and see our part in what is our temporal existance.


Always scrapping the surface, a bit of nip and tuck and little shot of this or that, a hint of freshness...forgetting we are all but fruit on the tree of life, with a cycle that involves change and culminates in death. So why then are we living as though we are only here to buy and sell eternity? This may be the biggest product we collectively sell as a people and the biggest illusion of them all. There is now, there is this and there is what we are doing with the time we have been given.


Eat organic local food, consume less fabricated illusions, leave behind less death for the next generation and care for the earth! Place these things above your own comforts, think beyond our species but of the ancestors of all living things to come. This is why the grandmothers used to be sacred and now are hidden, it is the great hiding of truth!  We hide the aged, the sick.  We drink the milk and eat the flesh but dare not see the factories that make them.  We love to look in the mirror but only see a shallow reflection of what keeps us here to see it.  Look deeper.  


The polarization of terms and ideas has been quite apparent to me in this current social construct. The pros the cons, the right the wrong the good the bad; are entrapments to greater realization. The realization that for each thing there is a price and when we stop looking only at our own preservation and look beyond to the bigger picture only then can we truly respect the truth that is time and life while we are here! 



Moon Cycles, Mother Earth, Women and Yoga Flow

Posted on May 11, 2016 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

The water element, Svadistana the second chakra.....energy within the pelvic bowl and the female reproductive system, how do these powerful forces relate to the cycles of the moon and mother earth?  The sacred power of womanhood has long been repressed in our culture.  We plug our cycles to keep moving, and pushing through our busy schedules.  The curse....some call the crimson tide of the womanly cycle.  The cycle of our birthing years runs approximately 28 days as does the cycle of the moon.

In ancient times it is believed that woman cycled on the new moon and ovulated on the full moon.  In Judism women are called to celebrate privately the womens mysteries on Rosh Kodesh which coincides with the coming of the new moon.  Today many women find that their rhythems have been disrupted by the use of artificial light, products and chemicals.  We have been called to block our power with the use of tampon...which are made of a toxic brew of chemical cleansers and agents.  We hold back our power and suppress it which can create adverse effects on the natural functionality of our womanhood.

As a test I decided to resist the use of such products as I found myself to be in great discomfort.  I wondered privately if the swelling and difficulties in my second chakra...with my digestion and distention could in some way be related to the blocking of this powerful energy.  The more yoga I did and the more I came to connect with my body through my practice the more such revelations seemed to guide me to this notion.  Remembering my teachers during our yoga trainings to urge avoidance of inversions during the moon cycle...I began to see how the use of tampons could cause a reverse of the downward flow and thus threw off my bodys balance throught the moon cycle each month.

The tides like our menstration are also effected by the energy of the moon.  In the tarot the moon is connected with womens red tent mysteries and sacred woman mysteries.  Oddly, the downward flow is also our grounded connection to mother earth.  Mother....earth and the soul itself.  This rich iron that flows from the body can be used by pagan witches to garden during the planting time.  There is a wonderous power in this life giving power that we as women posess.  The cycles of the moon mirror the cycles of our lives and our connection to this earth plane and our existance.

The sacred blood mysteries have begun to make themselves known.  It is critical that we as yogis and women begin to re-connect with our sacred and divine power which brings us in deep knowledge of life and death, birth and re-birth, the ebbs and flows the cycles of energy and the seasons.  This is the hidden knowledge that the new moon cycle teaches us.

So on the next new moon.  Go out into the night and meditate on the night.  Plant in your garden and ground yourself by touching the rich earth.  Try to one day....and perhaps if you can your entire cycle to not use products that dam or block your sacred time of flowing and see if you find yourself more grounded, calm and powerful throught the coming days until the 4th quarter moon!





Meditation the Way of Mastery

Posted on December 23, 2015 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Meditation the Way of Mastery.

So we begin! 

The path has opened before you and we are at the begining of the long road towards greater understanding and self discovery.  For the beginner, meditation can be a daunting task.  Who knew there was such a plethora of noise, such a storm of excuses and so many pressing things that arise despite every intention to find solace and peace within.  The inner realm is laden with shadows, light and many colorful thoughts and ideas.  So how does one navigate the uncharted waters of the concious and uncouncious mind when diving into the deep sea of meditation?  Multitudes of directions, many thousands upon thousands of electric pathways to follow.  Impulses, emotions and other things triggered by the mind in endless space of silence.  How strange that in what is supposed to be silent, there is so much commotion.  The mind is so unruly, and the pressing nature of the past and future are such strong deterants from staying present and centered.  So how can anyone find peace in meditation at all?

Lets start with the basics!

Step 1- Begin with a comfortable seat!  While this sounds easy it is very challenging for all those but seasoned practitioners, monks and the like. The body,  accustomed to slouching, easy chairs and other forms of lazy sitting;  has trained the muscles to form around structured weaknesses. Years of poor habits are readily felt when attempting to sit in what is know as Sukasana, A.K.A easy seat.   Easy seat is not so easy for most Americans, something I see everyday when I teach yoga classes.  For many sitting in an Indian Style Seat may be likened unto a form of mideval torture.  The Hips are tight,the back is weak, the core is not strong and the shoulders and neck somehow seem to compensate for what is lacking everywhere else.

The fix-

Try a pillow or cushion and sit to the edge of it!  If this is still too intense, sit in a chair with feet firmly planted on the floor, or lay down but dont fall asleep!


Step 2- Relax

So you finally have found a seeminly comfortable seat!  Now notice your muscles!  Are you clenching your jaw and teeth?  How about the eyes?  Are you squinting in over concentration striving to see in the dark screen of the mind with no avail?  Are you sitting too straight?  Think natural and relaxed.  Systematically go down from the head to the toes and notice each area as you move downward.  Ground down throught the sitting bones and relax your shoulders.


Step 3- Breath

Notice your breath.  Notice,... is your breath is ragged and uneven?  Begin by slowing bring your breath into a natural flow.  Imagine your breath as an ocean wave.  Feel the breath open and expand, while it moves in and through the body.  Visualize and feel your body open.  Then, onthe exhale....relax let the breath flow out of the body.  Feel the belly fill on the inhale and the ribs expand, soften and deepen toward the earth as the breath begins to move freely out of the body on the exhale.


Step 4- Guide yourself towards stillness within

This is a bit tricky to get to and to sustain for the beginer and intermediate practitioner.  Depending on the situations preceeding your meditation and those things that are happening in your life at the time, there may be alot to work through to get to the place of stillness within.  Some are confronted with several situations

A. Restless body.  The first distraction will be some itch, pain or discomfort.  This is common especially if you are begining a fitness regimen after a long period of being sedentary and have not developed physical stamina and strength.  This will happen not only in meditation but also if you practice yoga.  You will have to begin patiently and learn to differenciate complaints from reality.  This will be tough to work through but not impossible.  Remember this is a practice and takes practice.  So start with a do-able amount of time, such as 5 minutes to start.  It may take years to reach 20 minutes, but do not fret.  Shift to a more comfortable position like laying down to continue if need be but try and avoid constant movement and complaints.  The undisciplined mind will create many false sensations to distract you from this process.

B.  Mental Checklists.  Once you master the body you will find the mind is a tricky thing to contain.  This is where the real meditation begins.  Notice if you begin with mental inventories or even sermons.  You may find your mind will not remain still or quiet.  The mind is like a wild horse that has been running wild for a long time.  Expect to be bucked off a few times and perhaps even taken on a few wild rides or tangents.  Return to the breath and if need be....say to yourself I am breathing in and I am breathing out.

C.  Unpleasant emotions.  Often times when the mental checklists or thougths go on too far or long in the space of the meditation time, a thought will arise that will trigger an emotional reaction.  Anger, frustration, depression and sadness will arise.  This is not a bad thing, but it is a tell tale sign that there are things to work on.  Many of us rush around our lives attending to checklists and or us distractions to avoid confronting real emotions that exist and have perhaps been supressed in your walking life ( the non meditation part of your life).  It is not wrong to use your meditation time as a processing time, however the trick is to not let it take over your time.  So allow the feelings to be there.  Witness them as they arise, watch the thoughts come up and acknowledge them but use your breath and centering tools to prevent yourself from being hijacked by them.  So allow the feelings to come up acknowledge them.  Then, derail any thougths that will cause your mind to get stuck in a whirlwind of fixation.  Return to the breath and stay present keeping your eye on the prize of peace!

Step 5- Be patient.  

Continue to keep bringing yourself back to center if you find yourself distracted by any of the above challenges.  The most important thing is to not judge yourself or pressure yourself to much.  It is ok if you dont get to a Zen state.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Even if in the moment you feel not so peaceful,  keep breathing and coming back to the stillness and be the observer of your own inner world.  Be open to explore and learn.  In order to master anything you must be open to the fumbling nature of baby steps!  You are learning to meditate so dont pressure yourself to be a master in one day!


Keep to your meditations!   The more you try the more you will understand!  

Come to Terms with Your Body- Ground and Connect

Posted on April 13, 2015 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (1)

Coming to Terms with Your Body

The body is the first step in your yoga practice. Many of us have walked through life in complete disregard for our bodies. Pushing, prodding and forcing our way through, treating our physical form as a machine neglecting the regular maintenance. Despite our outer focused society, where the car and the glam and the way we appear to others are a central focus, we have ironically forgotten the old adage that the body is a temple. Some cringe to think of this verbiage, others perhaps hear this with a tinge of angst while misreading this to mean that we must make an idol of ourselves. The middle way, or a balance between the contrasting interpretations is a great place to start the process of understanding. In fact, it is the tendency to polarize ourselves and our views that continues to serve as, at least in yoga, to be a limit to the greater goal of oneness and wholeness we strive to embrace.

The body is the first step to your yoga practice. Grounding back into the body is critical to find the middle ground with which to begin traversing the great road of discovery that lay ahead. The journey in yoga is long, there is no McPeace to drive up to and order a side of happiness and never ending bliss. The reason yoga is called a practice is that it takes practice. The ground covered is vast and begins like any journey with the first step. The first attempt at a yoga practice may be daunting. Why? Well the mind particularly during the first few 50 attempts will be littered with noise pollution, the interjection of distractions of all kinds – each seemingly urgent and of great import at the time. The truth…none of the pending thoughts and petty complaints that arise are really of much concern in the greater scope of existence, but this is where we begin. At least, this is where I began….and I can speak only of my own personal experience, though many have related to me similar stories of their personal travails on the mat.

To connect first with the body is a high priority. I have come to think of it as a grounding wire, the way to prevent shock and greater troubles found in evoking higher levels of spirituality. A practice lead solely by the capricious mind and its crafty imaginings can be an exhausting chase through an infinite maze of possibilities. With regard to yoga, it is best to follow a plan, thousands of years of experience can serve as a guide and outline, but the way for each is somewhat different. Even when following an old routine or an ancient lineage, if you haven’t grounded into your body first however …you may be entertaining a hazard more so than a healthy option. If you begin to practice yoga without taking care to connect and respect your physical body, you may cause yourself injury unintentionally. The reason being is that you may not really feel what you are doing.

Imagine for a moment, all your life you have hit your head against a wall. You have done this for all the years of your life and suddenly someone tells you that this is the cause of great pain. While it may sound true in some ways, you may hesitate to embrace this new knowledge. Let’s imagine for a moment you do finally decide that the headaches and pain you have been experiencing may in some way likely be connected, and finally you decide to make a change. The problem is your body has grown accustomed to this treatment, so it may be desensitized to a more gentle approach, it may take quite some time to come to a more normalized scale of feeling. The same is true for yoga.

I have taught hundreds of classes over the years, and in these classes I have seen countless people struggle and attempt to go deeper and further than their body can obviously go. Unfortunately, I can tell them and suggest over and over again that they take a more moderate approach but yet the habit is there, they cannot grasp that I am speaking to them. Even if you tell a person directly, this is not always well received. I know that this is part of their journey and I can only suggest and try to help them learn this important lesson of respecting their own personal body. In truth I too, have found myself guilty of this tendency.

Learning the limitations of oneself is a challenge. Self reflection is necessary and the levels to which one begins to do this only deepen with time. There seems to be a bell curve where much effort leads to great self questioning and then one day this need begins to wane. In the beginning the need for honest self inquiry is paramount, though many great realizations may take time to avail themselves.

A gentle approach to yoga and life run contrary to every ounce of the American mentality. “Push and compete, strive for success, keep your eyes on the prize and don’t give up.” I can’t tell you how many people ask when they will be able to do a certain pose, etc. It is a common misconception to believe that the level of one’s physical practice is in some way the most important thing. The important thing is to know yourself. If there is pain, refrain. Move to a place of reasonable comfort. Effortless effort. The asana means comfortable seat, ironically many find themselves under the notion that a pose must be uncomfortable to gain greater benefit, this could not be further from the truth. While a certain level of discomfort is common in yoga, especially that of the restless mind finally called upon to quiet; pain is not a part of a strong yoga practice. The no pain no gain idea is not the model to follow in yoga, though it may be a phase of your practice as you move to greater understanding of the body.

The purpose of it all is to ground with the body, come to the present moment and get real. During the practice of yoga you will learn to respect your body and work with it not against it. This is one of the very first principles to learn – pace yourself, find a balance between your will and the ability to surrender and let go.

 

Deconstructing the Fortress of Fear

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (1)


When asked the other day my personal opinion on the meaning of life, I without hesitation replied to love and to learn to let the walls down. It is not for me the big picture of my purpose that is so difficult but the process of living in the context of it that is a bit of the challenge. On paper it looks great, and theoretically it sounds rather simple. Live in the moment, forgive and forget, let go and surrender to win. These catch phrases on the whole are the general point of life but it is in the process of living that the subtle nuances become rather tricky.

So how does one begin this quest for true love and freedom from the bondage of self? How to be comfortable in one’s own skin but on a true soul level and to be authentic and no longer party to the inner fashion show of a thousand personas? Off with the costumes not just in our wardrobes, though some may want to start there, but also off with the roles we play and the personalities we believe define our life.

What are these masks for? Well quite simple...they are our fortress of fear, our armor against the perceived attacks of this world. Essentially, the masks we wear keep us in spiritual asylum. All these are facets of our fear and serve as the founding belief that we are in some kind of battle against those who are out to get us. For the naysayers...I will concede that yes there are some dark forces to content with in this world and there are some harsh realities that we will come to face. This I cannot deny. However, in the attempt to protect ourselves from life we end not living it fully. In fear, we take on conditioned methods of survival that we may or may not be aware of. The act and the performance we use as a shield against pain keeps us bound within, locked away inside our true nature remains hidden, without ever really letting the true light within shine out.

This true light is the light of our authentic self, not the self we feel we must be. Beyond the skin, the neighborhood, the religion, the role we play, there exists the true essence of the real self. Perhaps even the mask of artist or scientist, these seemingly important qualifiers and definitions we ascribe to ourselves to separate us or rather to distinguish us from our fellow man are the very walls that prevent us from really connecting to other people, perhaps these roles while helpful in some ways may be the very thing keeping us from knowing the real person within. This western approach at self definition, at self actualization based on the need to categorize and classify ourselves as something special or different may in fact be the very walls that construct our own fortresses of fear.

The truth be told, we are all unique and different. Certainly we have different gifts and talents that do make us our own snowflake in this universe. The key is to not focus or attach too heavily on the differences, this becomes especially helpful when working with the great lesson of compassion, though I will expound upon that in a later article dedicated more to that point.

The goal is to first deconstruct the need to keep sequestered in our niches and comfort zones and this can only happen by beginning to unravel the tangles of theses facades and identities that we so cling to for self aggrandizement and clutch to, to perpetuate the competition mentality that keeps us alone and essentially keeps up from really ever really expressing the essence of who we are beyond our accomplishments. This is a state of agitation where the next parcel of life is greener and more desirable than being present, and a state of mind that anxiously drives us from who we are within as our focus becomes who we appear to be seen as from those outside ourselves. Granted, a state of neutrality and complacency is not the method of being in the moment of which we speak. What this disarmorment is about, is rather, slowly dismantling the feudal estate of fear that we have barricaded our hearts within, as we to live in an un-evolved state that is in essence our own personal spiritual dark ages. Locked in the box of social stigmas and expectations, shining only for our momentary accomplishments and titles but remaining lost and always seeking, endlessly looking for the quick fix that will last forever.

To let love in and let your light shine, we need to tear the walls down and take the heavy curtains off the windows of the soul. This takes place over a course of time and does not need to occur all at once. The most important thing is to first recognize that there is a heavy layer of protection disguised as our identity that needs to be released. Our attachment to this role in this earth plane is very limiting to the eternal nature of the soul within. Shedding these layers is part of our metamorphosis into the butterfly of our free spirit. Lovingly let the layers come off, shed the skin and bring out the new life. We must stop over identifying with the former or contrived self and carry it upon us as a heavy yoke. Drop the sack of rocks and chain mail and run free in a state of primitive naturalism, become a free spirit and exude the nature of who you are in a natural way.

It is funny but look around and then at yourself. Are you wearing a costume, am I wearing a costume? Who is there beneath the need for Respect, and need for Adoration? Who is there that may be really happy to just be free and joy filled. These large shoes we have been wearing are too hard to fill. Walk barefoot in this life. Liberate the person within. The spirit that existed with hope before years of conditioning about who you are supposed to become clouded the truth about who you are.

Join me friends and take a loving and compassionate look deep into your eyes and the eyes of others and see beyond the illusion and the charade. Let’s tear down the Berlin wall between us and our fellow man, and most importantly tear down the fortress of fear that keeps us from seeing the true nature of ourselves.

Namaste Friends

Love

Amanda

Taming the Monkey Mind

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (0)


For many of us in this fast paced world we are plagued with an equally fast paced mind. Our thoughts can become a whirlwind as we try to juggle the many events in our schedule along with the ongoing dialogue we have with ourselves. For many of us we have been conditioned to use a judgmental style of introspection that can be very damaging.

When the mind is not critiquing our own actions and deeds it is busy evaluating the actions and conduct of other people or entities. Part of the problem is that as we grow into young adults much of our learning is based on contrasts and the identification of opposites to create definition in our minds. While this is necessary for understanding, there is a tendency to take this trend too far. Combine this with our inherited belief systems and the values we are conditioned to have; we become more of a judgmental rational being whose concept of the world becomes increasingly rigid and set in stone.

The belief systems we hold can manifest themselves into bars or walls that entrap rather than liberate. The yogis speak of finding higher truth, and it is believed that in order to do so, one must find silence within the mind and quiet the ego chatter. The temporal and ever changing nature of our physical existence is thought to be a delusion that hides the real transcendental universal truth of our wholeness and oneness with the universe. This may be a bit philosophical for the layman to digest, however simply put there is something more than the petty preoccupations we often fill our heads with.

For instance, when a tragedy strikes or a profoundly meaningful event like a birth or a death occurs we often reflect upon the wasted energy and time we have engaged in with insignificant events and thoughts. The rude comment someone made or a sideways glance from a coworker, are in the moment a great tragedy; one that often calls for great controversy and dismay, though in truth this is just the bruising of the ego and no tragedy at all. Or, perhaps a relationship ends and this consumes our every thought, so much so that our mind becomes a wasteland of negative vacillations and a myriad of pictures mingled with a playback of old critical assertions, when all the while time will pass and this perceived catastrophe will later be seen with greater reflection as a lesson.

The monkey mind, always looping and busily working towards chaos, with a diatribe of cyclical thoughts spinning like a hamster on a wheel, is just a result a panicked state. Indeed the nervous system will react to not only real physical threats to safety but also to troubling thoughts imagined or real of our safety being threatened. The body will react the same way, by engaging the sympathetic nervous system to react for self protection. The method by which we react or respond to this threat real or otherwise can be channeled in a number of different ways depending on our level of mastery. Many of us have come to recognize this already. And for most of you introspective soulful yogis this is nothing knew to realize as it may have been what prompted your quest for self realization. It is however a difficult thing to master, and many seasoned pilgrims on the path towards ego liberation and wholeness still find this at times to be a challenge.

 So for you my dear reader, of whom I am truly blessed by, I have compiled a few simple steps that come from a combination of Eastern Meditation Techniques to assist in the taming of the monkey mind.

Meditation for Taming the Monkey Mind

Step 1- Find a peaceful setting where you can find a comfortable seat and sit down

Step 2- Take a smooth and long inhale through the nose and even longer full exhale out through the nose. (This engages the parasympathetic nervous system and deters the fight or flight tendencies of the sympathetic nervous system)

Note- much of our rampant thoughts can be directly correlated to a jagged and fast paced nervous or anxious breath so give the slow breath a chance to slow the horses of your speeding mental chariot.

Step 3-Begin to relax the muscles of the body starting with the eyes, the face, the jaw and then down the shoulders. Cultivate a natural posture whereby you are using the technique of effortless effort, i.e. balance between will and surrender.

 Step 4- Use the breath as your mental soundtrack, letting all judgments and thoughts pass through the mind without any attachment to them. Try to use the breath as the only mental sound you hear.

 Step 5- Feel compassion in your heart for yourself, welcome in a lustrous pink light of love and compassion into your heart and imagine your heart blooming like a delicate pink rose.

 Step 6- After considerable time allow the breath to become natural and effortless and gently open the eyes and hold a soft gaze let this feeling of love join with all you see and feel yourself a part of all that surrounds you.

 Step 7- After the monkey mind has been tamed you can allow for a solitary message from your higher self to come in to your heart.

 

This is the end of the meditation and I recommend this to be done every day or as often as needed to help still the storm of mental vacillation 

Namaste

Mood Swings- The Pendulum

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (0)


So the pendulum swings, back and forth. For some the movement is faster and more extreme, while for others there is a slow and steady pace. Myself personally, my pendulum once moved with unruly force. I struggled greatly with the passions that were within me as a young person. It seemed my emotions were extremely high, and I was very sensitive to all manner of exterior stimuli. It has taken some time and great effort to manage these powerful waves of force within. Having a rather adventurous spirit and a very inquisitive and brave mind and soul, I have many a time been lead down whimsical paths; the sort less traveled. In many ways these experiences harvested great inner wisdom, often as a result of great folly and hard knock lessons. The knock often being my head as it hit a wall or dead end of sorts. Having both exposed myself to and been exposed to; these more colorful moments of tragedy, sorrow, love, lust, pain, and delirium; turning towards balance was extremely difficult for me in the beginning and still on some level remains to be a challenge.

 Some are born with this proclivity towards excess and others have learned it later as a go-to mechanism to cover inner conflicts; whatever the case may be whether it be an expression or for some repression, the shift from these tendencies can be extremely challenging and uncomfortable. Often times on a subconscious level the expectancy of these highs or lows can create a hare trigger mechanism within that will on a subtle and often unseen manner create a situation apparently on the exterior to return to this familiar extreme. Many speak of self sabotage and for many this occurs without even being aware of it. Perhaps subconsciously choosing situations that will bring about the very results that will provide the trigger for the inducement of these sensations. For instance, a person prone to nervousness and anxiety will find situations to provoke these behaviors subconsciously because it is the perceived state of equilibrium for that individual. It may seem odd to be in a position where nervousness does not exist for a long time and that in itself may serve as the catalyst for more.

 It is almost as if the default setting for many in this cycle of neurosis, is neurosis. The behavior, whether it is: depression, melencholy, nervousness, anger, impulsive consumptions etc. over time becomes the norm. After repeated patterns of behavior deepen in their mental grooves, the concept of center has shifted to this extreme place on the emotional number line. It is like drawing a chart with x,y, z coordinates the center point of the graph does not need to be at zero. This is the same case, in some ways many people are set slightly to one quadrant of behavior or the other. Finding balance takes a great pull or a conscious shift, because the natural homeostasis of the person has been set elsewhere. To satiate the naysayers... I will say that in many cases a slight skew is nice and adds to ones self definition and personality, that is if you value individuality over transcendence. For those on the yogic path or many of the paths of humility in the East, certainly the appraisal of individuality is not so important as it is here in the West. It is for this reason that many stay trapped in a paradoxical state of limbo, over justification of the behaviors as part of ones´unique personality and then self doubt over whether or not this identity really makes sense in terms of ones evolution.

 Ideally one will evolve over time. These evolutions will not necessarily be grand nor extreme, sometimes it is necessary to make bold leaps. However, the bold leaps forward tend to come with the necessary gentle subsidence of the pendulum swing back to a more stable center. This is often times the case with drug addiction. Those who like myself, have suffered from extreme drug addiction at one time know that the return to normal is a complex situation. Half the mind still questioning; normal, stable and such perceived fictitious contemplations and the other half of oneself knowing that the continuation of this negative spiral will culminate in the prompt and miserable end of life. The dance between these places is challenging. Once the leap is made to stop and change direction, the work only continues to advance. The challenge of finding a new center and regulating the storms of emotions within requires great perseverance and an open mind. The methods and tools contained within are in serious need of repair and refinishing. Many not even certain of what tools to use. In these cases the pendulum swings wildly and it takes great effort to slow it down; only then can one begin to shift the paradigm on the graph of existence.

 Or, perhaps in the case of the abused woman who long suffered the blows to her self esteem and self worth. She may have spent years now in repair and reconstruction and have left behind this legacy of physical beatings and abusive pain long ago, but still have a deep subconscious misalignment. She may subconsciously still feel that a passionate relationship needs some extreme sensations in order to be defined as real love or compatibility. She now knows that the hitting and name calling are wrong but may still settle or expect extreme shows of affection and sadness to define true interest in her and the relationship. The pendulum is still swinging thought not as wildly as before. There may be a subconscious tendency to create issues or problems, drama or anxieties because peace in a relationship still remains a foreign and odd center to hold. It may take a great deal of time before she may be able to live in peace without distrust. the pendulum must learn to operate at a peaceful place, one devoid of the extreme dramatic interludes relationships may still be characterized by somewhere in her world view.

 Perhaps you have never been in this type of situation and feel this article has nothing to do with you. But pause for a moment! You may be unaware that it is possible that even your own balanced pendulum may still be skewed ever so slightly and the graph of your soul may be set a bit more to one side than the other. It is said that the likes and dislikes of man are a great deceiver. In the East and the cultures of great compassion one must be willing to shed the particularities of this and that. So perhaps there is a way to evolve your character even further and to live with greater self mastery. Unless we have arrived at pure peace daily there is still work to do, and the pendulum of life is still swinging from one side to the other. Good luck in your introspection and inventory. It is great to penetrate the veil and see beyond ones perceptions of truth.

 

 

Walk Your Talk- Integrity and Honesty

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Upon the spiritual path there comes the time where the philosophy must become pragmatic, grounded in actions which reflect those ideals which have been set as intentions. This is where the walk reflects the talk. This is where we have the opportunity to use the principles and put them to good use. It has been said that faith without works is dead, and here is the great turning point. How can the ideas and values we hold, be authentically expressed in our daily lives and day to day affairs?

 A measured step with mindfulness is now called upon, and reactions must shift to a new dimension and become responses, or rather a response suited for the call to greater integrity in the moment. The default patterns must now shift to steps taken with honest reflection and follow a higher design. This is where the real work becomes manifest. Intentions are the first step, but do not become real until they are actually lived.

The words we speak and the dialogues we have with others must come from a new place. Not from nervous vacillations of the insecure mind driven by the senses and our fears but by wisdom and courage. Wisdom is our knowledge made real with physical practice. This is why yoga is such a wondrous tool. Yoga begins with an intention and through time we learn to cultivate this intention and make it live through our breath and right thinking. This is where the soul becomes disciplined to act with integrity.

 Merely setting an intention but not following through, while a great leap forward from debased thoughts, is a crawl in comparison to the tai chi of life that we are called to practice. The deeper connection of thoughts, to action, to mastery; is a path that can only be taken with true mindfulness. In the beginning we wobble, we fall, we slip and backslide to previous untrained mannerisms and behaviors. By the mid day of the path we begin to vacillate between mastery and sloppiness, discipline and laziness. Upon the later hours of the day of life we come to a place of measured movement; a place in our evolution where value and measure become important methods of our energetic distribution. It is like the baby snake who does not know how to control his venom, so too we are we as we grow and learn to use our power.

We are responsible for our actions and deeds, we must be accountable for that which we create in this life. The way we wield our spiritual energy is our responsibility. Measured control of the raw energy we possess is necessary to live responsibly, it is a rite of spiritual passage to learn this great metaphysical truth. Once learned and known, we grow to the next place of learning: how to grow this power and transmit it and then to transmute negative forces or vibrations which make their way towards us from outer sources.

It is said in mythology of the Buddah that when he walked his aura was felt for miles around. A subtle shift was felt way before his physical self arrived to his destination. This is the craft of right use of spiritual energy and power. In Christianity many Christians speak of the miracles of Jesus, a truly ascended master, who was able to cure the sick and heal the wounded, cast out demons and perform great works of energetic prowess. We too, despite our infancy upon the path, are called to move towards this place of self realization and actualization. In Dale Carnigis How to Win Friends and Influence People, he speaks of methods of behavior to garner greater love and admiration from others by the use of diplomacy and altruistic methods of social conduct. These measured steps of behavior and decorous actions are part of the path of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

 Honesty and integrity are paramount in terms of our evolution as human beings. These concepts are sacred in their vibration, and are as boundless as numbers in the way in which they speak to people of all cultures and races. This is a great step to begin to take. Honesty and refrain from lying to others, is a powerful way to build spiritual power and clean ones energy field and open the door for others. Integrity, or the realization through action of ones word is critical to our ability to live a more fulfilling life. Integrity stems from the Latin adjective integer which means whole or complete. This wholeness or completion comes from adherence to moral and ethical principles, and while each culture has a variety of customs and variations, at the heart of humanity there are certain behaviors or qualities which are valued in a person and that deem one to have integrity. Integrity is soundness of moral character; honesty.

We must be accountable for our actions, and our actions if we hope for greater inner peace, must be firmly rooted in honesty. Honesty must first be held within, for there are many who are incapable of being honest with themselves; a trait so often found in delirious addiction to sense pleasures or desires. The veil of delusion within us may be very hard to see in the beginning, it may be easy to mislead oneself to believe that what is unhealthy for oneself is good and vice versa. So often we find this derailment of integrity rooted in the hypnosis of worldly desires. I too, have found myself so transfixed on the exterior that I have neglected the internal truth. In my quest for love on this planet I have found myself so lured and tempted by the dream and desire of love that I could not see it was the furthest thing from me at the time, despite my great hope to make it so. Honesty with oneself is a key to the ability of getting real, real enough to be a person of grounded integrity and honor.

So next time you are in your yoga class, set your intention…but then make your intention real by manifesting it through correct behavior in your day to day affairs. It will take the breath to bring you to the present, from here then pause and look…see where you really are and then act from a place of integrity and honor.

Namaste

Zen and the Art of True Love Maintenance

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Zen and the Art of True Love Maintenance


Much of the methods for love we have learned are based upon the need for give and take. We have a conditional love that is fueled by the ego, love that is based on the receipt of certain things in order to continue. Without the satisfaction of certain prerequisites and quotas our giving begins to wane in the face of outer deficits. When our needs or expectations are not met we are often angry and feel dejected. Fears of unrequited love and being the fool, loom in our minds and provoke deep seated fears of betrayal and rejection. The awful feeling of being codependent to an abusive partner is real, a fear heavily promoted by our society. No one wants to be a doormat or a doorstop.

But sometimes these requests and requirements can prevent us from ever having a fulfilling relationship with anyone. Many times our wish list is too great and the burden is placed more on the other party than on our own actions. This is a great problem and at its heart the downfall of a lasting relationship. It is easier to abandon ship than to ride out the storm. Many quickly jump to sea and find themselves later marooned on a desert island, left alone with the characteristics that may have aided in drawing the initial disaster into their lives.

 Relationships are about being better stewards over the love we have before us. How often do we see serial daters, quick to find fault in each partner they pick, often times repeating again and again some similar behavior which is conveniently blamed on the other party. Had they been better navigators of their love ship, perhaps they could have ridden the storm or better calculated the impending signs of trouble. It may be that in the selection of the course or maintenance of the ship and its sails, somewhere care was not placed in the process. This extra attention, could have made the difference. Love is a daily effort, a minute or rather moment by moment endeavor. It requires great inner strength and mindfulness. True presence and awareness is required for true love to flourish.

 When walking the path of love there are many turning points and guide posts. There are many ports and places to stop along the way. Being mindful during the process is helpful in determining ones true allegiance to the journey. One can change direction at any of these bench marks. Often what happens is that the signs of neglect or wear and tear are ignored or not attended to in a productive manner. Rushing to get tasks done or to quickly solve problems creates a pending disaster which leads to a growing weakness that eventually serves as the breaking point. To approach the maintenance with a hand of a master craftsman is the secret to being a better steward over ones love. The master is at peace with all the aspects of the process of maintenance, even the more challenging aspects that are the keystones of growth and greater mastery.

 To approach love as a work of art, as the maintenance of a prized ship or vessel, is to be present and alive. Like a new baby puppy, who you love to feed and bathe and even reprimand for its silly antics; there is an art here, an art of love. Compassion for the follies and weaknesses of the beloved, understanding and acceptance of the challenges, a gentle hand that becomes more skilled with each mindful touch and adjustment; this is the true path of mastery in the realm of love.

Being a sailor myself I know there is a fine art in the craft of sailing a ship. There is a beautiful silent connection and feeling when both work together, and when making it back to shore after foul weather and storms. This is a bond of love and great depth. This is the way of true love.

 Work with your beloved, learn them, feel them, listen to the sounds and learn to move in sync. Harmony comes with patience and open-mindedness. The ability to keep centered and stay steadfast and true despite any odds. A labor of love. Love as a practice, like meditation or yoga. Love as an art like painting or music, a developing evolution. This is the zen of love.

 

Redefining Success In the West- Manifest Destiny Within

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Manifest Destiny Within-Redefining Success in the Wild West


In today’s changing Westernized World there has been a welcomed return to Eastern Ideas. In essence we are approaching a major transformation but there are still lingering aspects of our conditioning that persist as the end of the Kali Yuga strains to make its succession and give birth to the Aquarian New Age. What strongholds still remain to make our charter across the Wild Western Frontier into the redefined ancient wisdom of the East as we come full circle during this momentous transition?

It all began with a noble notion: freedom and liberty from the rigid class systems of the past. With the dream of equality and a chance at a fresh start. The founding members of our Western Society in the New World arrived with noble hopes of advancement and settled against great odds to find a place for the disenfranchised. Ironically, our manifest destiny displaced those native to the west and a clash arose between great seats of power. In essence this is the battle that is also being fought on the new land within.

The mind struggles to reconcile new ideologies on purpose and meaning with the hard judgments of the personality ego and our long held and often unquestioned conditioning. Imbedded within our psyche lingers within: the collective unconscious remembrance of our roots in the east, our lineage and teachings from the West and a humanity beyond culture that is on a soul level a divine synthesis of the two. These karmic reminences along with the new school improvements and these inevitable changes in our evolution are our birthright as we scale the higherarchy of spirituality and strive to reach closer to greater states of connection to source. And all this takes place with the ongoing skirmishes between the still feuding factions within the mind struggling for sovereignty over the new world /old world full circle understanding that exists within the infinite aspects of the soul. So you see, we have the reenactment of our past here within our very selves on a daily basis both in the finite fronteer and the unlimited expanse of all that is,was and will forever be. And as complex as all this is we must simultaneously take this with the understanding that no battle or great work was done in a day.

So what shall be the face of the new system of government within each of our selves? How to rule the senses and win the battle that wages on as alluded to in the Bhagavad Gita? For those unfamiliar with the historical battle outlined therein we need not look further to our own historical example found in the great time of the Wild West and Manifest Destiny when our forefathers settled here to find a new life. In essence this is what we are endeavoring to do in our own advancement in terms of spirituality and in the pursuit of happiness. We continue to seek the same things but it is time for the means to do so, to evolve and change with the times. Change to the time which is timeless. Perhaps using a more yogic and balanced approach. Merging the old and new and the masculine and feminine, a blend and synthesis of opposites to end the war within.

Perhaps the easiest way to begin this process is by redefining success and taking a good look at the values that motivate and found the perhaps antiquated and then again perhaps not antiquated enough idea of what it means to be successful. In the legacy that we have inherited there lay a great deal of honorable and wise assertions: hard work, dedication, personal responsibility to manifest your own destiny through your own efforts. This is great…but the unfortunate twist is that these very ideals have morphed into a bottomless pit of greed and the proverbial Need More Monster (you know the one that always is Needing More and growing bigger every time he is fed). Our notions of success have been based on an ever competitive and growing world where there is always someone better, stronger etc. (according to these standards) and now with the speed of technology it doesn’t take more than a second to find this out. Perhaps in the days when less souls roamed the earth ones competition was not so easy to confront and did not exist in such volume and with this multitude. We have found ourselves amidst a turbulent change, and oddly the majority of the this turbulence is inward as with all our telecommunications it is more difficult than ever to collectively relate in the same way.

suc·cessnoun \sək-ˈses\: the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame: the correct or desired result of an attempt: someone or something that is successful : a person or thing that succeeds

Is this Success? What does it mean in this changing world, now that we are all by default beginning to realize something is amiss with the system in place? The system is breaking down, but people are struggling both internally and externally to find a functional way of integrating the new ideas. We all agree (for the most part) that greed is bad and there is more to life than just money. One of the greatest proponents for this is Master Card, and in this example lays the very irony and struggle that I speak of. Money doesn’t matter and other things do ….but use this card to pay for a priceless event and do it on credit with money you actually don’t have. So we are in essence doing this in a number of ways. Writing checks for momentary pleasures that we can’t cash, or perhaps giving our money away to a bueaurcratic pseudo non profit to feel better about helping the world without really getting our hands dirty. You see, there is a disconnect and in conquering the new wild west within yourself there needs to be a better plan in place, a different system and a vastly different way of quantifying and qualifying information and values.

 Reconstructing the ideology of success will be tricky and I believe this is one of our hardest tasks to implement, once the theoretical component is conquered within your mind. Its implementation must go back to the wild western value of hard work, the Native Americans had that well figured out already and the settlers had courage to face the unknown which is admirable as well. It is too easy to vilify one side and deify the other; this too is part of the old mentality of competition and success which needs to go out the window. As full integration and balance must come in a harmony of both sides, but without a replay of the Western Block and the nightmares of socialism and communism which unfortunately some have defaulted to in the new age community as a go to opposite choice for the evils of capitalism. Again one side good the other bad, this is the Kali Yuga of confusion.

 So I cannot provide in this short essay a solution to this growing problem, only that it is something to look at and perhaps consider for yourself. I feel that it is noteworthy that there is a great deal of old patterning in our current new age forward motion, and perhaps it is a great time …now especially that our government is shut down to really re-evaluate everything and rather than go to war again between sides find a evolved way of dealing with this interesting clash of opposing sides both inside and out.

All in all to conclude this tangential discourse....Look within to see wher you place your value. Look to see where and in what direction you are moving in, and then perhaps intuit and consider the implications. So often we forget to build a foundation, so part of a successful driven life is getting clear about your values and what they mean. If we look at our legacy and world traditions as a human race or even deeper as all members of life then look at what sucess really is. What self actualization is and what it means to move forward. The conquering of the wild west was well intentioned, many actions in this life are wel intented but have lingering negative effects. The only constant is that there is a paradox between moving forward and finding true center beyond any vacillations. There is being and flowing. It is all an evolution and a change and a shift. s an indidual and as a culture we are in a period of movement and transition. What this means and looks like is in its infancy still. More shall be revealed with time, as yet again we face a great expansion into an unknown future.

Namaste Friends.

Pranayama and Emotional Healing

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)


When challenges hit it is how we deal with them that defines our character. For the majority of us there are two channels through which we process difficult situations. One is that we react on impulse or feel a hit of feelings that drives our actions, the second approach is stuffing or distancing ourselves from the sensation by use of repression or evasion tactics. Sometimes we experience a combination of the two. Explosions of temper come in two forms: one is a go to response based on habit the other is a result of an overcrowded inner prison of housed stuffed emotions. The approach for both requires a similar measure of mindful attendance and is best corrected with the use of the breath.

 

For yogis, we have come to realize the power of the breath in terms of its obvious effect on the nervous system. The difference between an explosion of undisciplined regrettable action is common place when the sympathetic fear response takes hold or root. It is in the moment before the explosion that a delay occurs. Lack of breath in this space is the perfect compliment to the building nervous energy. If however, a breath can be taken and is done so with a measure of positive inner dialogue a momentary pass is given and in this moment a switch or derailment is possible. Here we can derail the though or action. Even if the energy is a speeding freight train headed for disaster it is in this moment through a mindful breath that the entire paradigm can shift within.

 

Breath and be present. Often times in a panic or stressful moment we are caught in a state of either the past or the present. Some replay the past trauma and are seduced into the memory of previous pain, here the mind fires flight chemicals in the brain and prepare the body for a defensive mechanism of either avoidance through running or fighting when it perceives there is no other choice. Perhaps the fight mechanism has been instilled in the person from youth and this response has been trained into the individual as a way to combat the emotional attack. For some in this category the physical arena is a safer place to fight than in the mind or heart. It is often seen in abused people that physical violence is more palatable than a emotional slight or insult. Regardless of which category a person may find themselves in, a measure of breath and a moment taken in stillness provides the space needed to shift the behavior or response to another. The more one cultivates this measure of breath and space in non action and mindful awareness the more time is given whereby a different method of dealing with the problem can be cultivated and executed.

 

On the entire other end of the spectrum, there are those who freeze when faced with extreme danger or fear. I myself have experienced being scared stiff and one thing that is often noticed upon greater reflection and after thought is that in this scenario no breath is present. Where as the fight personality often accelerates the breath pattern the fearful non doer may refrain from any breath at all and move towards avoidance and a catatonic expression. Here training to remind oneself to use the breath is a great tool. Take a breath and come to the present, feel the feelings and then make a move. The secret is to bring the body into mindful response with the breath and then to go to the next level and bring the emotions into this more present and grounded place. Here is where the true work begins.

 

The secret is to train with the breath daily. This will make it easier to go to this tool when the temperature rises and the heat is on. By regular training the ability to cope is fertilized and developed with greater power. So when the real problems surface in life we have been already diligently doing our training and preparation. This is not an instant cure and like meditation or any practice, mastery takes time. The great truth is that those who use the breath to counter responses and reactions to troubling catalysts will experience a decrease in the severity and frequency of the go to response or negative coping skill and with continued diligence it may one day be completely replaced with a more healthy and mindful response.

 

The great thing is that in whichever category one falls in, whether it is avoidance, stuffing, angry explosions, hysterical anxious panicked responses or self injury like drug abuse or eating disorders. These compulsions and negative responses can be shifted with the desire to change and then the breath as the tool to bring the much needed moment whereby the response can shift and change to a new modality.


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