Satya and Emotional maturity

Satya and Emotional maturity

Jan 2019

Satya and Emotional maturity

Y.S 2.36

Satya Pratisthayam 

Kriya Pala 

Shray atvam

As truthfulness is achieved, the fruits of actions naturally result according to the will of the Yogi

http://yogasutrastudy.info/yoga-sutra-translations/ysp-sutras2-21-2-40/

 

Satya- truthfulness, honesty

Pratisthayam- having firmly established, being well grounded in

Kriya- actions

Phala- fruition, results, effects

Ashrayatvam- come as a result of, are dependent on

When Truthfulness Has Achieved the Words (Of the Yogin) Acquire the Power Of Making Them Fruitful. Hariharananda Aranya

On being firmly established in truthfulness fruit (of action) rests on action (of the Yogi) only. I. K. Taimni

To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient. Vyasa Houston, Barbara Miller, Swami Satchidananda

When a man becomes steadfast in his abstention from falsehood he gets the power of obtaining for himself and others the fruits of good deeds, without having to perform the acts themselves. Swami Prabhavananda

By the establishment of truthfulness the Yogi gets the power of attaining for himself and others the fruits of work without the works. Swami Vivekananda

Yogi’s basic principles

The practice of Satya seems elementary in logic.  Of course, honesty and truthfulness is an essential practice.  Would you prefer someone be honest with you and be kind at the same time?

You have to contemplate in times you are not honest why is that? 

The is the saying the truth will set you free, but first, it will piss you off. 

For example, maybe you put off a, and you have not wanted to speak to the person to tell them how you feel so you lie to them.  When you ask yourself why you may respond, I don’t want to hurt them.  Of course, that is true, but if you were to be less selfish about it and transparent with yourself, you would see that lying and leading them on is hurting them more.  To explore truthfulness in a broader sense, you have to examine your relationships with others and with yourself. 

How are you applying truthfulness or not?

In the case of truthfulness, one might incline dishonesty to vary degrees, to get what one wants., as the yoga is primarily about service and selflessness, this is something to witness right away. 

In cultivating the opposite, or reminding oneself that such behaviors, words, or thinking will only bring personal misery and suffering, the ensuing letting go process allows a natural flow of goodness or real fruits to come.  Dishonesty with oneself and others becomes the typical game of avoidance/ aversion that humans play as to avoid what we may call “drama,” but is just a conversation about feelings and thoughts associated with them and experiences. 

What arises first emotion or thought?

I have often wondered this much like, was it the chicken or the egg.  I heard that emotion arises first and then a thought adheres to it defining the feeling, emotion is energy in motion.   If you allow yourself to feel an emotion fully without language or words, you can feel this.  That it rises and builds intensity often exiting your body with some climax- whether you end up crying, being very angry, or feeling anxious, most often you can relate the emotion to something that has happened therefore justifying its presence.  

 

First, learn how to feel

Without avoidance, can you feel without attaching a judgment, label or definition to the feeling?  Can you be utterly vulnerable with yourself and potentially someone else?

It is not typical in our Western human culture to accept emotions.  It is typically not a spiritual practice to allow something that seems “negative.”  The only reason the emotion is defined as negative is that you don’t like it and if it is not the feeling of pleasure or love it is not good.  I would argue that this is the foundation of spiritual work. In fine-tuning, your awareness so much that you can feel and feel deeply and let the energy rise and pass, and allow other people that you are in a relationship with to do the same.  Can you feel without criticizing or ridiculing yourself or another?  Can you sit with something long enough until it passes?

Satya brings whatever is willed: For one who increasingly practices honesty or truthfulness in actions, speech, and thoughts, his or her will is naturally fulfilled. 

Cultivating opposites brings real fruits: With each of the Yamas and Niyamas, cultivating opposites of our negative habits or conditionings brings positive fruits.

Communicating emotions and needs in Satya with Ahimsa

Relation of Truth and Non-Harming: One of the challenges, if not confusions, that often happens with practicing satya and ahimsa is how to balance them. It's important to remember that non-harming is the central practice of the five Yamas, and that the other four Yamas are in service of that. To not harm or hurt others is the primary goal that the others serve. Learning how to delicately balance not lying while not being painfully honest with others is a real art of Yoga. Think of the many situations in life when your so-called truthfulness could cause pain to others, including simple examples such as your comments about a meal served at a friend's home or what you might say if someone asked you about their physical appearance or clothes when dressing for some special event? If your mind isn't--in the moment--quick enough to artfully maneuver around such a situation, which would you choose, to be painfully honest or marginally honest for the sake of not hurting the other person? Sure, we'd like to be quick-minded enough to do both non-harming and non-lying in perfect balance, but many of us don't yet have the skill of the master and need to be ever mindful of the most critical practice, which is to first and foremost to cause no harm. The same principle applies to practice the other of the four Yamas.

 

Exercising care in speaking truth: Truth is concurrence between thought, word, and deed. It must be true to fact and at the same time pleasant. If by speaking the truth, another is hurt it ceases to be truth and becomes himsa [harming]. There is a story which illustrates this point:

In olden days, there was a sage renowned for his austerities and observance of the vow of truth. It so happened that once when he was sitting by his little hut, a frightened man with a bundle ran past him and disappeared into a cave nearby. A couple of minutes later there came a band of fierce robbers with gleaming knives, apparently looking for this man. Knowing that the sage would not lie, they asked him where the man with the bundle was hiding. At once, the sage, true to his vow of not uttering falsehood, showed them the cave. The cruel robbers rushed into it, dragged out the scared man, killed him mercilessly and departed with his bundle. The sage never realized God in spite of his austerities and tenacity for truth for he had been instrumental in the murder of a man. This is not the kind of truth that yoga requires. It would have been better if the sage had remained quiet for that would have saved the poor man. Great care is, therefore, to be exercised in speaking and each word must be carefully weighed before it is uttered.

Listening is a Satya practice

Can you be present and receive someone else’s words?  Can you respond to someone after you let emotional energy settle?  Can you listen to someone with patience without thinking about how am I going to react or what am I going to say?  The art of listening and speaking with integrity are both advanced practices and help me identify with what it must mean to be an emotionally mature person. 

Slaying the Spiritual Ego

Slaying the Spiritual Ego

Dec 2018

 Y.S 1.4

Vritti Sarupyam Itaratra

 

At other times, when one is not in Self-realization, the Seer appears to take on the form of the modifications of the mind field, taking on the identity of those thought patterns.

 

Vritti- of the operations, activities, fluctuations, modifications, changes, or various forms (of the mind-field)

Sarupyam- root sa means with, and rupa means form

similarity, assimilation, appearance of, identification of form or nature, conformity with the shape of

Itaratra- elsewhere, at other times, when not in that state of realization above

 

 

How do you define Ego?

Anything in the external or internal environment that the mind field identifies with and claims as I.  Anything in one’s experience that is constantly changing.

Past, future, memories, achievements, desires, dreams, doubts, insecurities. 

Thoughts, emotions and physical body.

The ego’s essential purpose is survival.  Consider all the ways your human reacts just to maintain its existence, or its originality.

 

The existence of the external world and the memories is not the problem. Rather, the pure consciousness mistakenly takes on the identity of those thought patterns. In this way, we incorrectly come to think that who we are is one and the same with these thoughts. The solution is to separate the seer and the seen, the experiencer and the object experienced, and this is the theme and practice of Yoga.  Swami Rama

 

Where you have been to NOW

When I contemplate what I have been through and how that created my ego character, many of those experiences where unhealthy.  I do believe that there is an underlying intelligence in the way the we navigate in the world. 

Meaning that things happen to keep our ego intact and even protect our spirits.  I fortunately found healthy outlets like yoga, meditation, massage, dancing and that helped shift many of my unhealthy habits into more healthy ones. 

 

Active mind= mistaken Identity

In the Y.S 1.2-3 talk about the importance of using the techniques of yoga to still the mind, only when the mind is still can you recognize that you are the consciousness that is behind the thoughts, watching. 

When the mind is busy and the soul forgets it’s essential nature it will inevitably begin to identify whatever objects, and activities it is involved in and perceiving. 

 

The mysterious power of the mind misleads and binds us. We sleep to the divine self within, and wake to a world of distracting identities.  Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

 

The relationship of mind and consciousness

The mind is the tool that consciousness uses to explore its own nature.  Because of the mind’s instability, it runs in the external world from one object to another, and consciousness loses sight of its own inherent attributes and surrenders to the mind. Consciousness becomes dependent on the mind and complications set in. The mind is scattered and fragmented. It is not able to stay on an object long enough to gain a right understanding of that object. It flits from one object to another without perceiving any of them clearly. That is why, to a person with a restless mind, life and everything in it remains a mystery.

The mind has a unique characteristic: it assumes the form of whatever it perceives. When it is perceiving an object, it becomes that object.  If the mind has a pleasant attitude toward that object, it experiences pleasure. If the mind has an unpleasant attitude toward an object, it experiences pain. But if the mind is not tainted by its own self-created notions, it will have a neutral attitude toward the objects it perceives which is simply neutral information presented to consciousness.

It neither stains nor agitates the mind, and therefore, the mind remains pure and still. Such a mind is the resting ground for the soul—a source of freedom and enlightenment.

But when its neutrality is lost, the mind becomes the victim of its own imaginations and projections, and consciousness has no choice but to identify with them. This identification leads to misery.

When a metal sculptor wants to make a mold, he might first make a plaster statue, then form the clay mold around that statue. Later, that clay becomes the mold for pouring the liquid metal. The process of the clay taking the form of the original plaster model is the meaning of the seer or Self appearing to take on the form of the thought pattern stored in the mind-field. When pure consciousness wraps itself around the mental object it encounters, it only appears to take on the identity of that object. It is a sort of mistaken identity that results.

 

Gold and clay

Gold is melted, reformed, and fashioned into many different ornaments. Yet, it remains gold. Clay is pushed and pulled and twisted, and shaped into many different bowls or other objects. Yet, it remains clay. However, much consciousness shapes itself into the many objects stored in the mind field, that consciousness remains pure, standing alone, that consciousness, itself lacking any form, is described as having the nature of existence, consciousness, and bliss.

 

Spiritual Ego

I have been praying to God a long time to make me humble, though I didn’t realize that my ego had been built up by my yoga practice.  My asana practice helped me build confidence and release many of the insecurities I had carried my whole life.  Through vigorous vinyasa I was able to see and then believe in the potential of my body.  It also awakened a competitive nature, with others and primarily with myself.  I began to have expectations on how my body was supposed to perform and the poses I was “getting”.  As humility awakened in my life more I began to see clearly the spiritual ego I created.  I see that this became my character and this is just as much a hindrance to my soul’s evolution. 

Live in Intention

Live in Intention

Nov. 2018

Om Shree Maha Lakshmeiyei Swaha

Beautiful Goddess Lakshmi grant me both worldly and spiritual prosperity

Bija (Seed) Sound for Lakshmi

Shreem

Use in Japa (Mantra) meditation with a mala (Buddist prayer beads)

Or chant contionously

May this mantra assist you in realizing when you are focusing on lack mentality and assist you in tapping into the abundance of life and what is.

Direct your Life

A thing intended; an aim or plan

A direction of your heart’s desire, your minds attention and the aim of your life. 

To consciously align to that, that is helpful and enlightening. 

Notice I didn’t say easy.

Through the conscious use of Intention, we can steer our life in the direction we want it to go, rather than where our habits tend to take us. 

Intention (Sankalpa) is defined as determination.  It takes lots of determination to consistently steer the aim of your life from a focus that begins within. 

Sankalpa is unique to Yoga Nidra meditation, compared to other forms of meditation.  We can use sankalpa in a relaxed body yet aware mind.  It can consciously target and affect shifts from the subtlest states of being.  We then reinforce these subtle shifts and deepen them through our choices and actions in the waking state.

Intention is the conscious placement of energy in the direction we want it to go.  We know samskaras are internal impressions left on the body/mind complex causing it to tend to act in certain ways, both helpful and unhelpful.  Unhelpful samskaras drive our tendencies toward limiting behaviors in a precognitive, reflexive manner.  Unless redirected, they become the default setting from which we live, steering our life and creating outcomes, or karma, we do not intend.

 Without direction, your life will continue to be driven by these same pre-programmed beliefs, behaviors and habits.  Whenever you perceive similar threats to your self-image, comfort or freedom, you reach into that storehouse of experiences and respond as though the current situation is the same as the past.  By believing it is the same, the outcome cannot be any other way.  Driven by the distorted perception of memories, you are perpetually trapped in the same responses to life.  You continue to be a victim of your own fears and attachments, glued to your self- image through your identification with your thoughts, emotions, opinions, beliefs, likes and dislikes. 

Yogi Desai from the Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra

Intention Vs. Goal

A goal is a linear sort of focus that a has an expected result and therefore an attachment to that result.  Goals are part of the human experience.  Maybe necessary, they give the sense of illusion that we are moving forward into something.  Intention is a conscious placement of your aim, a path embodied by the soul.  The soul knows that there will be times when it feels as if we have fallen off the path and really, the falling off is the path itself.  That as souls we have no need to perfect.  Rather it is in the imperfections that we are learning and it’s not the result, rather that we keep directing our aim in the way of what is helpful. 

Types of Intention

Primary- a statement of who you are, whether as formless Source or as manifested embodiment of that Source.  It speaks to the fullness of who you are.  Think about some qualities that you embody as a whole person who lives their purpose and create your primary intention from that.  Your primary intention may not change very much in your life. 

Example: I am the silence behind all that moves through awareness.  I am a Healing Presence. 

Secondary- Is a path clearer, designed to remove whatever inhibits the realization of your primary intention.  These could be perceptions, ways of thinking, speaking or acting that keep us small.  It helps dislodge and redirect behaviors, it manages the areas of attitudes, habits and external stressors.  You may have few intentions happening at once in a 6-12-month period.  As a human on a path of transformation you will probably have many secondary intentions in your life. 

Example:

Thinking Pattern: Resentment, Helpless, Self- judgement

Intention: I release those I hold responsible for my happiness, I rest in the power that resides within me, I am at peace with myself as I am. 

Use this to write out some unhelpful patterns:

Thinking Patterns:

 Intention:

A secondary intention can address visible habits that are not serving you. 

Example:

Habit pattern: Burn out/ over giving, perfectionism

Intention: As I take care of my own needs, I take care of others, As I let myself be as I am, I let others be as they are.

 Habit pattern:

 

Intention:

 

How to create an effective Intention

·      It resonates

·      It is in the Present

·      It is Positive

·      It is Concise

·      It is about you

The breath- a vehicle and Invitation to the Unseen

The breath- a vehicle and Invitation to the Unseen

Oct 2018

Invocation to the Power of Grace, the Power of the Breath

 Om 

Parama Hamsaya Vidmahe

Maha Hamsaya Dhimahi

Tanner Hamsah Prachodayat

We devote our thoughts to the Breath (symbolized by Hamsah, the swan)

We meditate upon the greatness of the Breath

May the breath guide us on the path of wisdom and meditation

 Listening

By listening we learn about the subtle and ever changing needs of the body, and about the impact of our emotions, actions and reactions upon our breath and thus upon our health and state of well- being.  Through the practice of listening, we become mindfulnot just in quiet circumstances, but even in frantic and difficult times, and have tools for responding in a way that is best both for the outer circumstances and for our inner state. 

Yoga begins with listening; the essence of yogic practice is self- inquiry, (ama vichara).

The yogi not only witnesses, but inquiries into what he or she observes for the sake of greater self- knowledge and understanding.  What we observe concerning the quality of our in breath and out breath provides a revealing mirror of our habitual (and often unrecognized) stance toward life.  The depth, ease and comfort of our inhalation reflects our openness and ability to embrace life in the moment; the quality of our inhalation reflects our consent to participate in life as it unfolds before and within us.  The freedom of our exhalation reflects our ability to let go with ease and understanding and to move on; it shows our trust in life that loosens to overcomes rigid concepts of how things ought to be.

Doug Kellar

Vital Life force energy

The yogis call it Prana, the Taoists chi and the Hawaiians Mana.  Different names for the same, unseen, mysterious, animated force, powerful force. 

 Prana is indistinguishably united with the mind.  In fact, the consciousness that tends toward thinking, on account of the movement of prana, is known as the mind.  Movement of thought in the mind arises from movement of prana; and movement of prana arises because of the movement of thought in consciousness.  They thus form a cycle of mutual dependence, like waves and movement of currents of water. 

 Taoism, Buddhism and Vedanta Perspective

Taoism shares the same fundamental insight as Buddhism and Vedanta when it comes to analyzing

the "things" of the Universe. This insight is that nothing exists in and of itself. A tree, for example, can't exist by itself. It needs air from the sky and water from the earth and light and heat from the sun. A tree could not exist without an earth to root in. The earth could not exist without a sun to draw life from. The sun could not exist without a space to be in. Nothing that exists is completely independent of everything else—not a tree, not a stone, and definitely not a human being.

 Although Buddhists and Vedantists share the same insight about the interrelatedness of all things, they come to opposite conclusions in their conceptions of ultimate nature of all them. 

 Buddhists say, "No things exist." 

Vedantists say, "All things are really just the One Thing."

The Buddhist says, "No 'things' exist because if we try to remove their coverings of earth, air, water, and light there is nothing left." 

The Vedantist says, "All 'things' are really just the 'One Thing' because all things arise from and dissolve into every other thing."

The conclusion of the Buddhist is "All things are Empty or Sunya."

The conclusion of the Vedantist is "All things are Full or Purna." 

But the Taoists say, "All things are 'Empty' and 'Full'."

The breath becomes this practice empty, full and both at the same time.

Breath becomes the vehicle to interconnection

How do we even begin to tap into the unseen?

Feel?

Be still?

Witness?

Believe?

And Breath

Exploration of pranayama techniques:

·      Surya Bheda

·      Chandra Bheda

·      Ujjayi Anuloma

·      Ujjayi Pratyaloma

·      UjjayiViloma

Build a relationship with the unseen

When you choose to use the conscious breath as a practice it gives you insight into the world beyond your two physical eyes.  It opens you to the ability to be receptive to the unknown, the unseen, the mystery. 

May the mystery be an inviting world full of possibilities. 

Surrender your expected pictures 

Surrender your expected pictures 

Sept 2018

Y.S 2.45

 

Samadhi Siddhih 

Ishvara Pranidhana

 

Samadhi- deep absorption of meditation, the state of perfected concentration

What does Samadhi feel like for you?

Most often we become agitated by our powerlessness in circumstances.  

In the near projected future, 1 week to one month you may feel like you have a grasp of control on what you can make happen and what is going to happen.  

Often, we become so attached to pictures we project onto our actions.  It may be in the near future, Ex: the expectations you have on your performance in a project or how a date on a social outing is going to turn out.  

We project our expectations into the far-off future of of lives from not only from our desires but the accumulated desires of society, but cultural pressures, snd ancestral pressures.

 Experiential meditation:

Can you feel into what you want?

Not what society or your family expects of you. 

Not with the pressures of survival- money and home. 

Feel your form and use your senses to dissolve into the greater support of the universe.  Where heart merges into the ONE heart.  

Ask yourself what do you want? 

Now like a pebble in a pond let your energy ripple out but let go into what it should or could be.  

 Siddhih- attainment, mastery, accomplishment, perfection

What are ordinary human activities that when infused with consciousness become extraordinary?

Slowing down, listening, saying how you feel, communicating, looking honestly at your fears and flaws. 

Is also known as a supernatural power.  To consistently dissolve your expectations and surrender into the flow of what is happening not what you would like to happen is quite a feat.  To consistently learn how to calm your nervous system, accept your reactions and let go.  Always let go. 

A siddhih that is can ALWAYS be practiced is being present.  

 Experiential meditation:

Being present meditation when you find yourself reacting.  Acknowledge what you are feeling come back to sensation. 

Ask yourself where do I feel this?  What is the quality like?

Then notice deeper sensations to bring you back into the moment sounds, the air on your skin, any other sensation in your body.  Feel in the moment without trying to change anything. 

Ishvara- creative source, causal field, God, supreme Guru or teacher

 Meaning of Ishvara: 

In the Upanishads, the word Īśvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness. Thus, God is not a being that sits on a high pedestal beyond the sun, moon, and stars; God is actually the state of Ultimate Reality. But due to the lack of direct experience, God has been personified and given various names and forms by religions throughout the ages. When one expands one's individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness, it is called Self-realization, for the individual self has realized the unity of diversity, the very underlying principle, or Universal Self, beneath all forms and names. 

 Experiential meditation:

What is your relationship to a Higher power, energy source?

Does it have a name?

Does it have a feeling?

Do you have a teacher that represent this for you?

Can you trust in this fully?

Do you believe it supports you fully?

Can you let go of all of your pictures into the picture the ONE has for you?

When in doubt keep coming back to this meditation and rest in your heart until you get very clear insight and pure feeling of the ONE.  

Pranidhana- practicing the presence, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice

There is a constant letting go of how something happens, or when.  The way it is supposed to look or the path that it takes.

Does anyone want to show some pictures you have that are binding that you are setting free?

Me- family, career, timeline, money

Lastly illness, hard times, chronic pain and suffering, the “bad” things that happen you have to surrender your bitterness, your anger, once you have acknowledged it’s presence, remember impermanence.

Ishvara pranidhana brings samadhi

From an attitude of letting go, practicing the presence, dedication, or surrender into the creative source, causal field, God, supreme Guru or teacher, the state of perfected concentration is attained.

 

 

 

 

Beauty and Blessing

Beauty and Blessing

Aug 2018

 Peace Invocation

 Om Dhyow Shantir

Antariksham Shantih

Prthivi Shantir

Apah Shantir

Oshadhayah Shantir

Vanaspatayah Shantir

Vishve Devah Shantir

Bramha Shantih

Sarvam Shantih

Shantir Eva Shantih

Sa Ma Shantir Edhi

 May the heavens be peaceful.  May the space between the sun, moon and stars be peaceful.  May the earth be tranquil.  May the waters be calm.  May all herbs be heathy and peaceful.  May all the vegetable kingdom nourish and be peaceful.  May the elements and all luminous forces be peaceful.  May our body, mind and soul be calm and joyful.  May everything be at peace and may this peace be real.  May peace and harmony flourish through all. 

The more I teach the more aligned I feel to the basic teaching of exquisite existence.  You may ask what that means?  The more I live, the more I realize, it is learning how to be an embodied Spirit in human form.   We speak of it all the time, we as in spiritual seekers, teachers and students of all kinds, but how do we embody Spirit.  Every new theme that intuitive arises in my existence is to teach me how to live as Spirit but without restriction or criticism.  I believe living a human existence embodied as Spirit feels more accepting of oneself in our human desire to make money, have things and build a strong foundation for ourselves and our families.  When we commit to a human experience existing as Spirit it can be tough.  We feel like we need to figure things out or control things, which cause lots of human problems.  We are so attached to what everything looks like or how easy it should be.  All the teachings I focus on for the month are what help me become embodied. To remember that I am worthy for life to love and support me. 

As are you.

Is this shit mine?

Life is so full and all of our own personal problems seem to be bigger than each other’s.  All the individual suffering we go through seems to be bigger than the bigger problems that groups of people, other cultures, countries have.  I am trying to learn that whatever I am feeling in the moment, that feels too big to carry, I am feeling for the world.  Maybe what you are feeling is some unprocessed energy, emotion or experience from your past you have not yet processed.  Maybe it has something to do with the present tense, a situation that is building tension and you are not addressing it fully. 

If the practice of yoga teaches us that we are all connected wouldn’t it be possible that what you are feeling or processing is not even your own?  There is collective angry, scarcity, doubt, fear and sadness in the world.  There is an extreme excess of it.  Maybe there is more of that energy than that of acceptance, surrender, joy, intimacy, playfulness, fun?  I believe that it is possible to feel the collective suffering of the whole.  Not just when you are in close proximity to it, but that it is saturated and everywhere.  What you pick up on doesn’t have to be yours. 

Consider this

Whether it is yours or not you don’t have to know.  You don’t have to know where it came from or why.  All you have to know is that it is arising to be healed.   How do you heal it?  By not judging it or over analyzing it.  By feeling it completely until it dissolves your need to know.  Until your ego character dissolves into opening your heart to heal yourself for the world and the world for yourself.  Keep in mind that this is not some righteous act like or I am that caring, or spiritual, I am going to heal all and I am the shit for this.  Learning to bless everything is an act of appreciating beauty.

Matt Kahn taught me this teaching.  As he is an empath and intuitive.  This also goes back to the Tibetan Buddhist meditation technique of tonglen (giving and taking or sending and receiving), or maitri, (the practice of compassion or kindness). 

Yoga is the practice of present moment awareness

Yoga is on the spot medicine.  A in the moment opportunity for healing.  It is not for those who are faint of heart.  It is for those who are courageous and willing.  Who look at their own shit honestly and are willingly to heal from it and to heal it for all.  What happens when you align to Spirit and healing?  Beauty emerges.  Your attention, and intention seek beauty.  It is a on the spot treatment for the suffering in human form.  Seek beauty.  What does that for you?  Nature, poetry, human contact, giving to another, heartfelt conversation.  These are some of mine.  What is yours?  Definition of beauty: a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

One of my favorite beauty practices

Poetry

This one of my favorite poets John O Donahue speaking on beauty:

Beauty isn't all about just nice loveliness, like. Beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming. So I think beauty, in that sense, is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.

What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.
When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.” 

Blessing

Definition asking God’s protection and favor.

Tonglen practice

Pema Chödrön teaches us “sending and taking,” an ancient Buddhist practice to awaken compassion. With each in-breath, we take in others’ pain. With each out-breath, we send them relief.

Tonglen practice, also known as “taking and sending,” reverses our usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated from age- old patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others.

Tonglen awakens our compassion and introduces us to a far bigger view of reality. It introduces us to the unlimited spaciousness of shunyata (emptiness). By doing the practice, we begin to connect with the open dimension of our being.

Tonglen can be done for those who are ill, those who are dying or have died, or those who are in pain of any kind. It can be done as a formal meditation practice or right on the spot at any time. If we are out walking and we see someone in pain, we can breathe in that person’s pain and send out relief to them.

Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us. Use what seems like poison as medicine.

Usually, we look away when we see someone suffering. Their pain brings up our fear or anger; it brings up our resistance and confusion. So we can also do tonglen for all the people just like ourselves—all those who wish to be compassionate but instead are afraid, who wish to be brave but instead are cowardly. Rather than beating ourselves up, we can use our personal stuckness as a stepping stone to understanding what people are up against all over the world. Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us. Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.
When you do tonglen as a formal meditation practice, it has four stages:

1. Flash on Bodhichitta

Rest your mind for a second or two in a state of openness or stillness. This stage is traditionally called flashing on absolute bodhichitta, awakened heart-mind, or opening to basic spaciousness and clarity.

 

2. Begin the Visualization

Work with texture. Breathe in feelings of heat, darkness, and heaviness—a sense of claustrophobia—and breathe out feelings of coolness, brightness, and light—a sense of freshness. Breathe in completely, taking in negative energy through all the pores of your body. When you breathe out, radiate positive energy completely, through all the pores of your body. Do this until your visualization is synchronized with your in- and out-breaths.

 

3. Focus on a Personal Situation

Focus on any painful situation that’s real to you. Traditionally you begin by doing tonglen for someone you care about and wish to help. However, if you are stuck, you can do the practice for the pain you are feeling yourself, and simultaneously for all those who feel the same kind of suffering. For instance, if you are feeling inadequate, breathe that in for yourself and all the others in the same boat and send out confidence, adequacy, and relief in any form you wish.

 

4. Expand Your Compassion

Finally, make the taking in and sending out bigger. If you are doing tonglen for someone you love, extend it out to all those who are in the same situation. If you are doing tonglen for someone you see on television or on the street, do it for all the others in the same boat. Make it bigger than just that one person. You can do tonglen for people you consider to be your enemies—those who hurt you or hurt others. Do tonglen for them, thinking of them as having the same confusion and stuckness as your friend or yourself. Breathe in their pain and send them relief.

Tonglen can extend infinitely. As you do the practice, your compassion naturally expands over time, and so does your realization that things are not as solid as you thought, which is a glimpse of emptiness. As you do this practice, gradually at your own pace, you will be surprised to find yourself more and more able to be there for others, even in what used to seem like impossible situations.

 

This can be used as a mediation practice or an on the spot medicine.  Whenever you feel energy, emotion deeply, feel it for everyone.  Whether its anger or joy.  Stop when it arises, when you are in it and feel it.  Breath it in and breath it out and then give it away.  Feel it for maybe someone you know love, then for who you don’t know or don’t like, or for everyone collective. 

Maitri practice

Use as a seated practice or in the moment when you are judging, hating, cursing.

Insert person’s name below, in the you portion.  Or say they.  Try six rounds.

  1. First: You
  2. Second: A respected person/someone who has deeply cared for you
  3. Third: A friend or family member
  4. Fourth: Someone neutral
  5. Fifth: Someone you dislike
  6. Sixth: All beings. Expand the feelings you've generated thus far to all beings in the world.

Taking this as the basis for the meditation, here are the instructions for practicing loving-kindness meditation:

  1. Hold an image of the person in your mind. Make this image as clear as possible and feel your connection with the person.
  2. Generate feelings of love. Chant/say your mantra to yourself or picture beautiful imagery.
  3. Imagine sending those feelings of love to the person. Let those feelings swell as high as they will go.
  4. Imagine transferring those feelings of love to the next person. From you to someone you respect/who cared for you, then to a friend/family member, then to someone neutral, then to someone you dislike, and finally to all beings.

May you be safe

May you be healthy

May you be happy

May you be at ease.

 

Alternative saying

 May they be well. May they be happy.

May they be healthy. May they be at peace.

May they be free from pain and suffering.

 

Beginner Focus- Asana- The Seats we take

Beginner Focus- Asana- The Seats we take

July 2018

Y.S 2.46

Sthira Sukham Asanam

The posture (asana) for Yoga meditation should be steady, stable, and motionless, as well as comfortable, and this is the third of the eight rungs of Yoga.

 

Sthira- steady, stable, motionless

Sukham- comfortable, ease filled

Asanam- meditation posture (from the root ~as, which means "to sit")

 

Steady and comfortable

The two essential characteristics of the sitting posture for meditation are that it must be-

Steady, stable, motionless

Comfortable, or filled with ease

 

Steadiness

Exists because of the quality of the mind, as well as a connection to the earth.  

Steadiness comes from the skeletal system being placed properly, as well as engaging the musculature to support the bones.  

Bones grounding into the earth provide, stability and centeredness.

The central axis of the spine happens from the inhale and will enable a steadiness in any meditative seat.  

 

Ease

Exists from intention in action?  

Ease comes from a consistent relationship to breath and Source.  

Ease happens on the exhale, softening the surface the skin.  

 

Drishti assists in both of these states

Does your mind need focus/ steadiness?  Focus on one spot.

Is your nervous system overly active?  Close your eyes and turn inside.  

 

Suggested postures

The sage Vyasa (He is a central and revered figure in most Hindu traditions. He is also sometimes called Veda Vyāsa "the one who classified the Vedas”.  He is the author of the Mahabharata, as well as a character in it, and the scribe of both the Vedas and Puranas).

He commented on this sutra, names 11 postures- (some I know, some are different names for other poses, some I couldn’t understand the written description and some describe just say sit on an animal skin or imitate the elephant).

Padmasana is well-known [sitting posture]- lotus

Virasana is that in which a sitting man [or woman] has one foot in contact with the ground, and places the other over the partially inclined knee- toes curled, other leg- half lotus.

Bhadrasana is that in which the sitting man [or woman] places the soles of both feet joined together below the testicles [or genital area], and places both hands with the fingers interlaced over that region.  Baddha Konasana

Svastika is that in which the left foot is placed, a little downward inclined between the right thigh and shank, and the right foot is placed in a similar position between the left thigh and shank.  Seated auspicious pose 

Dandasana is practiced by sitting with thighs, shanks and feet stretched straight along the ground with the ankles joined together, but the toes kept apart.

Paryanka is that in which the knees are extended and the arms are used to lie upon.

Sopasraya is that in which the tiger's skin or the deer skin or some cloth is used to sit upon. [The skins were used over grass due to the coldness of the ground, but these are not generally necessary now.]

Kraunchanisadana and others of the same class are to be imitated from the sitting postures of the Krauncha, the elephant, the camel.

Samasamsthana is that in which the feet are so placed that the heels and fore-parts of both are joined together with the feet a little bent.

Sthirasukha is whatever posture may secure steadiness and ease. This is approved by the writer of the aphorisms [Patanjali]. It is also described as Yathasukha. This means any position that may secure ease.

 

Another meaning

The connection to the earth is steady and joyful in whatever seat you take.

What are the different seats you take in life?  Roles?

Can you remember the connection to the earth?

Can you remain steady in joyful no matter the circumstance?    

 

 Y.S 2.47
Prayatna Shaithilya

Ananta Samapattibhyam

 

The means of perfecting the posture is that of relaxing or loosening of effort, and allowing attention to merge with endlessness, or the infinite.

 

Prayatna - tension or effort (related to trying to do the posture)

Shaithilya- by relaxing, loosening, lessening, slackening

Ananta- infinite, endlessness

Samapattibhyam- by focusing attention on, coincidence, merging

 

Two means of perfecting meditation posture

  1. Loosening of tension or effort to sit in the posture
  2. Allowing attention to merge with the infinite

A still higher degree of steadiness is attained by samyama, (the last three limbs of the 8- limb path- dhyana, dharana, samadhi), and attention at the hollow of the throat. 

 

Effortless attitude

Most of us have busy lives in which everything happens because of a concerted effort to "make it happen!" It seems as if we must do something if anything is to happen. Perfecting posture for meditation comes not so much by doing but of not doing. Surely, we have to put some effort into training the body to sit straight and be aligned. However, after that is accomplished, the next step is to learn to do nothing, allowing the posture to settle in for meditation. It is an active form of doing nothing, of consciously ceasing to place any effort into the posture. This conscious effort to release any form of effort can be felt experientially, internally.

 

Loosening of effort through attention

One way of loosening effort is to systematically move attention through the body through a variety of relaxation practices. By systematically moving attention and breathing smoothly, the releasing of tension and effort comes easily. It is more a case of allowing than of causing the release that leads to a perfected posture.  A perfected posture is not something you have to achieve.  Similar to the force you put on yourself in life to be perfect.  Perfecting the posture is rather you relaxing with where you are. 

 

Focusing on the infinite

To focus on the infinite simply close your eyes, sit as comfortably and erect as you can, and allow your attention to expand. Attention likes to wrap itself around an object. Allow that object to be the whole of infinity. The mind will not be able to do it, but the effort to do so will easily be seen to bring a stability in the sitting posture. With a bit of experimentation, you can feel the effects of this yourself.

 

Effortless and the infinite go together

By consciously, intentionally practicing the effortlessness of posture, along with the focus on embracing the infinite, it becomes self-evident how well these two work together. The expansion and letting go bring a natural release, as the attention is ready to move inward to the next limb.

        

Y.S 2.48

Tatah Dvandva Anabhighata

 

From the attainment of that perfected posture, there arises an unassailable, unimpeded freedom from suffering due to the pairs of opposites (such as heat and cold, good and bad, or pain and pleasure).

Tatah = then, thereby, thence, from that

Dvandva = the pairs of opposites, the dualities, dichotomies

Anabhighata = unimpeded freedom from suffering, without effect or impact, cessation of disturbance

 

Freedom from pairs of opposites: From the attainment of a perfected posture, there arises an unassailable, unimpeded freedom from suffering due to the pairs of opposites such as heat and cold, good and bad, or pain and pleasure. That perfected posture comes from the two means of loosening of effort and focusing attention on the infinite.

Beginner Focus- The Yogis personal practices- Niyamas

Beginner Focus- The Yogis personal practices- Niyamas

 June 2018

 

Y.S 2.32

 

Shaucha Santosha

Tapas Swadhyaya

Ishvara Pranidhana

Niyama

 

Cleanliness and purity of body and mind, an attitude of contentment, training of the senses, self-study and reflection on sacred words, and an attitude of letting go into one's source are the observances or practices of self-training are the second limb of the 8-limb path. 
 

The five Niyamas: The five Niyamas are the observances or practices of self-training, and deal with our personal, inner world.

 

Reference from swamij.com

Training body, mind, and senses

Having a healthy body, clear mind, and regulated senses is necessary if we wish to sit for meditation and experience the depths of Self-realization. The five Niyamas are a means for self-training in relation to body, senses, and mind.     

 

Actions, speech, and thoughts

It is easy to mistakenly lump these three together, as if they are one concept. Most of our human experience does not teach us how to separate, or contemplate these parts of the mind.  These three separate practices, which work together intimately, to cultivate self-awareness or mindfulness of actions, speech, and thoughts as separate entities is very important. Witness your actions, speech and thoughts as an independent practice, though related to the others.

 

Actions

At the same time that one is aware of actions in the external world through practicing the Yamas, he or she also becomes aware of the personal, inner processes related to body, senses, and mind, by practice awareness of the Niyamas. By mindfulness and self-awareness, you see when your actions are contrary to the Niyamas (as well as the Yamas), and you can counter that by noting that the action is not useful, and acting more in line with the Niyamas.

 

Speech

Through similar mindfulness and self-awareness of speech in relation to the Niyamas, you see when your speech is contrary to the Niyamas. This can also be countered that by noting that the speech is not useful and speaking more in line with the goals of the Niyamas.

 

Thoughts

The subtlest level of self-awareness and self-regulation is that of thought in the inner world. Each of the Niyamas are consciously practiced at the level of thought. By mindfulness and self-awareness, you see when your thoughts are contrary to the Niyamas, and you can counter that by noting that the thought is not useful and promoting positive thoughts that are more in line with the Niyamas.

           

Coloring or klishta

What is ultimately most important is the coloring or klishta, the qualities of the subtle mental traces, or samskaras in the karmashaya.  These form the veil, that blocks the direct experience of the center of consciousness.   It is not that "I am" an impure body, cluttered mind, or a sensory addict, etc. Rather, it is the thought patterns deep in the basement of the mind (chitta), which have been colored in some way, which in turn affect the body, mental processing, and the sensory attractions and aversions.

 

Niyamas and Life

You are probably already practicing many of these observances, but continuing to cultivate your awareness to them is essential.

 

Meaning of Ishvara: 

In the Upanishads, the word Īśvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness. Thus, God is not a being that sits on a high pedestal beyond the sun, moon, and stars; God is actually the state of Ultimate Reality. But due to the lack of direct experience, God has been personified and given various names and forms by religions throughout the ages. When one expands one's individual consciousness to the Universal Consciousness, it is called Self-realization, for the individual self has realized the unity of diversity, the very underlying principle, or Universal Self, beneath all forms and names. The great sages of the Upanishads avoid the confusions related to conceptions of God and encourage students to be honest and sincere in their quests for Self-realization. Upanishadic philosophy provides various methods for unfolding higher levels of truth and helps students to be able to unravel the mysteries of the individual and the universe.

 

 

Beginner Focus- The Yamas- The Yogis thou shall not

Beginner Focus- The Yamas- The Yogis thou shall not

May 2018

Y.S 2.30

 

Ahimsa Satya

Asteya Brahmacharya

Aparigraha Yama

 

Non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, walking in awareness of the highest reality, and non-possessiveness or non-grasping with the senses are the five yamas, or codes of self-regulation or restraint, and are the first of the eight steps of Yoga.

 

Reference from Swamij.com

 

The five Yamas

The five Yamas are considered codes of restraint, abstinences, self-regulations, and involve our relationship with the external world and other people.

 

Building relationship with the world

Having a good relationship with the world and other people is imperative if we wish to sit for meditation and experience the depths of Self-realization. The five Yamas are a means of building that relationship.

 

Actions, speech, and thoughts

It is easy to mistakenly lump these three together, as if they are one concept. Most of our human experience does not teach us how to separate, or contemplate these parts of the mind.  These three separate practices, which work together intimately, to cultivate self-awareness or mindfulness of actions, speech, and thoughts as separate entities is very important. Witness your actions, speech and thoughts as an independent practice, though related to the others.

           

Ahimsa is the foundation

All of the Yamas rest on the 1- nonviolence.  When applying all of these Yamas to life and your external relationships, apply Ahimsa to them all.

 

Abide in the Seer

Abide in the Seer

July 2018

 

Y.S 1.3
 

Tada Drashtuh

Svarupe Vasthanam              

 

Tada- then, at that time; at the time of concentration and meditation

Drashtuh-  the root drsh, which means to see- the seer's, of the soul, witness, Atman, Self

Svarupe- in its own nature, own form or essence; Sva - own; Rupa - form

Avasthanam- the root stha means to stand- stability, settling, remaining, being in a state, resting, standing, lying, abiding          

 

Then the Seer abides in Itself, resting in its own True Nature, which is called Self-realization, the path, purpose and practice of Yoga. 

 

Most of this content is referenced from www.swamij.com

 

Then the Self stands alone

As a result of having done the process of nirodhah- stilling, training or Self-mastery, the true Self stands alone, unencumbered by our many false identities. 

This standing alone process is why the phrase Self-realization uses the word realization, rather than a word like attainment. 

The process is not one of attaining something we do not have, but rather is one of removing the clouds, so as to see the light in the sky that is already there.  

The wave forgets the truth that it is the ocean, thinking itself to be the grand shape, which it has temporarily taken.  For a while, it takes on the rupa (form) of wave.  Finally, it remembers its true rupa (form) of ocean.
We humans forget our true nature, but, through yoga, can remember.         

 

Awareness remains unchanged

In deep meditation, you come to see that while the thought patterns shift here and there, ever changing their shape, the way that the waves on the ocean keep shifting, the awareness itself never changes. There is a constant, ever flowing, ever being awareness that simply is, that observes or witnesses. In meditation, this same truth is realized over and over, as layer after layer, level after level of mental process is revealed and seen to be like the deeper shifting of the ocean waves. The awareness itself remains unchanged, and will become clearer and clearer as the center of consciousness that stands alone, though part of all the levels it permeates.

 

 

The seer

The word drastuh means seer or witness. The word seer does not give you a theological or metaphysical description or definition of who you are. This is one of the beautiful qualities of Yoga and the Yoga Sutras. There is nothing in the word seer to believe or not believe. By saying that the seer rests in its true nature after transcending the many forms of thought patterns in the mind field, one can simply do the purifying practices and personally experience the results. In English translations, the word drashtuh is often given meanings such as Self, Soul, or Atman. 

 

This provides some clarity or speculation of the nature of this seer, but it is useful to remember that Patanjali is not actually telling you what is the nature of your true self, but that the seer will be experienced in itself, in its true nature, whatever or however that is ultimately experienced and described by each person. 

 

Some false identity characteristics

Referenced from Matt Kahn

Matt Kahn refers to the false identity as inflamed egos.  Inflammation being defined as different ways that bodies respond or react to their environment.  Think of it as humans having an allergic response to their past conditioning, or reacting to their false identity.  The inflammation of the personality is what creates the ego to go awry.  Kahn’s opinion is a different perspective than Yoga stating the personality is a component of the soul (not of the mind) and carries on with you after you pass. Kahn goes on to say the inflammation of the personality arises when the nervous systems gets out of whack, which then creates an allergic reaction to life.

 

When you start to see ego as the inflammation of the personality, you notice how often you get “puffed up”.  Inflamed personality creates an exaggerated perception of life.  When living with an allergic reaction to the vibration of the planet, an exaggerated level of consciousness causes you to oscillate from spiritual highs and emotional lows.  This can create much suffering.

Sound familiar?

The four types of inflammation are a guided exploration to recognize what you resonate with, how you judge others which will lead you to witnessing the true Seer, instead.

 

Four types of Inflammation

1.    Righteous- An ego structure that needs to be right by making others wrong.  Lives to have the upper hand and the final word.  Theme- “I am always right”.  Often skeptical of everyone’s view but its own.  An ego that believes that the way it sees the world is the way everyone should see it.  To balance this ego, cultivate insightfulness.

2.    Victimized-  An ego that believes it is always a victim of circumstance.  Even when life is going right, there will always be something turned upside down.  It holds tightly to judgements, beliefs and opinions as the reasons life is in chaos.  Often holds belief in superstition.  Victims tend be hurt by the way others respond or do not respond to it.  This ego stays in stagnation unable to change in a world that’s constantly changing.  Theme- “life is unfair”.  To balance this ego, cultivate discernment.

3.    Entitled- An ego structure that believes it is their right to have whatever they want, when they want, even at the cost of others.  Lives in an exaggerated worthiness, believes everyone must fulfill their every whim, even at the cost of others.  Even when served by others there is never an end of requests or expectations. It believes it controls all the characters in its life.  Theme- “what about me”? To balance this ego, cultivate worthiness.

4.    Needy- An ego structure that no matter how much it receives, feels like it is never filled up.  Often feels invisible, undervalued, or misunderstood.  These personalities can be draining, like energy vampires.  It feels like they are going to be abandoned or lose everything.  Theme- “it’s never enough”.  To balance this ego, cultivate openness.

 

 

Experiencing the seer in its own nature

Similarly, the word svarupe means in its own nature. Here also, Patanjali is not giving a definition of your true nature. Once again, there is nothing to believe or not believe. Through practice and non-attachment and transcending the many mistaken identities you come to the direct experience of your own nature. Yet, most of us are curious about the descriptions of this true nature.

 

Purusha and Prakriti

The process of realization through Yoga rests on the discovery of pure consciousness Purusha- the Seer.  Prakriti primal matter or substance from which the physical and mental universe evolves which is under the influence of purusha.  These principles of purusha and prakriti are part of the philosophical system known as Samkhya.  Yoga and Samkhya are two of the six systems of Indian philosophy.

 

Discriminating between Purusha and Prakriti

The entire process of Yoga rests on discriminating between Purusha and the false identities of Prakriti. This process of discrimination permeates the whole of the Yoga Sutras.

Self-contemplation, discrimination, and realization is the basis of Yoga. 

As you recognize the truth of your nature life will become sweeter and easier because the practice of detachment happens naturally.  If you find you are still upset in response to external circumstances, just smile and honor your humanity.  For the path of Liberation from these false identities is a forever process. 

Good luck!

Practice NO-thing to be Everything

Practice NO-thing to be Everything

June 2018

Asatoma Sadgamaya

Tamasoma Jyotri Gamaya

Myritorma Amritam Gamaya

 

Lead me from the unreal to the real

From the darkness to the Light

From death to immortality

 

This prayer seeks out the Truth beneath the ever-changing and shifting reality of the physical world. It aims to connect with the eternal, ever-blissful and peaceful nature that resides within us at the deepest level.

 

Referenced from OSHO

Thinking nothing

You will become unlimited. You will become whole. You will become universal. You will be everywhere. And then you are joy. Now you are nothing but misery. Those who are cunning, they go on deceiving themselves that they are not miserable, or they go on hoping that something will change, something will happen, and they will achieve at the end of life – but you are miserable. You can create faces, deceptions, false faces; you can go on smiling continuously, but deep down you know you are in misery. That is natural. Confined in thoughts you will be in misery. Unconfined, beyond thoughts – alert, conscious, aware, but unclouded by thoughts – you will be joy, you will be bliss.

 

Meditate on the void- the space

If there is no object to your attention, you are nowhere; or, you are everywhere, you are free.

If you are not thinking, you are unlimited. Thinking gives you a limit, and there are many types of limits. You are a Hindu – it gives a limit. Hindu, to be a Hindu, is to be attached to a thought, to a system, to a pattern. You are a Christian – then again you are limited. A religious man cannot be a Hindu or a Christian. And if someone is a Hindu or a Christian, he is not religious – impossible – because these are thoughts. A religious man means not thinking thoughts; not limited by any thought, by any system, by any pattern; not limited by the mind, living in the unlimited.

When you have a certain thought, that thought becomes your barrier. It may be a beautiful thought – still it is a barrier. A beautiful prison is still a prison. It may be a golden thought but it makes no difference, it imprisons you all the same. And whenever you have a thought and you are attached to it, you are always against someone, because barriers cannot exist if you are not against someone. A thought is always a prejudice; it is always for and against.

 

Sea Analogy of Consciousness

Go to the sea, and watch the sea.

Millions of waves are there, but deep in its depth the sea remains calm and quiet, deep in meditation. The turmoil is just on the surface, just on the surface where the sea meets the outside world, the winds.

Otherwise, in itself, it always remains the same, not even a ripple; nothing changes.

It is the same with you. Just on the surface where you meet others there is turmoil, anxiety, anger, attachment, greed, lust...just on the surface where winds come and touch you.

And if you remain on the surface you cannot change this changing phenomenon; it will remain there.

Many people try to change it there, on the circumference. They fight with it, they try not to let a wave arise. And through their fight even more waves arise, because when the sea fights with the wind there will be more turmoil: now not only will the wind help it, the sea will also help – there will be tremendous chaos on the surface.

All the moralists try to change man on the periphery. Your character is the periphery: you don’t bring any character into the world, you come absolutely characterless, a blank sheet, and all that you call your character is written by others. Your parents, society, teachers, teachings – all are conditionings. You come as a blank sheet, and whatsoever is written on you comes from others; unless you become a blank sheet again you will not know what nature is, you will not know what Brahma is, you will not know what Tao is.

You can be unique only when you are nothing

If you are something, you are comparable.  If you are somebody you can be compared with others, and that which can be compared cannot be unique. Unique means incomparable. Unique means you are alone, there is nobody like you. So if you are somebody … If you are a man there are millions of men; you are comparable. If you are rich, then there are millions of rich people; you are comparable. If you are good you are comparable. If you are bad you are comparable. If you are a painter you are comparable. If you are a singer you are comparable. If you are somebody you are comparable, and by being comparable you cease to be unique.

The moment you attain to a nothingness, when the “I” disappears … The “I” is comparable; the “no-I” is incomparable. That’s why I say if you become nothing you become unique. If you become nothing you become incorruptible; the nothing cannot be corrupted.

You have heard Lord Acton’s saying, “Power corrupts; and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Why does power corrupt? Because power makes you somebody. It gives you a definition. It says who you are — you are a prime minister of a country or a president of a country. Power gives you a definition; it demarks who you are. If you have money, it demarks you. If you don’t have money, it demarks you. If you are a musician or a poet or a singer, it shows who you are. The moment you know who you are, you are limited, you are finite – and you are comparable.

But if you are nobody — just a pure nothingness, pure sky with not even a particle of dust—then how can you be compared?

God is unique because God is nothing. You cannot find God anywhere. Either you can find him everywhere or nowhere, but you cannot find him somewhere. Either he is the whole or he is nothing.

When you are nothing you also become the whole. When you are nothing you also become divine. By being somebody you remain human. By being nobody you attain to divinity, you become divine.  Hence I have said that the moment nothingness arises in you, you have become unique.

Buddha is unique not because he is the great saint, because there are millions of saints.

Jesus is unique not because he is the most virtuous man. That’s all nonsense. He is unique because he is nothing. He is unique because he is ready to crucify his ego. And the moment his ego is crucified, he resurrects—he resurrects as the whole. He dies as the part and resurrects as the whole. He dies in time and is resurrected in eternity.

Oneness there are no “others”

Oneness there are no “others”

April 2018

Y.S 4.5

pravritti bhedhe

prayojakam chittam

ekam anekesham

While the activities of the emergent mind fields may be diverse, the one mind is the director of the many.

 I AM

It is part of the human language to claim I.  I states that something belongs to you, that that thing, it is part of you.  When you claim I your mind doesn’t know how to dis- identify with I or the object it is claiming, 

Humans Like to know.  You like to know I.  You like to own things and claim them as part of you.

Why?  It gives a sense of stability, a stability that is an illusion, it is not real.  Real meaning, it is impermanent and you cannot control it.  The stability that you crave cannot be given to you by owning anything.  This claiming of I is a form of avidya, one of the 5 kleshas or obstacles to achieving Yoga.  Avidya is an ignorance of oneself or a misknowing.  You also claim I am.  I am states that you know thyself.  When you claim, I am something you then decide, this it, this is how I am, not just now but forever. 

Why?  It seems more comforting to know I am, than to let I am reveal itself as it changes from moment to moment.  The only stability that I and I am have is that it is constantly changing.

 Other

In the English language, the word other is used often. Other people, others as in a group, other than or different than something or someone else.  Other declares separate and this is also an illusion, separation.  When you see the other in another it is because you see the conditions that make you different from me, her from him, plant from animal, etc.  This is necessary for survival.  Much like the ego, is necessary in the minds ability to discern, but not necessary for spiritual development or experiencing yoga. 

 Another translation of this sutra is-

Separation flows forth from the different minds, but from the One Mind of All, Oneness flows.

 What creates Separation?

When is it that you cannot see oneness?  When you can’t relate to someone?  Your opinion is different.  Your belief in something is so true, you think you are right and they are wrong.  Sound familiar?  This creates more tension in the world.  You can claim I am spiritual but how are you promoting separation?

 From Swami Vivekananda

“These different minds, which will act in these different bodies, are called made-minds, and the bodies made-bodies; that is, manufactured bodies and minds. Matter and mind are like two inexhaustible storehouses. When you have become a Yogi, you have learned the secret of their control. It was yours all the time, but you had forgotten it. When you become a Yogi, you recollect it. Then you can do anything with it, manipulate it any way you like. The material out of which that manufactured mind is created is the very same material which is used as the macrocosm. It is not that mind is one thing and matter another, but they are different existences of the same thing. Asmita, egoism, is the material, the fine state of existence out of which these made-minds and made-bodies of the Yogi will be manufactured. Therefore, when the Yogi has found the secret of these energies of nature he can manufacture any number of bodies, or minds, but they will all be manufactures out of the substance known as egoism.

Egoism is also one of the kleshas.

 When you feel the otherness in another

If we know this illusion of separation and we know we are spiritual beings that are eternal, why do we see otherness in another?  The variables are too many to consider.  When one is acting from their triggers from the past, or when one is acting, or reacting from their own insecurities.  When one of the others forgets that they are not I am, and all that is present is ego- asmita.  When we forget the real priorities of a spiritual life and we think, fame and gain are more important than oneness.  When we feel threatened by another.  You know what egos do?  They puff up, puffy egos.  They claim I am more than you; better, prettier, spiritual, smart.  Ego likes this, it creates individuality that’s it’s job. 

Be aware

Of how you create drama and conflict in your own life by not being honest, comfortable or upfront with another.  Yes, you may not be able to be completely, “real” because of professional relationships but in any moment in an interaction can you drop the illusion of separation and see that we, the other is energy, spirit, eternal like you.  You don’t have to like them to see this.  

My truth

I find that my ego wants to be the best in the room, the prettiest, the best yoga teacher and when I feel threatened or intimated with another being competition, I kill them with kindness.  Instead of being insecure I am compassionate.  Instead of being judgmental I become curious about them. 

I don’t have to like someone to see the union that is Yoga.  That we are energy vibrating at different frequencies.  Some frequencies may turn you off, you don’t resonate with them, but it just becomes a contemplation within yourself.  What are they bringing up for me, what are they triggering or mirroring? 

The Yogi takes responsibility

The yogi resists the urge to say, “well they are blank.”  Instead the yogi just observes.  In my observation, I can claim I am a pretty intuitive observer therefore I think I know or am better than someone else, therefore I claim I am more spiritual than another.  Guess what?  All spiritual people are doing it, which means we are all navigating form the ego which is not where yoga resides. 

Try it- all flows from the ONE

The one? 

In the 2 limb of the 8 limb path, one of the niyamas is Ishvara pranidhana.  It asks you to develop your personal name and form of God and surrender everything to that.  When you develop that relationship, you can understand how all flows from the one mind, all is alignment to the one.  When the ego drops, you can let the oneness move through you.  It’s all for the one, in alignment to the one. 

To see that everyone’s story, suffering and approach to life and dealing with their own shit is different than yours, but at the soul level, we are the same.  Can you relate to the person with empathy from that perception and see we are stronger as supporting each other and we are all in this together? 

 From Swami Rama

The one mind is the root of the many: The root aspect of mind that emerges from individuality or asmita is the core out of which there may emerge many clusters of mental identity. All of the mental constructs of who we think we are, are false identities that are secondary to that central mental identity.

Sincerity in practice and asana chasing

Sincerity in practice and asana chasing

March 2018

Y.S 1.14

 

Sah Tu Dirgha

Kala Nairantaria

Satkara Sevitoh

Drudha Bhumihe

 

 

When the practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.

 

Definition of Sincerity

 

A combination of patience and compassion.  Sincerity is serious, kind, and truthful, it is honesty with oneself.  

 

3 Components of Practice: 

 

1.     You have practiced for a long period of time:

 

Doing anything for a period of time gives one the ability to commit to that thing.  Commitment to anything allows one to cultivate discipline, which in our modern society everyone needs a practice in.  In the 8-limb path of yoga Tapas is from the root word in Sanskrit, tap which means to burn.  To burn away anything that would prevent you from committing to your practice. 

Contemplate:   What are typical excuses one would use to NOT be consistent in practice.   

Pantanjali is referring to the practice of meditation.  All of the practices of yoga, (which are?) are designed to purify the physical and subtle energy body, so one can sit and witness the mind, in a comfortable, neutral state. 

Our personality is made up of our habit patterns, and habit patterns are formed by our repeated actions.  When these habits are refined, they are deposited in the mind field in the form of subtle impressions called samskaras. 

When similar samskaras are joined together they are called vasanas.

Vasanas are a group of impressions big enough and strong enough to take over your mind. Vasanas come from deep within, and they motivate us to think, speak, and act in a manner that is congruent with them.

These powerful habits are formed over a long period of time, and therefore the process of undoing them will also take a long time, therefore; practice, practice, practice.

You must not expect instant transformation. Don’t rush the process.  

You need to do your practice for a long period of time in order to generate new, spiritually illuminating, positive, constructive habit patterns that can neutralize your negative habit patterns and initiate a long-lasting transformation from within.

2.     Your practice must not be interrupted—you must do it regularly.

 

It all rests on attention:

Throughout the science of Yoga meditation attention is a critical principle to practice.  This sharp, clear, assiduous attention, asevitah, is essential if you are to develop the attitude of conviction for practices over a long time, and without a break.

 "Attention, attention, attention!" is the formula to follow.

If you look at the structure of the 8-limb path; asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana are all about focusing attention- deeper and deeper.

 

Know your practice

What are the practices you are striving to do continuously? 

Notice what happens to your being when you commit to them for long time, without a break.   

Choose the level of practice that will allow you to be consistent, in duration, in intensity.  Be realistic.  Everything in the world is regulated by time and space. Cause and effect are totally dependent on them, and that is why, to breathe life into your practice, you must do it regularly. You may have noticed in your own life that it is hard to start a practice in the first place—and even harder to restart it once you have let it lapse. Irregularity breeds procrastination—a hurdle that is hard to overcome. 

 

One and only downfall of practice

Attachment!  Vairagya.   Once you understand the benefit that commitment to practice brings you then may believe that without it your life sucks.  Or you may identify with it and believe without it YOU suck.  Strive to commit, create tapas, and practice without a break but also be aware if the reigns of attachment are pulling you in. 

You must do your practice with love and respect. 

 

Asana practice as goal oriented, ego gratification

As a yogi, this may be your primary practice of choice.  It works the physical body and what can happen as you commit and progress in practice is that you become attached to continually growing.  What happens then is that you start chasing asanas, like goal, much like money or goals in life.  Which there is nothing wrong with.  Some would say it is better than remaining stagnant, BUT it can be a trap to wanting more and being where you are, never being enough. 

 

Asana Chasing

Why do you have to get that pose?

What are you trying to achieve? 

What are you trying to prove?

The answers to these questions can be very humbling if you are honest, at least they are for me.

 

It’s all about Intention, what is your WHY?

Although we individually have many different reasons why we come to the mat, the energy of it is the same.  You may say relaxation, strength, flexibility.  I may say connection, realization, freedom. Knowing your why is important, it will align your intention to your commitment which will keep your practice evolving from inside.  Your practice will continuously be heart aligned rather than ego driven.  Know that your why will evolve, like what you need out of you practice, so attention to your inherent awareness is going to be key.

 

3.     Do your practice with love and respect:

Develop attitude:

The attitude satkara contains the principles of devotion, sincerity, respect, reverence, positiveness, and right choice.  

As you choose your proper level of practice, and decide to do that daily, the attitude will come more easily. It is like having a little flame of desire in the heart for the fruits of meditation, and then slowly starting to experience those benefits. That little flame starts to grow slowly and consistently into a burning desire to guide your life in the direction of spiritual realization.  You can continue your practice for a long period of time, without interruption, only when you love it. If you have not cultivated love and respect for your practice, it will be a continuous struggle to do it—and practicing without joy is torture. It is no longer the ground for self-discipline. Sooner or later you are bound to quit.

All of these principles will drive your awareness deeper into yourself and that is the true goal. 

Beginner Focus- Drishti- Gaze

Beginner Focus- Drishti- Gaze

Feb 2017

Focus

Drishti is the Sanskrit term used for focused gaze. It is an external gazing point that helps the mind to concentrate. It can also be used inside, as a point of focus for meditation technique.

Drishti is in direct relationship with balance and balancing poses. If the gaze is not focused, the mind is not focused and balancing on the feet, one foot or hands will be more difficult. In order to help balance the gaze is shifted forward on a spot on the floor that doesn’t move. If the mind is calm and the breath is moving the balance will inevitably come.

 

In asana practice drishti is focused on different parts of the body not only to refine the posture but to direct the vital life force energy or prana to these points.

 

Drishti and example asanas

 

1. nasAgrai – nose tip- flat back, cobra- up dog

2. bhroomadhya – third eye- floor bow- camel

3. nAbii cakra – Navel- down dog

4. hastAgrai – Hand- warrior A/B, Triangle

5. pAayoragrai – toes- standing head to feet, seated forward fold

6. pArshva – side- extended angle- twists

7. angushta madhya – thumbs as in the start of surya namaskAra

8. urdhva – up to the sky

 

Drishti incorporates principles from the 8-limb path

It relates to the fifth limb of yoga (pratyahara)- sense withdrawal, as well as the sixth limb dharana- concentration.

pratyAhara

Is withdrawal of the senses. It is the connection to the five sense organs—sight, touch, taste, hearing and smell—then learning how to move beyond them. It is like a turtle drawing its limbs into it's shell. The turtle’s shell is the mind and the senses are the limbs. A practice of turning the attention deeper within. Ahara means food, or anything we take into ourselves from the outside, prati, against or away. Pratyahara control of ahara, or gaining mastery over external influences, by turning within.

Pratyahara Practices

 

• Bubble protection meditation

 

 

• Shunmukiimudra

 

 

• Shambhavi mudra

dhAraNa

Is defined as Concentration. The nature of mind is that it wanders. Dharana is the practice of eka graha, one pointed focus. To concentrate your attention on one technique, to prepare the mind for meditation. Drishii helps the mind concentrate. The practice of dharana is to learn how to shift the external gaze to internal presence. To dissolve the external world (pratyahara) while the external gaze is focused on one spot. Drishti should be soft, hazy, out of focus, to not overwork the eyes.

 

Physical benefits

• Exercise the eye muscles

• Blood flow to the optic nerves

• Align the neck and head in asana.

Drishti and intention

Drishti can be the heightened focus, the single point, on a higher intention (sankalpa) or feeling. It can direct your mind or heart’s intention to a spiritual focus or God.

 

Yoga- The art of listening and learning how to Trust

Yoga- The art of listening and learning how to Trust

Feb 2018

YS 1.16

Tat param

purusha khyatei

Guna vaitrsnyam

 

Indifference to the subtlest elements, or the constituent principles- (gunas)

Achieved through a knowledge of the nature of pure consciousness- (purusha)

Is called supreme non-attachment- (paravairagya)

 

The art of Listening- Within

To listen without being distracted. To listen without interrupting. To listen without preferring to hear something different. By dissected the qualities of the mind through thoughts, the body through sensations and the emotions through feeling, you can refine your attention to the details, inside. Begin to understand the conversation that is revealing itself to you from within. Once you learn to observe the superficial, gross and impermanent aspects of your being, you will learn how to let go of your desire to cling or identify to everything you observe.

 

The art of Listening- Interacting

What qualities does a good listener embody?

Eye contact, presence, someone who doesn’t feel the need to converse about themselves after listening. Someone who is empathetic, yet not overly emotional. Someone who can give advice keeping your best interest in mind. Learning how to listen in interactions displays the practice or sadhana you practice listening to within. Give yourself the same compassion, attention and nurturance listening to your best friend.

 

Desire or Longing

All of your desires are in direct relationship to preferences. You either prefer what is happening in your external or internal environment, drawing you into pleasure, craving or attachment. Or you dislike what is happening and you therefore avoid, ignore or try to change it. A vritti, can be defined as the fluctuations of the mind, or a vortex of energy. This vritti arises from desire and it circles around you and you get spun in it until you dissolve or neutralize the desire. All discomfort in the mind field begins from a clouded heart. The four longings are: I want, I need, I like and I reject. All of the human longings can fall under these categories. When you claim I- you are identified with what you are stating. How often to you choose to focus on the I, me, mine selfish tendency that is of the small self?

 

Truth

Truth is the purity that is under the desire. The practices of yoga help purify all the layers of your being so you can orient to the consciousness at the center. It is spiritual freedom from the comings and goings of the mind or the detachment of the vortexes of energy. A cloudy mind shrouds the truth. But through non-attachment truth shines with perfect clarity. The mind is like a lake. You can see your reflection in the water provided the lake is clear and calm. Clarity and calmness are equally important in creating an undistorted reflection. The clarity of the water depends on the absence of pollutants; if the lake is calm but dirty the reflection will be vague and blurry. If the lake is clear but agitated the reflection will be distorted. Abhyasa (the method of yoga, as described by Patanjali) makes the lake of the mind calm; the practice of vairagya (detachment) makes it clear.

 

The practice of non- attachment- Vairagya

The simplest way of describing non-attachment is as the process of letting go. Gradually learning to let go of attachments and aversions, and systematically moving subtler and subtler through the layers of attachments in the mind. However, non-attachment goes beyond this; it is not just a practice of letting go, but is a practice of not taking on in the first place. Non-attachment is not suppression, non-attachment is not a mere personality trait that one practices in dealing with the other people of the world. It is very easy to fool oneself into thinking that non-attachment is being practiced when what is really happening is pretending to be non-attached. It is like saying that you have lost your inner craving to some object while inside you are longing for it intensely. Non-attachment is not a process of suppression or repression of wants, wishes, desires, thoughts, or emotions. Non-attachment is a process that evolves progressively as practice deepens. Eventually it leads to a supreme non-attachment, Paravairagya. It means there is non-attachment even in relation to the most fundamental building blocks of all manifestation, the gunas. This level of non-attachment comes through the direct experience of pure consciousness or purusha.

Three levels of non-attachment:

We can think of this as a systematic process of developing non-attachment (vairagya) at three levels:

1. Gross world: There are many objects of our daily lives for which our mental impressions are colored with various degrees of attraction or aversion. This is the first level of developing freedom from those bondages and experiencing greater inner peace.

2. Everything between: There are many types of objects between the levels of the gross world and the subtlest building blocks. After the mind is stabilized, these subtler levels are explored and set aside with non-attachment and discrimination-viveka. (Non-attachment to meditation, to pranic energy, the five elements, the senses, and the subtler aspects of mind.

3. Subtlest building blocks: These are the three primal elements (gunas) that are addressed in this current sutra. The idea is that the yogi becomes non-attached even to the subtlest building blocks of existence, (paravairagya).

Detachment from the gunas is like detaching from atomic particles

This concept of levels may seem foreign, but we are all accustomed to this in our world. If we compare this to only the physical universe, it would be somewhat like becoming non-attached to protons, electrons, and neutrons, which are the particles that form atoms. Notice how the physical universe is also constructed in levels or layers:

• Particles (protons, electrons, neutrons)

• Atoms

• Molecules

• Compounds

• Objects

Imagine that you were free from attachment and aversion to the particles (protons, electrons, and neutrons). Then (in our metaphor) you would be free from attachment and aversion to all of its evolutes as well, including, molecules, compounds, and all of the physical objects of the world.

Supreme non-attachment: Similarly, this is the suggestion of supreme non-attachment (paravairagya) to the gunas, the three primal elements that the yogis speak of as the prime constituents of the manifest and unmanifest matter (prakriti). Non-attachment to the gunas includes non-attachment in relation to not only the gross world, but also the entire subtle, psychic, astral plane, as well as the causal out of which they arise.

Paravairagya comes after Self-realization: On a practical level, this is not to say that we must attain the paravairagya level to attain direct experience of the center of consciousness (purusha). Rather, it is describing where non-attachment ultimately leads once you have the tool of samadhi and direct experience.

The Gunas

Guna means string, thread, or strand, or virtue, quality, or attribute. The operating principles or the subtle forces of nature are the interplay of that defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life. There are three gunas, that have always been and continue to be present in all things and beings in the world. These three gunas are called: sattva (goodness, constructive, harmonious), rajas (passion, active, confused), and tamas (darkness, destructive, chaotic). All of these three gunas are present in everyone and everything, it is the proportion that is different, according to Hindu worldview. The sattvic and tamasic forces of the gunas are the sources of liking and disliking. The sattvic energy influences our mind in a way that causes us to like virtues and dislike nonvirtues. Tamasic energy, on the other hand, influences our mind in the opposite way. Our mind is constantly tossed by the interplay of sattvic and tamasic energies, forcing us to remain caught in the whirlpool of our likes and dislikes. Self-realization gives us a realistic perspective on life. And once we have that, instead of wasting our time on likes and dislikes, we engage tire mind and heart in attaining the purpose of life.

How to trust the purusha

The pure inner consciousness that is at the center, that is in direct alignment with your truth will not lead you astray. It is not identified with anything that is impermanent and changing. It is not affected by the operating principles of the gunas. When you can perceive purely without; longing, needs, desires, preferences, cravings or aversions, this consciousness will lead you to the path of Universal consciousness and union that is the goal of yoga. Learn how to listen and trust in all the ways you can

 

Beginner Focus- Urjayi the foundation of vinyasa practice

Beginner Focus- Urjayi the foundation of vinyasa practice

Jan 2018

Urjayi means the victorious breath

The pranayama that most yogis are familiar, it is the breath used in vinyasa practice.   

Jai means victory—from expansion or victoriously uprising—which refers to the movement of prana through sushumnA nADi. It also can translate to the awakening awareness that is happening in the yogi’s consciousness.  The breath is the bridge for the mind/body connection.  With practice, overtime it will have the quality of strength and surrender.  It will be the focus of asana to create the mediation in movement. 

The glottis is the space between the vocal cords; it is what is activated when urjayi breath is engaged.

The importance lies in the actions of the throat, not so much the sound. The sound is the byproduct. 

Urjayi is what is going to warm the body and prepare the tissues to open in the asanas and move deeper into th poses.

It is the most important component to asana or vinyasa practice. If one is not learning how to breathe consciously then the asanas become just movements—it is not yoga.  Yoga is a whole/ complete practice, meaning it incorporates: mind, body, breath, and spirit. If one is not breathing, the practice remains purely physical.

Samavritti:

Means even or equal breathing, the breath has a symmetrical rhythm to the inhale and exhale.

 

Technique:

In a seated position exhale making the HA sound from the back of the throat, like fogging a mirror, 3 times.

Notice the sensation, the sound and how you can control the breath easier. 

Now seal the lips and keep the same sensation and sound in the back of the throat, practice this 3-5 times.

Resist the urge to force the breath or bring it into the nasal passage. 

The exhale is easier to master then the inhale, usually. 

Next add in the urjayi inhale, the indention in the throat will hollow and the sensation is like sipping through a straw.  The sound will make SSSS, like a snake.  

Practice samamvritti counting the even urjayi inhale and exhale (5-20 times)

Often a count of 4 or 5 is a perfect, slow duration, even for a beginner. 

A 6 count is a good pace to strive for.

 

Urjayi sound not only resembles a good movement of breath, and therefore prana, but also an inner alignment with the bandhas.

Samamvritti should first be practiced with focus on just the inhale and exhale.

When one has established equal duration, inhale kumbhaka (retention) can be added. 

In Asana the breath is the linking mechanism:  

Attention to the breath is refined through consistent sadhana.  It will resemble the effortless effort we strive to attain in movement, transition and asana.  

We use the breath to enhance movement, deepen asanas, and facilitate transitions. 

The breath initiates movement and the breath keeps going after the movement has stopped.  

The exhalation deepens asanas (downward movement) and the inhalation lengthens (upward movement) them.

The breath is considered first in transitions.

 Urjayi Samavritti Pranayama with Kumbhaka:

Transition from each breath should be smooth without gasping. 

Ratio 1:1:1. 

·      Inhale for a count of 3-6 secs

·      Hold for 3-6 secs

·      Exhale 3-6 secs

·      Practice (5-8 times)

When inhale, exhale, and inhale retention are smooth, then add exhale kumbhaka. 

Ratio 1:1:1:1. 

·      Inhale for a count of 3-6 secs

·      Hold for 3-6 secs

·      Exhale 3-6 secs

·      Hold for 3-6 secs

·      Practice (5-8 times)

When using retention, practice of the bandhas is necessary (bandhas will be practiced later)

Benefits:

  • Aids in digestion, circulation, strengthens nervous system and removes wastes and toxins.

 

Urjayi Anuloma, Viloma, and Pratiloma

Anuloma and viloma are another form of alternate nostril breathing called nadi shuddhi.

Anuloma:

Alternate nostril on the exhale and urjayi on the inhale

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale left

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale right, that is one round

·     Regular inhale (no urjayi, variation)

·     Repeat 5 rounds, gradually building.

Benefits:

Aids in digestion, circulation, strengthens nervous system and removes wastes and toxins.  Increases respiratory health, has powerful relaxing effects that helps to soothe depression and stress.  It calms the brain and promotes clear reasoning.  It can help in recreation of lung tissue and enhances their capacity. It increases digestive power, soothes and invigorates the nerves, and clears the sinuses. It purifies the brain, asthma, cold and gastric problems.  With regular practice, it can strengthen the immune system. If aids in circulation you have cold hands and feet this may help.

Viloma:

Alternate nostril on the inhale and urjayi on the exhale

·      Inhale left

·      Exhale urjayi

·      Inhale right

·      Exhale urjayi, that is one round

·      Repeat 5 rounds gradually building.

·      Regular exhale (no urjayi, variation)

·      Inhale 2 sec, pause Inhale 2 sec, pause until full, exhale urjayi, that’s one round (variation)

·      Inhale urjayi, exhale 2 secs, pause, exhale 2 secs pause until full, that’s one round (variation)

 Benefits:

First variation helps low blood pressure, 2nd helps high blood pressure.

Pratiloma:

Is a combination of the last two techniques

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale left

·     Inhale left

·     Exhale urjayi

·     Inhale urjayi

·     Exhale right

·     Inhale right

·     Exhale urjayi, this is one cycle

Benefits:

Are the same as anuloma

 

 

Magnificence in the Mundane

Magnificence in the Mundane

Jan 2018

This mantra is a prayer to the divine feminine which is the ability to be receptive in the blessings that constantly present themselves to you and for you.

The consort of Shiva the Lord of destruction, is a reminder to rise from the suffering of your past and soften into the triumph now.

Sarva Mangala Mangalyei

Shive Sarvartha Sadikei

Sharanyei Trayambakei Gauri

Narayani Namostute

Mantra meaning

Oh Gauri Ma, consort of Lord Shiva

You who bestows auspiciousness in all,

And fulfill everyone’s wishes,

I prostrate myself before thee,

Take me under your care

The one who is the auspiciousness of all that is auspicious (sarvamangalamangalye)

Who is the means of accomplishing all desires (sarvrthasadhake)

Who is the refuge of all (saranye)

The three eyed one (tryambake)

The fair complexioned one (Gauri)

Salutations to you, Narayani (consort of Shri Narayana- Shri Lakshmi Devi- Who is the knower of all, who blesses devotee’s success in their efforts and who is the refuge of all).

Further deity info

The consort of Lord Shiva is Parvati and is worshipped as Shakti. The Puranic literature describes her as having many forms: Durga, Chandi, Kali and Uma.

Shiva symbolizes the cause of creation. Shakti symbolizes the material cause.

Oh, great feminine power which is the driving energy of Shiva, Narayana, whose very touch brings ecstasy, one who opens the eye of wisdom, bestow upon us the highest blessing.

Your past creates your now

As a child raised in addiction and alcoholism, I craved structure, stability, consistency and I had very little. It’s not that I wasn’t cared for, rather I was spoiled and had everything I needed physically. I had plenty of food to eat, received all the clothes I desired, or all the allowance I wanted. I also had lots of freedom. Friends could visit whenever. I didn’t have curfews or obligations. What lacked in my upbringing was quality time, words of affirmation, and a depth in connection or communication.

It doesn’t seem uncommon that the work I have been drawn to is to help balance that, that I felt like I was lacking in my past.

I know my story isn’t unique. I know everyone has their story in what they lacked growing up which created patterns of yearning or habitual action in their adult life. As an addict, I was constantly swinging from the highs of being high and the lows of coming down. Even when I wasn’t using my nervous system, hormones and mental/emotional states still swung up and down. Being ‘stable’, was not something I identified with ever…. Until now.

Your beliefs shape your reality

When you contemplate the way, you work in the world, or how you have acted and reacted in some of your life experiences, can you recognize some of your belief systems that have been controlling you?

My life experience that I can remember has been a struggle. Bad things seemed to constantly happen to me and I was a victim to them. Overtime after my heart had healed from the traumatic events in my youth, I understand why it happened and what I learned, but that took much reflection and healing. Being raised in so much drama, I would unconsciously create it, even when it wasn’t present. I would make things more dramatic than they needed to be. If life felt ordinary I would create unease through my complaining or my inability to let it go. I was addicted to the highs and the lows. That is really all I knew…. Until now.

I believed that life was a struggle and I had to struggle to survive.

Examine the piece of your life

If you were to create a pie chart of the most important elements in your life, how would you organize it?

Career- work- money

Love- relationships

Family-home

Health-self care

Adventure- play

When I look back on my life at 35 years old, there was always a piece of the pie that was lacking something. I needed to be doing more in order to balance it, is what I thought.

I believed I was unworthy of being happy and that I couldn’t have all the pieces of my life pie to be balanced… Until now

Notice the drama

Have you heard the phrase no news is good news? Even when I say that it seems so boring. The routine of life, the same day to day seems so ordinary. Humans are creatures of habit and often choose to keep their lives exactly the same every day to prevent stress to occur in their normal daily activities. Why?

Life has so many unforeseen stresses and circumstances. It feels easier to keep the day to day normal. Then what happens when that becomes consistent? The mind will create some sort of drama. Your attention moves to the things you don’t like, it focuses on what you can’t let go, even though it’s happening. You keep thinking about what that person did and how terrible they are and how you are a victim just to bring some excitement to your everyday.

Let go of the pictures, accept what is

Can you admit to yourself that you may be the cause of your own suffering? When you focus on all the things that are wrong with you or your life? I have noticed that much of the drama I have created in my life is because I have these pictures I am projecting into my reality of what I ‘think’ needs to be happening right now. The reason things are not happening as you have imagined have a multitude of reasons. Can you let go of pictures of what you think you need or want to allow yourself to see that what is happening is a gift?

What to do instead

My father use to tell me don’t sweat the small stuff and everything is the small stuff. If you were to look back on your life a year or two from now would the drama you are creating in your reality matter then?

Focus on seeing the ordinary, balanced pie of your life as extraordinary. Reveal in the beauty of people and nature. Trust in Divine timing that life and source support your highest. Notice the synchronicity the web of relationship that is constantly being weaved. See the mundane routine of life as enough. Believe that you are worthy of happiness and everything you desire. Let go of the victim role and blame, the yogi is the path of the warrior. Notice how far you have come from where you have been. Take life day by day. See, feel and know that your life is a gift, just the way that it is. That every breath and everything that you do and that happens to you is a miracle. You are a blessing in the greater bounty of life. That you are magnificent. That your life is extraordinary. If you can’t say that over and over and believe it, then make some sort of change to live the life you desire, but let go of attachment to the results. Enjoy the middle path, the road of being neutral.

Deepen Your Internal Practice

Deepen Your Internal Practice

Dec 2017

Being spiritual has nothing to do with what you believe and everything to do with your state of consciousness.-Eckhart Tolle

The real purpose of Asana

The physical postures that are know in the West as “practice”, is a means of preparation.  Preparing the body to sit still to observe what’s there.  The body is so tight from over doing physical activity and not resting enough.  It is also very tired from sitting all day in front of computers and not resting enough.  Humans are so distracted by the external environment that they have no relationship to observing what’s happening inside.  The ability to concentrate is diminishing, let alone the ability to begin to witness the differences from: sensations, thoughts, energy, held emotions or energies, etc.  The asana practice becomes a platform of establishing a witnessing state of consciousness as well as purifying the body to learn how to concentrate the mind’s attention. 

The Process of Moving Deeper Inside

The 8-limb path provides a guideline on how to move into a more holistic, awareness in one’s life.  It begins with the yama and niyamas the yogi’s ethics and how we work in the world and relate to others.  The third limb is a learning how to move, stretch and strengthen the body with control.  The fourth limb is controlling the breath in a conscious rhythmic fashion that calms the nervous system and moves the vital life force energy.  The fifth limb teaches about sense withdrawal and deepening the 5 sense organs inside. The last three limbs are concentration, uninterrupted concentration (meditation) and absorption in meditation where union with the divine is perceived. 

How do we practice concentration?

Y.S 1.17

Vitarka Vichara Ananda Asmita Rupa Anugamat Samprajnatah

 

Due to the nature of the object of focus the first stage of spiritual absorption, known as samprajnata samadhi is four-fold: 
 

 Stages of attention: Attention develops in stages:

  1. Attention may wander here and there, whether externally observing through the senses, or internally observing the stuff of the mind. There are seemingly countless objects that can be observed by "me" as the observer (that "me" is actually a false identity, which is systematically being explored so as to uncover the true Self).

  2. Concentration comes from attention and means that the attention is focused on one object, though the concentration may be interrupted, and is thus temporary. There is still an observer, who is doing the process of observing, and an object that is being observed.

  3. Meditation is a state of constant attention, where in the concentration is not broken by those other distractions. There continues to be an observer observing an observed object. (There is no specific time limit that discriminates between concentration and meditation.)

  4. Samadhi is absorption, which occurs when the observer, the process of observing, and the observer all three seem to collapse into one, wherein there seems to be only the object in existence.

Allow the depth of the experience to happen over time and practice.

A deeper exploration of meditation

All objects are in one of four stages: Virtually all types, styles, methods, or objects of meditation are included in one of the four stages:

With an object of meditation:

1.     Savitarka: meditation relates to concentration on a gross object while still accompanied with other activities of the mind. It involves the co-mingling of three things: the object itself, the word or name we give to the object, and knowledge related to the object. There are many different gross objects on which one might meditate at the Savitarka level.

2.    Savichara: meditation relates to subtle objects, after the gross have been left behind. It is a deeper exploration involving the subtleties of matter and the subtleties of the senses. There are far fewer choices of subtle objects on which to meditate. As stated in the Yoga Sutras, at some point, "the knowables become few All of the complexity is seen to emerge from simplicity. 

3.    Sananda: meditation emphasizes the still subtler state of bliss in meditation. In this state, the concentration is free from the gross and subtle impressions that were at the levels of Savitarka and Savichara. 

4.    Sasmita: meditation focuses on I-ness, which is even subtler, as it relates to the I that is behind, or witness to all of the other experiences. 

Meditation on the subtle: It is very important to reflect on the principle of meditation on the subtle elements. Meditation at this stage means that you are dealing with the very building blocks of all of the objects on which you might meditate in their gross form. You are focusing not only with objects normally seen to be external (the things of the world stored as memories in the mind), but also the very instruments (such as senses and mind) by which those objects are experienced. In this way, it becomes increasingly possible to attain non-attachment to the whole realm of gross matter, along with their subtle counterparts and the mind itself.

Like driving through cities on a highway: When you are driving your car in a rural area it may seem quiet and peaceful. As you approach a city, there is an ever-increasing activity, with more and more people. In the heart of the city, it is thriving with sights and sounds, people and objects of this or that kind. When you pass through the center of the city the process reverses, as the activity seems to gradually recede behind you, as you move through the city. On your journey down the highway, towards your destination, you approach cities, experience them, and drive through them.

The inner journey is like that too, as you approach a level of inner activity, experience it, and then move through to the next. The goal is realization, direct experience of the absolute reality, the objectless center of consciousness, whose nature is of peace, happiness, and bliss, though truly indescribable. On that journey inward, few are able to go directly to that realization, and must move into, experience, and then transcend the levels of inner reality or mind, that are along the way. This is the process being described in this sutra.

Simplicity, like a ball point pen: Yoga Sutras has a beautiful simplicity to it, Attention can absorb in gross objects or subtle objects. Like clicking on a ball point pen, one can come outward, like the little container of ink. When attention is outward, the subtler levels are still there, underneath or interior, doing their work to provide consciousness itself with experience of the gross. With another click, the pen part retracts back into the body of the pen. When attention retracts from the gross, there is no gross experienced. Then, the subtle is experienced. When attention retracts again, that subtle experience falls away. Then, there is the experience of joy or bliss, as none of the activity, distractions, attractions or aversions (whether gross or subtle) are experienced. Yet, there is still an I-ness doing something called experiencing. There is an experiencer experiencing an "other." With one more click of the pen, attention retracts past even that bliss, so that all there is, is the I-ness itself. Consciousness is still operating through that individuation, but that's another story. Beautifully simple.

 

The Teacher-student principle

The Teacher-student principle

Nov 2017

Guru Brahma

Guru Vishnu

Guru Devo Maheshwaraha

Guru Saakshat

Para Brahma

Tasmai Shree Gurave Namaha

 

Guru is the representative of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the Hindu Trinity- Trimurti. He creates, sustains knowledge and destroys the weeds of ignorance. I salute such a Guru.

 

Om Dattatreya Vidmahe

Av- dhoothaaya Dhimahi

Thanno Datta Prachodayath

Om Guru Datta Namo Namah

Om Gurudevay Vidmahe

 

Lord Dattatreya is considered as the incarnation of the Hindu triad Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in one form. He is represented with three heads signifying the unity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the Hindu triad of gods. Dattatreya is the personification of all gods, prophets, saints and yogis. He is the Guru of all gurus.

What are the qualities of a good teacher?

Someone that has put time and energy to cultivate knowledge on a particular subject. A teacher studies the subject matter at hand and strives to deliver the information in a way that is simple and effective. A teacher is passionate about the students learning and applying the material that is presented. Yoga or spiritual teacher is teaching from experience. Book knowledge is important, but once it turns into a way of living it becomes wisdom. When a teacher is living from experience the difference is tangible, you feel their teachings. Therefore, a teacher doesn’t need to preach. There isn’t a right or wrong way that needs to be convinced. Rather the teacher shines the light of awareness into a subject and asks the student to contemplate their own experience. The teacher teaches because the desire to assist others is strong. Not for ego inflation but from a space of compassion. The teacher is humble in the sense that they have been through enough to help others and that they still have more to learn. A yoga teacher teaches from the heart. Teachers can take the seat of the sage on the stage, where their awakening seems unattainable, therefore creating a sense of separation. There is the guide on the side that helps the student see that the path is open for all, what the teacher has realized the student can also, the union that is Yoga.

Guru

The guru is the term for a spiritual teacher, usually in the form of Buddhist or Hindu religion. It is an endearing term for a mentor who has assisted the student on their path towards awareness of Spirit and liberation from suffering.

Gu is defined as all the icky, sticky, dark, messy stuff that is clouding your perception of seeing yourself clearly.

Ru is the ability to remove. Remove the darkness so the light can shine through.

So, the guru, Ru’s the gu. The teacher is the remover of the darkness and the reminder of the light. It is said that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. It is also said that the teacher has students when they have done enough spiritual work to be of service. Inspiration and transformation can come in many forms. It can be the spiritual teacher or it can be that relationship, illness, or experience that has forced you to shift your perception and look at the circumstance in a way that helps you evolve.

Cleanse the lens, Remove the dust

Why is it that teachers, mentors or leaders are needed in life? Past experience and memories leave impressions in the psyche. They are called samkaras. These impressions force us to act in the present from our past. These impressions cloud our judgment and perception from seeing a situation or ourselves clearly. The reactions we take in our lives can be of the feelings of doubt, fear and insecurity that we once felt before. We all need reminders of our light. Life has or can be hard and when those samkaras remain intact we forget the potential of our being. Gurus guide to see what you have forgotten. The practices of yoga are continuously clearing the dust, removing the gu and creating space so your inner light can shine. It’s like a lampshade over a light bulb. Your spirit- soul- Atman- Purusha is the light bulb that is covered by all your life experience- the lampshade- that you have not yet realized or let go of. The practices become a constant exploration to decipher what is a samskara and what is the Truth of your existence, that is Eternal and right now.

Your Inner Light

When you know, feel and sense this aspect of yourself you can lean into it guiding you. The ego- ahamkara, feels like a struggle. When it leads your life, it feels resistant, discontent, indecisive and tumultuous. It seems like you need to be right. Blame others, gain something which can create separation. Your inner light is a direct reflection of the Divine guiding you. When you are aligned to that guide, it feels like trust and surrender. You believe that your choices will bring the appropriate result. Not a result you want, so to say, but the one that is necessary for your liberation. Being guided by your own light just feels good, there is no conflict. This is your inner intelligence- Buddhi. It comes from the root word Bud- like Buddha, the enlightened one. The teachings and your practice become a way of living that you experience, not just a concept you have learned. You are aligned with your own inner guidance.

Be your Own Best Teacher

Teachers of any kind are designed to help you see that you need no one else to learn to trust yourself. You are not going to rely on the teacher your whole life. It is said the teacher surpasses the student, inevitably. At some point, you get to the place where you can learn anything from anyone but you know that the inner light that is guiding you is the High. When you know, you are your own best teacher you can see the lessons you are learning from everyone, everything. Everything becomes your teacher. The teacher in you humbly bows to be the student, in all things. This inner guru sees that we can learn anything from anyone and we are also the reflection of light to others. Life becomes this dynamic exchange of teaching each other to see our true nature. What a gift.

 

AUM- Experience beyond Definition

AUM- Experience beyond Definition

Oct 2017

In the beginning was the word and the word was God

The Bible

The most ancient and primordial sound that was the first to emerge from the universe.  Said to be the sound of the universe, but what does that mean?

Om is an opportunity for you to connect to what Divinity is for you. 

Why OM

The sound of OM is often coupled with either opening or closing of a yoga class. Most don’t know what it means or why we chant it.

It can be thought of as a unifying force, drawing individuals into the realization of oneness, that is Yoga.

It can be thought of like a big exhale, a reset button, a letting go.

It can be a prayer, a blessing for your heart’s highest intention as well as that for everyone.

Om is said to be an internal experience that cannot be explained. To try to explain it would be taking away the meaning, much like the experience of samadhi or nirvana.

Om combines language, sound and vibration in one. It is spoken in the Sanskrit language which is a vibrational language. It is more about the energetic quality of the sounds rather than the meaning or pronunciation. We humans have such logical minds. Our intentions become more powerful when we think we know, as opposed to just feeling. Om is one of the most known, used, ancient and sacred mantras of all. It has vast meaning, yet encompasses the nothingness that exists in everything.

Y.S 1.27 tasya vAcakAh praNavaH

The sacred word designating this creative source is the sound OM, called pranava, which means humming.  When I think of people humming, I think of a conncetion to one’s inherent joy. 

OM is a direct path

Remembering the sound vibration of AUM, along with a deep feeling of what it represents, brings both the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles that normally block that realization.

This practice is like a shortcut; in that it goes directly to the heart of the process.

Breaking down OM

The different sounds vibrate in different parts of the body and represent: the 3 stages of consciousness, the Trimurti (3 fold, masculine Hindu trinity) and the gunas (the operating principles in all of the universe).

 A - pronounced AHHHHHH

The sound is made in the back of the throat, lips and jaw relaxed

Vibrates in the belly/navel

Represents earth, birth, creation

Brahma-creator

Jagrat sleeping state

Raja guna

U - pronounced as OOOOOO

The sound is made in the mouth

Vibrates in the heart

Represents the present moment, now, all of life itself

Vishnu- the maintainer

Swapna- waking state

Satvva guna

M - pronounced MMMMM

The sound is made with the lips and tongue to roof of mouth

Vibrates at the top of the head

Represents heaven and death

Shiva- the destroyer

Shusupti- dream state

Tamas guna

OM and the states of Consciousness

There are either 4 main states of consciousness. 3 main states of consciousness and one of superconsciousness. These states correspond to the physical symbol of AUM, as well as the vibrational chanted Om.

Jagrat: Waking state

The state where time and space prevail and we identify with our sense of I (ahamkara.)

This is an outwardly directed state, based around an external world.

This is the state where we are entrenched in the maya (illusion) or avidya (ignorance.)

Swapna: Dream state, or REM

Time and space also prevail here, but in a warped sense.

An inwardly directed state, but also based around impressions from the external world experienced during waking.

Sushupti : Deep sleep state

There is no time or space.

We are unconscious, and can only be aware of having been in this state by the results afterward of feeling refreshed and nourished.

Accessing this state is essential for physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Turiya : Superconscious state

There is no time or space.

We identify with the oneness of being.

This state lacks the duality of either wakefulness or sleeping, conscious or unconscious, inward or outward, aware or unaware, and is all of it and none of it at the same time.

Oneness of being.

Sound fades into nothing Silence Turiya Absolute

Om is the imperishable word. Om is the universe, and this is the exposition of om. The past, the present and the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be is om. Likewise, all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time,

That too is om.

-Mandukya Upanishad

Y.S 1.23 Ishvara praNidhAnAd vA

From a special process of devotion and letting go into the creative source from which we emerged (ishvara pranidhana), the coming of samadhi is

Imminent.

From this devotion one discovers their personal name and form of God.

Ishvara- Creative source, pure consciousness, purusha, God, supreme Guru/teacher

Pranidhana- Practicing the presence, sincerity, dedication, devotion, surrender of the fruits of practice

Through the sincere, dedicated, and devoted practice towards the pure consciousness purusha, God, or guru, which is symbolized by AUM, the results of samadhi come more quickly.

In the Upanishads, the word Ishvara is used to denote a state of collective consciousness.

 Y.S 1.25 Tatra Niratishayam Sarvajna bijam

In that pure consciousness of Ishvara the seed of omnipresence and omnipotence is obtained. That is pure in that it is free from karma and the kleshas.

Y.S 1.28 Tat Japah Tat Artha Bhavanam

It is important to remember all the meanings of Om as you chant it. Not repeating in an automatic, unconscious manner.

Cultivate a relationship

Every time you chant om it is an opportunity for you to consider what your name and form of God is and what that relationship means to you. Om can awaken a devotion to this relationship, it can be a place that reflects the utmost high within you. If you don’t have a personal name and form of God, Om can start to open the invitation to that relationship. Whatever your intention is when you Om, the inevitable reality is that one day the importance of this relationship will start to awaken inside of you.

Knowing means nothing

Although it is important to explore the meanings of Om, it is in your hearts experience that you will receive the most insight. Attaining knowledge and cultivating intelligence is essential, but when knowledge learned is experienced we live in a state of inner wisdom that inspires and guides through life.