The Point of Balance

From “Zen Cards” by Daniel Levin:

The center is not always the point of balance. When you find that place where Balance is achieved, peace will result in all situations. There is no conflict, for everything rests without strain.

As I read this, I wonder…..then I pick up an un-sharpened No. 2 pencil. I lay it across one finger at its center point and  it falls off. Of course it does. The eraser end is heavier than the writing end. I move its resting point toward the eraser end. It balances.

So what? Well, balance is essential to our wellbeing. Healthy diet, reasonable amounts of exercise, fresh air, sleep, and the meeting of other physical needs keeps the body in balance. Attention to these things benefits our physical wellbeing. Many of these things are also necessary for mental and emotional balance, and thus, wellbeing. Too much sugar and not enough sleep directly affect how we react/respond to daily life. These two things can throw our mental/ emotional balance off very quickly.

I am thinking and writing about these things because I have been assessing my own habits in light changes in my own life. I want to be stronger, more active, continue to learn, grow, and serve. I am finding what works for me and I am inviting you to sit with these ideas now and then and see if you can discern your own needs in ways that create more balance, energy, happiness, and joy for you.

Blessings of Love and Light💫💖🙏

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Emotional Balance

Emotional balance has been unfolding in my life for 50 years.  One of the biggest hurdles has been letting go of the belief that my emotions define me; that I am what I am currently feeling.  I now define emotion as: e-motion = energy in motion.  When I am experiencing a specific emotion, I realize that it is energy moving through my entire being.  It is energy that has been given a name such as happiness, sorrow, anger, etc.  Remembering this helps me release judgement about the nature of that energy.  Energy is energy; it is neither good nor bad; it just is.

As practices for the body and mind (yoga, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, fresh air, loving friends, etc.) have become consistent in my life, my emotions have become more consistent as well.  For the most part, my emotions fit what I am experiencing in the moment.  When each of my parents died, I was deeply sad and grieved.  I was also profoundly grateful that I was with them in their transitions. I was proud to be their daughter. I was also grateful for everything they had given me over the years.  So many emotions flowed during those times and I felt them all. Intense and fulfilling all at once.

In releasing judgement, I view these experiences in terms of intensity.  Seldom is overwhelming happiness described as bad, yet it is every bit as intense as sorrow and can be just as exhausting.  My granddaughter’s birth was so intensely joyful that there were times I didn’t sleep very well.  There were times when I quietly cried for happy.  Intense.

On the other end of the spectrum, I choose not to take in news about things like child abuse because the depth of anger I feel on behalf of these innocents is almost frightening to me.  But is anger always “bad?”  Not in my opinion, because there are many people who have been inspired to acts of bravery because of the anger that arises within them.  Anger and frustration with things I had allowed or created in my life have given me the courage to make very difficult changes.  Intense.

Intensity is seldom comfortable, which is why these energies are judged as bad or unhealthy.  The key, is – guess what? – balance!  It makes more sense to realize that imbalance in the emotional body creates confusion and can be destructive than to set the goal of never feeling these things.  When I feel angry, can I allow myself to be in it in a way that leads me to action, forgiveness or compassion?  If so, I will quickly return to peace and tranquility.  My actions will be appropriate to the situation and to my desire and intention to live lovingly and compassionately.  It is when I avoid and stuff or hide my feelings that my behavior becomes inappropriate and possibly destructive.

Balance is the key. Here are a few reasonable goals:  Feel without being thrown against the wall by the intensity of emotions. Be willing to sit with the discomfort in order to remember that energy in motion does not define me; it is something you are experiencing in the moment.  It will diminish, shift, transform because that is the nature of energy.  Embrace the experience for what it is:  a human experience that does not change or define your True Self, a spiritual being. Be patient and remember that it takes time and maturity to come into this awareness in every aspect of your being: physical, mental, emotional.  You don’t have to change everything at once.  You don’t have to fight yourself and judge yourself.  You do not have to be perfect.  You can be in this moment, experience it, and be all that you are.  You can unfold into True Self as naturally as a healthy tree matures and produces perfect fruit.

One of my favorite responses to myself when I explode into emotional intensity and catch myself in the midst of it is:    Well, Catherine Ann, welcome to the human race!

 

Contentment

What is the difference between contentment and happiness?

It is rather simple:  happiness is a response to circumstances outside myself and contentment is a growing or enduring sense of wellbeing and joy within.

I experience happiness when I receive a call from a friend I haven’t spoken with in years or when one of my children or grandchildren gives me a hug or makes me laugh.

I have been growing in contentment for 45 years.  Contentment is that state of being I find in the very core of my being.  Life can be raging all around me but when I stop for just a moment and turn my awareness within I find peace and tranquility.

Where does it come from?  I believe it simply is; it is my natural state of being. The process of “finding” it is really trusting that it is my true nature, learning to experience it, and living from that inner peace rather than letting life bounce me off the walls.

7 Days, 7 Cosmic Laws, 7 Mantras

The following list is directly taken from a handout I received last Fall when I attended Seduction of Spirit at The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. All of this is explored in more detail in Deepak Chopra’s book titled The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, published in 1994. It speaks to success in every area of life. Note: “cosmic law” refers to the universe operating in alignment with the Divine purposes in creation.

Sunday: Law of Pure Potentiality.    Mantra: Om Bhavam Namah (I am absolute existence.)

Monday: Law of Giving and Receiving.    Mantra: Om Vardhanam Namah (I am the nourisher of the universe and the universe nourishes me.

Tuesday: Law of Karma or Cause and Effect.    Mantra: Om Kriyam Namah (My actions are aligned with cosmic law.)

Wednesday: Law of Least Effort.     Mantra: Om Daksham Namah (My actions achieve maximum benefit with minimal effort.)

Thursday: Law of Intention and Desire.    Mantra: Om Ritam Namah (My intentions and desires are supported by cosmic law.)

Friday: Law of Detachment.    Mantra: Om Anandham Namah (My actions are blissfully free from attachment to outcome.

Saturday: Law of Dharma or Purpose in Life.    Mantra: Om Varunam Namah (My life is in harmony with cosmic law.)

Peace Is SO Worth It

The longer I live and practice meditation the more convinced I am that it is the most sure path to Divine Love, Peace, and those are the essence of Enlightenment.

Most of you are familiar with this outer from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken:”

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-

I took the one less traveled by.

And that road has made all the difference.

The practice (remember that practicing is doing something faithfully and consistently until it becomes natural to you) of meditation is one of the roads less traveled. It requires a change in one’s daily routine as well as the insight and willingness to retrain the mind. I find thinking in terms of being consistent, rather than telling myself to “get it right,” allows my Soul to invite me to sit in silence regularly.  As my practice becomes more consistent, the benefits flow more regularly and clearly,

For example, meditation supports my spiritual path of non-judgement. It encourages my heart and mind to see that others are like me: spiritual beings figuring out how to be human. The reading I am drawn to more and more guides me into higher understanding of truths I have known for decades. I also encounter beautiful thoughts and phrases that carry me through the challenges of human life.

One of the core teachings concerning creating a successful life is to become aware of where I put my attention in any given situation. As a result, I became aware that, in the past, I used to take the role of a victim when I was hurting. If only that other person had taken better care of me, been kinder, etc. My years of Hatha yoga and meditation helped me be more honest about my responsibility in almost every situation.

This morning I read a verse in the Dhammapada that made my heart open. It is a verse intended to bring awareness to what I can be doing, not an invitation to turn judgement inward….assessment rather than judgement is the key. I realized that focusing more deeply on the meditation side of yoga has internalized a key truth and that I am beginning to truly live it!

Do not give your attention to what others do or fail to do; give it to what you do or fail to do. (Verse 50)

The result? PEACE of mind and body as well as the deepest awareness of Divine Love that I have ever known. 🙏🏻📿

Oh yes, dear hearts, that PEACE that passeth understanding is SO worth every ounce of effort, every moment I have taken a seat to be still. Please don’t give up. You deserve to live in peace. 💫💖

Train Rather Than Control

Gautama the Buddha, in the opening of his work titled The Dhammapada, states

Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.

In this work, the Buddha sets forth a path to joy in simple, succinct verses. So many of our challenges in this human experience stem from how we think about experiences and people. The conditioned mind can make it difficult to discern and embrace the Truth of Who We Are.

In the section of The Dhammapada titled “Thought,” the Buddha says

Hard it is to train the mind, which goes where it wants and does what it wants. But a trained mind brings health and happiness. The wise can direct their thoughts, subtle and elusive, wherever they choose: a trained mind brings health and happiness. (Translated by Eknath Easwaran)

As you probably know, trying to control the mind, the thoughts is fruitless. What works is learning to train the mind to dwell on those things that lift the heart…in the present moment. Everything before now is gone, the past is a memory. Everything to come is unknown. This moment is known. Please seek your well-being moment by moment, breath by breath, thought by thought.

The most powerful tool for training the mind into the moment, and eventually into thought-less moments, is meditation. Simple, clear, gentle times of meditation that lead you into the stillness within where your Soul awaits your awareness.

Blessings dear hearts. AUM SHANTI