Physical Balance

In my last post I wrote generally about balance of body, mind, and emotions.  This time I want to focus on creating physical balance. In hatha yoga, we begin with the physical body because it is the part of ourselves that we can see, touch, use, feel, experience. Keep in mind that any benefit gained in one are (physical, mental, or emotional) produces greater well-being in all.

Beginning with the physical is wise as well as practical.  Calming the mind or emotions, for example, can be impossible if the body chemistry is out of wack. For example, I was in my late twenties when the medical world came up with the  concept of PMS (premenstrual syndrome).  It was a significant breakthrough for women because with identification comes information on how to create balance within the experience.

I read everything I could get my hands on, which actually wasn’t much.  This was pre-internet so magazine, books, talk shows were the best source for current information.  I began paying attention and realized that excessive caffeine, sugar, salt, and a lack of exercise and rest intensified my mental and emotional ups and downs for a week before menses onset as well as the week during as well. That is half of every month!!  As I learned to limit the intake of these foods while walking more (and eventually joining the new rage of jogging), mood swings lessened significantly. I slept better, thought more clearly and joyfully experienced a lessening of the intensity of cramping and headaches.  Life was oh-so-much better!

This experience opened my mind to the idea of the interaction of body, mind, and emotions.  Over the years I have discovered what best keeps me in balance.  I am now post-menopausal so that is no longer an issue.  Now there are other physical issues, like keeping a healthy blood sugar balance because I have a tendency toward hypoglycemia, monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.

Do I have a formula to offer you?  Nope.

I do have a few suggestions.

Pay attention to:  your physical energy levels with relationship to different types of food,  how you digest different foods.  For example, I noticed in my late thirties that raw onions were no longer something I could digest well.  If you aren’t sure how to evaluate your diet for your age, general condition, etc. perhaps your doctor can refer you to a reliable nutritionist.  It helped me immensely.

Ask yourself simple questions and look at the answers honestly and without judgement:  Do I eat regularly throughout the day so that my energy stays steady?  Am I willing to let go of things that undermine balance and health – like an overabundance of sodas or sweets?  Do I eat more fresh foods that processed foods?  Have I learned to read labels?  Do I get enough rest or am I regularly running myself into the ground?  Have I found a form of exercise that suits my lifestyle and current physical condition?  Do I make time for that a sufficient number of times each week?  Am I willing to try something that is out of my comfort zone, like yoga, meditation, or tai chi?

Talk to people who stay fit, laugh a lot and enjoy their lives.  Never hesitate to ask for guidance or help with creating a balanced, healthy life.

Keep on keepin’ on until new behaviors become part of your normal routine.  You deserve to feel good and enjoy life.

Try stuff.  If something isn’t a fit for you, try something else.  There is no one way that works for everyone.  You get to choose but choose you must.

Above all, find what works for you.

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Seeking Balance

Human beings are designed for balance.  Homeostasis is the natural mechanism that functions 100% of the time to establish and maintain balance.  It is an automatic and wonderfully complex process.  Mental and emotional balance are part of homeostasis because there is no separation among the body, mind, and emotions. What affects one, affects all – whether that effect is toward health and wholeness or dis-ease and imbalance. I can enhance balance by my lifestyle choices, making it easier for my body to achieve balance and wholeness. I can exhaust it when my lifestyle choices undermine the process.

I can raise my own awareness by asking myself these questions:  Am I helping or hurting myself?  What are the patterns in my life?  What do I want to experience? Do the choices I make in any given moment support or undermine my fundamental desires?

Have you known someone who is faced with overwhelming life challenges and yet remains loving, kind and able to find joy in small ways? Do you wonder where they find the strength to go on? Is it possible their level of self-awareness is a major factor?

Have you ever known someone who consistently creates chaos while bemoaning their fate and wishing for a more peaceful, happy life?  Do you wonder why nothing ever goes their way? Is it possible their level of self-awareness is a major factor?

My observation is that both people, consciously or not,  are seeking balance.  What we need to understand is that this balance comes from within our beings, not from the circumstances outside of us. It emanates from our personal choices moment-by-moment. The results f those choices hinge on the level of our self-awareness, our consciousness.

So, if a person is chaotic within themselves, they will manifest chaos outside themselves because, to them, this feels like balance. And they are right. What they experience inside and outside is in balance but this does not create peace and contentment.

If a person is balanced and peaceful within themselves, they will manifest balance and peace outside themselves because, to them, this feels like balance.  And they are right. What they experience inside and out is in balance and it does create peace and contentment.

The difference is that one achieves a healthy balance and one does not.  Remember that balance is not a static state.  Even the healthiest balance waivers now and then. The question is “What am I creating and how am I living the majority of the time?”

Life is not about perfection.  It is about balance and harmony and wholeness.

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.

Enough Already!

Is anyone else as weary as I am of the fighting and squabbling? Do we not live in the United States of America? Do we not elect our leaders?

Are we communicating with those we elect or are we just arguing and demanding that everyone agree with our personal point of view? How is that working out in Washington?

So, I’m asking each of you to take a breath. Then contact those who represent you on the national, state, and local levels. Express your views and vision for your community and our nation without bashing those who think differently than you do. Support them in working as Americans, across party lines to find solutions NOW.

This country has done it before and it can do it now…but we must stop going after each other and start going after reasonable answers instead. Please join me in praying, meditating, seeking wisdom and then living in that wisdom to bring healing to our communities and our nation. And let’s begin by creating healing and peace in our own lives to begin the process.

Thank you, catherine.

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.)

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