Balance

Here is my first blog entry from September, 2014. I thought it might be fun to revisit some of these while I am preparing for certification as a Chopra Center Educator. Enjoy my journey and may it inspire you on your own!

I was the mother of two young children when I was in my late 20’s. The importance of maintaining personal balance (physical, mental, emotional) quickly became apparent to me. My spouse was military and we were living in Goose Bay, Labrador. It was 1972 so information and resources were scarce in remote places.

Without family nearby or even easily accessible by phone, my participation in bible studies and prayer groups led me to women with more life experience. Their friendship and guidance helped me begin to discover the things that would bring me into a healthier, more balanced way of life.

Many years later I discovered hatha yoga, which surprisingly met a spiritual need that seemed to have no answer. I had read about and tried to meditate but was not able to achieve the deep, lasting results others reported. In yoga I learned that body chemistry, especially imbalances, keep the mind and emotions from settling down and this can make meditation frustrating and unfruitful.

The very essence of hatha yoga is balance. “Yoga” is similar in meaning to the word “yoke.” Draft animals often work in pairs and come into harmony and balance through the use of a yoke. When they are equally yoked, they can move as one and achieve the work set before them.  In yoga we seek that balance and harmony of body, mind, and emotions that allows us to be one with ourselves and others.

Hatha yoga defines this more specifically. “Ha” means “sun” and “tha” means “moon.”  These represent the yin (feminine) and yang (masculine) aspects of life. In hatha yoga, the physical practice (asanas or postures), combined with breathwork (pranayama) and mindfulness, bring the practioner into personal balance and harmony. When I am in harmony with myself, it is more likely that I will be in harmony with others.

For me, one of the early gifts of my practice was the quietness that began to emerge in my thoughts and feelings. I found that I could actually sit in stillness, without restlessness or circular thinking. After 15 years of searching, something was working for me!

The Rhythm of the Universe

All parts of creation are linked together and interchange their influences. The balanced rhythm of the universe is rooted in reciprocity.

Man is Soul, and has a body.when he properly places his sense of identity, he leaves behind  all compulsive patterns.

God is Harmony;  The devotee who attunes himself will never perform any action amiss…After  deep prayer and meditation he is in touch with his divine consciousness; there is no greater power than that inward protection.

… Man must satisfy the laws of nature, while not discrediting the define omnipotence. He should say: “Lord, I trust in Thee, and know Thou can help me, but I too will do my best to undo any wrong I have done.”

Quotes taken from Autobiography of a Yogi, pp 182-183, (13th edition, 1998), by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Synchronicity

I love when stuff like this happens:

I set my intention for today – “Today I live my Truth in Grace.”

Then I went to the Chopra Center web site and read the Daily Inspiration – “My future depends mostly upon myself.”  Paul Roberson

 

These two thoughts have a beautiful synchronicity in my mind because I believe this moment gives birth to the next. Fulfilling my intention for today directly affects my tomorrows.

Love and Peace.

Daily Habits for Peace

I am passing this on from Deepak Chopra’s website http://chopra.com

7 Days a Week: Daily Habits for Peace

The balance of peace in the world can seem overwhelming, as if huge forces outside your controller in charge. But you can take a different perspective by setting a goal for yourself of creating peace all around you. The worlds wisdom traditions teach that the source of violence, war, discontent, rebellion, and unrest lies inside each of us.  When you become a unit of peace and consciousness, exemplifying the quality known as Ahimsa (harmlessness) in Yoga, you have added a unique way to bring in the world to a state of peace.

Develop your pease consciousness by focusing on a different have it every day of the week.

Monday: Habit #1-Being Calm and Centered 

Peace is the natural state of the mind at its deepest level. Non-peace begins in small ways, when you are worried, restless, distracted, uneasy, or dissatisfied. Today be mindful of those signals from your inner world. When you feel them, take a moment to return to your calm space. Either meditating or simply sitting in a quiet space with eyes closed and taking easy, deep breath’s, works very well. Today’s habit is learning how to act upon early signals that peach isn’t there inside.

Tuesday: Habit #2-Non-participation

To be a unit of peace consciousness, don’t participate in the opposite attitude, which magnifies the reasons to be unpeaceful. Today, avoid conversations that include gossip, blame, backbiting, and discussions of how terrible the world is. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, acting as if everything is already perfect. Simply focus on not participating when you can feel that the situation is turning toward anger, resentment, envy, and hostility in any form.

Wednesday: Habit #3-Taking No Side

Peace consciousness wants peace to be equally shared by everyone. This isn’t possible if you take sides, judge against others, or indulge in us-versus-them thinking. Today, be aware of everyone’s right to have peace. When you find yourself reacting with a knee-jerk response against a certain person, group, faith, ethnicity, or belief system, remind your self that you can hold a different viewpoint while still wishing peace for all concerned.

Thursday: Habit #4-The Intention of Peace 

Peace consciousness becomes more powerful as it deepens. One way to deepen your awareness is to put an intention out to the universe, which really means connecting with your higher self. Today, anytime you witness or confront a situation that needs a peaceful resolution, ask inside that the way to peace be opened for everyone. Sit quietly with this intention for a few moments, letting your heart go out to those not at peace.

Friday: Habit #5-Commune in Peace

When people of peace get together, they magnify their consciousness. Today, find a way to commune with someone else who wants peace. This can be through sitting with a child and absorbing his or her innocence, or discussing the topic of peace with the sympathetic person. You might consider joining a group that is working at any level of peace, such as preventing violence or helping troubled teens. Feel the warmth of sharing your peace with others.

Saturday: Habit #6-Selfless Service

Peace consciousness wants to be of service. It does little good to be at peace passively and isolation. Today, allow someone else to feel the peave you have found by being of service. Let yourself experience the kindness, goodwill, and compassion you can bring to a troubled situation. Your service can be as modest as visiting the elderly or as active as joining a community outreach project. Your aim is to give and receive at the level of peace that benefits both people at the same time.

Sunday: Habit #7-The Soul’s Peace

At the deepest level, there is infinite peach. Undisturbed by the play of opposites and the clash of darkness versus light. From the soul’s perspective, there is only pure Being. Today, take time to meditate on your true nature as unbounded love, compassion, reverence for life, and unity with the divine presence. See the light expanding from your heart in all directions.  Let simply being here be enough.

Soak up the beauty of Nature and realize that you are an indispensable part of the journey to enlightenment that lies ahead for everyone who steps onto the path. Just as there is only one state of pure Being, there is only one peace, which blesses every person equally.

In The Stillness

In the stillness

there is clarity

there is wisdom

there is guidance

there is peace

there is love

there is joy

there is oneness

there is wholeness

In the stillness

I know who I am

Personal Meditation Practice

So, I have not been feeling satisfied with my personal meditation practice the last few months. How are you feeling about yours? I enjoy guided meditation and continue to use the one I have from Deepak Chopra (http://Chopra.com) for restful sleep. It is sitting in the silence that has not deepened and expanded for me recently…and I need that connection with All That Is that I experience in the stillness!!

So, here is what I have done to nurture my ability to meditate in a way that connects me deeply with the Divine Presence in All That Is:

First, I called a trusted friend and shared what I was feeling about my practice. As I shared, she quietly laughed, not quite to herself. As it turned out, she had been thinking about calling me to share the same thing! We both have been meditating and participating in spiritual communities for about 30 years and we feel stuck. We decided to meet and enter meditation together to see if we are compatible in this way, if our energies would blend and flow to support us together and separately in deepening our practices. As it turns out, we are very compatible and now plan to meet once a week for silent meditation.

Second, I visited the app store on my ipad and explored free meditation tools. There are many. I found one that times silent meditation that allows me to design length of time, tones for beginning and ending, as well as interval tones if I so desire.

Third, after having such a positive experience with my friend, I felt ready to renew my personal practice of silent meditation. I used the app for the first time this morning and it is a beautiful addition to my experience. I am excited about rebuilding my practice.

Fourth, I am reminding myself that life changes with the years. The challenges and blessings are different in each life stage. It is wise to evaluate and adjust my practices (yoga, meditation, exercise, food, etc.) to maintain balance and well-being accordingly.

May you be blessed today. Namaste.

Practical Yoga

Hatha Yoga is one of the most practical tools for maintaining balance physically,mentally, and emotionally. And you don’t even have to do the asanas, postures, perfectly to reap its benefits!

For example, when facing one of life’s “battles,” in a relationship, at work, or in your finances, do warrior. Warrior opens the heart and draws the mind into the core of your body. Breathe to your belly slowly and evenly and remember that your strength and wisdom come from within. Take 3-5 breaths on each side, longer if you prefer. Affirmations are useful as you hold. Inhaling I breathe; exhaling I have courage (or I am strong).

Triangle is the posture of openness. Remember, you don’t have to put your forward hand on the floor to gain its benefits. Do triangle at the place where your body feels open in the shoulders and chest, even if your hand goes no lower than your knee. This asana is helpful in relationships. When holding, bring your awareness to the heart center and soften your rib cage. Breathe slowly and evenly and use an affirmation. Inhaling I breathe; exhaling my heart opens to love.

In the natural flow of life, we experience loss in many ways. Grief follows and can be embraced for its ability to enhance compassion and wisdom in our lives. Child pose creates a time and space that feels safe and warm, especially when done over a yoga bolster under a blanket. You can cover your head with the blanket as well if you feel the need to fully withdraw into the fetal position. Again, awareness comes to the breath as it expands into the abdomen and rib cage. Feel your body as it moves with your breath. Let the energy that wants to collect in tightness flow instead. Grief is an intense emotion but letting it flow lightens it. It may leak out your eyes in the form of tears; this is a good thing. Studies have shown that the chemicals in tears change depending on the cause of the tears. The body knows what to let go of!

Hatha yoga is a practical tool. Let yourself feel each asana in a whole new way. Form and alignment are important yet they are not everything. Their purpose is to release energy to flow well and easily and to protect from injury in the practice. The purpose of yoga goes way beyond those things. Open your mind, your body, your heart to new ways of experiencing your practice. Keep it simple and who knows what might unfold.

May our minds and hearts be open. May we continue to unfold into the awareness of True Self. May we live in ease as we discover our peace within.

Namaste.

A New Day

Every day is a new beginning. In the middle of the morning on a most challenging, difficult day (which I was creating all by myself) it occurred to me that a day consisted of 24 hours. Did it really matter which hour started that 24-hour cycle? I went back to bed and rested for a while. When I felt calm and ready, I got up and started a new day! It was a life-changing experience for me. I could begin again whenever I wanted and no one had to know but me.

Another time I found a simple and sweet ritual that I could use to heighten my conscious awareness of how I was beginning the day. I am quoting it from a daily email I was receiving at the time from www.dailyom.com and I would love your comments.

Releasing and Welcoming: Energetic Sweeping

Sweeping the front porch every morning is an important cleansing ritual that prepares the ground for new energy.

In some of our lives, sweeping has become an activity performed without much thought. In many cases, sweeping is a lost art, replaced by the noisy, efficient vacuum cleaner. But in several cultures and religions, sweeping the front and back porch every morning is regarded as an important cleansing ritual that prepares the ground for new energy on every level – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. It is often employed to sanctify a space and prepare it for a ceremony. This seemingly simple action has the power to clear away the old and make space for the new. It stirs up the energy in a place, clearing out the astral buildup that is the natural by-product of the presence of humans.

This kind of sweeping is not about cleaning the area of dust. In fact, the broom doesn’t have to actually touch the ground to be effective. You might want to consider having two different brooms, one you use for cleaning dust and dirt, and one you use for energy clearing. If you are so inspired, you could decorate your broom by carving its handle, painting it, decorating it with gemstones and ribbons, or any other creative adornment that appeals to you. You can make your own broom out of tree branches and twigs, or choose a naturally appearing broom from nature, such as a pine bough.

Sweeping each morning prepares the ground for the new day at the same time as it deepens our awareness of the importance of letting go of the past to welcome the present. As we clear the energy of our space, we clear our own energy systems. In addition, we create a space that feels clean, clear, and open to all who enter. Be sure to think welcoming thoughts as you sweep, manifesting what you need for the day. Making sweeping part of our daily ritual tunes us into the continuing cycle of releasing the old and welcoming the new that is the hallmark of a healthy energy system.

May your day unfold in peace and joy. May you be abundantly blessed for you are a blessing.

Namaste.

This Moment of Peace

This morning I awaken feeling the presence of the love that flows to me through others. I do my morning meditation before leaving my bed and am wrapped in the warmth of that love. I am quiet and peaceful and I know who I am. I am grateful and awed by it all.

I Am All That I Am, the sum total of this life’s journey has brought me to this moment of peace.

I abide in the peace of my Soul. This moment of peace holds me gently and allows me to breathe into my Truth.

I Am All That I Am and I rest in this moment of peace.

Aum shanti shanti shanti.