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

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For Just One Day

For Just One Day:

Choose to turn off the news and ignore social media.

Spend time with friends and laugh a lot.

Experience nature with mindful awareness.

Be at peace with yourself.

During this one day, try this simple meditation. Sit comfortably inside or outside and feel the flow of your breath. Let your breath slow to a comfortable length and say this silently in your mind as you breathe:

Inhaling into the Oneness of All That Is

Exhaling I am peace; I am love.

Lao Tsu on Nonduality

Why did I use so many words the other day?!

Simply see that you are at the center of the universe and accept all things and beings as part of your infinite body. When you perceive that an act done to another is one to yourself, you have understood the great truth.

I have shared this quote before…it merits repeating. With reference to subject/object, it can be said this way:

At the core of all life, the center of the universe, is all life, the infinite body. The subject and the object are one and the same. The subject is the object; the object is the subject.

In The Wee Hours

I wake up and it is 3 a.m. I shuffle into the bathroom and quickly return to my bed, taking a sip of water before climbing back in and nestling down into the covers. I whisper my nighttime mantra, which usually takes me sweetly back to sleep: SA TA NA MA. I hear my clock chime at 3:30. Uh-oh.

Not to worry. I roll onto my back and do a gentle body-awareness meditation that starts in my mouth and travels through my entire body. I seldom make it past my shoulders. As I reach my toes and hear the clock chime 4 a.m. uh-oh becomes a deep sigh. I relax into pranayama (conscious breathing) and decide a guided meditation designed to promote restful sleep is probably the answer. I keep my iPad next to my bed with the meditation ready. I set it up, relax into my pillow and breathe and go for it.

At 5 a.m. I open my windows and let the cool air in. Cicadas are singing and I smile as I decide to meditate on sound and sensation. Turning within I am present and aware of oneness and peace. I rest in each moment not thinking, just being. Slowly I emerge into a more body-aware state and it is just before 6 a.m. It occurs to me that I have been meditating in one way or another for 2 1/2 hours. This thought occurs to me:

Wow! That’s amazing. Does this make me a meditation master?

Nope, but it does mean I can get up frustration-free and remain pleasantly sane through this day!!

Me In The Giant Redwood

Once a long time ago, during an extremely challenging moment in my life, I visited the Redwood Forest in Northern California. Even though I was not alone, everyone grew quiet, as did I, walking the path among the trees. Several were on the ground. I stood next to one that had fallen and, on its side, it was taller than my 5’8″ frame. The quiet soothed my soul, my mind, and my heart. The life force energy of the trees towering above me was palpable and I felt as though I could feel them breathing.

On the path leading back to the parking area, I came upon a Redwood with an opening in its trunk. The opening did not go through the tree. It was inviting and I walked toward it, touching the bark on its sides as I approached. I looked inside and it was clean and had a fresh aroma to it. I stepped inside and felt myself gasp softly. I was standing inside a Redwood tree! The top of the curved opening skimmed my hair as I turned my palms outward to rest against its “skin.” Closing my eyes, I was transported to another level of awareness. I felt the flow of my breath and the beat of my heart – both quiet and gentle. The life force energy of the tree pulsed into my hands and I remember thinking “I can feel you breathing! I can sense the flow of sap, of life running through you!”

I do not know how much time passed. It didn’t matter to me; nothing mattered except the oneness I was experiencing. “I” disappeared as did “Tree.” There was only the One. Later I realized that I had, in those moments, known the truth of non-duality. Everything is one thing.

At one point I knew that, should I so choose, I conly¬†disappear into that tree. The oneness would become a physical reality and I could share life with that tree until it’s years came to an end. I breathed deeply on the brink of full immersion and thought of the depth of oneness with my children. I could feel and see them so clearly in my heart. They would be left without ever knowing what had become of me; they would be told I “disappeared without a trace.” Ahimsa (Do no violence) came to mind, the fundamental principal of my yoga practice. My choice was made: this moment of non-dual bliss must not become the source of such emotional, mental trauma (violence) for my children. With soft tears flowing, I breathed awareness into my own body, my personality, my humanity.

Physically, I walked out of “Tree” and returned to “me.” On every other level, that bond, that sense of oneness, has remained these past 19 years. That day, in the giant Redwood, non-duality evolved from concept to reality. My gratitude abounds for my teacher whom I call “Tree.”

Everything is one thing.

Just Be

As a young wife and mother, I felt overwhelmed at times. We were living in Goose Bay, Labrador and my children were 3 and 1. As an Air Force Wife, I faced most days, many nights, and sometimes weeks or months a a time alone. I wasn’t alone, however. Every woman around me was living the same experience. We came together whether it was at a Wives’ Club meeting, the bowling alley, or the base chapel. I did it all. I found a bible study/prayer group that was loving and supportive and I began to develop a daily spiritual practice.

One of the more mature members of our group taught us about the value of a daily quiet time that included prayer, silence, and journaling. It took a little while but I established the practice of rising before my husband and children, fixing a cup of tea, and just sitting down to enjoy the quiet, the silence, before beginning my day. I learned to take the time to just be. Of course, initially, I made it harder than it needed to be. I tried to create deep, impressive spiritual experiences. Sharing my frustration with one of the women brought a profoundly simple response. She touched my arm and said something like “Catherine, just sit down and be there. Let yourself just be for a few minutes.” My days were hectic and this sounded like heaven so I tried it.

She was right. To sit in silence without needing or trying to accomplish anything was just what I needed. Before long, that first half hour of every day was my oasis, my source of peace. It led to time of deep inspiration as I sought wisdom in raising my children. It brought peace as I realized this was an important part of my path to knowing myself and living my truth.

So today, dear hearts, I invite you to take a seat and just be. May the love and light that you are shine through the body, mind and heart you currently occupy. Hurray!

Sit Quietly

Sit Quietly and Breathe Slowly

On each breath, use the following mantras: pick one you resonate with this today or say them one after the other for as long as you desire to be still.

Inhale Love, Exhale Peace

Inhale Love, Exhale Freedom

Inhale Love, Exhale Compassion

Inhale Love, Exhale Comfort

Inhale Love, Exhale Wisdom

Inhale Love, Exhale Silence

Inhale Love, Exhale Oneness

Inhale Love, Exhale Balance

Inhale Love, Exhale Laughter

Inhale Love, Exhale Forgiveness

Inhale Love, Exhale Understanding

Inhale Love, Exhale Happiness

Inhale Love, Exhale Acceptance