"If it ain't broke...."
By Laura Mills
My two-year-old loves crayons. On our coffee table we have a box full of them, the usual eight colors plus various offspring hues. As the months have passed the box has lost most of its whole crayons and accumulated more and more half-crayons, third-crayons, quarter-crayons, and even smaller bits…my daughter doesn’t discriminate, though, and draws and colors with all of them.
My guess is in a few years she’ll be less likely to enjoy coloring with worn-down nubs, instead realizing she prefers pointed pristine crayons. As we age we place greater emphasis on something’s “whole-” or “broken-ness,” often allowing our perception of such to influence our positivity or negativity. Ironically, as we age we ourselves acquire our own broken-ness—broken health, broken hopes, broken dreams, broken hearts—which leaves us worn down, much like a well-used bit of crayon. Some days we may even feel little more than a nub, lost in the box.
But remember that a crayon’s broken-ness indicates the fulfillment of its purpose; the crayons that remain pristine the longest are the ones that are just “ho-hum,” the ones rarely sought out. Watching my two-year-old joyfully color with even the smallest bits of crayon—which in her tiny hands are often more useful than the larger pieces anyway—reminds me that on the days I feel most broken, somewhere my light still shines. In fact, my broken-ness may be just the perfect instrument to complete another person’s beautiful picture.
By Laura Mills
Today I’m feeling that life and the world are heading out of control. I don’t think I’m alone; even if one hasn’t been paying attention to the news of late, it’s normal, I believe, for many to feel this way in December. At the best of times we run around finishing holiday shopping and other errands; our routines flip-flop for better or worse as we schedule and attend parties and host out-of-towners; we overindulge to the point of actually believing we’ll never touch a sweet or cocktail again. But this isn’t the best of times. The usual “December frenzy” seems ridiculously irrelevant in the shadow of the state of the world today…thus, I feel more than ever that life and the world are careening into an unspeakably frightening tailspin.
It was at times like this that I used to go to my yoga mat looking for answers. “When will this end?” “Why do these things happen?” “What can I do?” And I was always disappointed, as I never stepped off my mat at the end of a practice with any more answers than I had at the beginning. With time and reflection I came to believe no answers exist…at least none that any of us can fathom with our human understanding. If we keep searching for answers we will search all our lives, asking the same questions over and over while the world continues to careen ahead.
Each of us has an inner light. When things happen that set our world uncontrollably spinning, fear, confusion, sadness and grief smother our light. Today, I believe the power of yoga exists not in showing us answers but in reigniting and reclaiming our light. And that’s all we can do—reignite and reclaim our light, and then shine out, for the brighter our light the more we are able to sustain ourselves and support each other.
May we all find peace in the new year, and may we now more than ever let our lights shine to illuminate the way forward.
WHY ARE YOGIS MORE ATTRACTIVE
February 13, 2011. Day 4 of Love Blogging 21 days in 2011. Here is a super simple fact about energy: It is attracted to the same kind of energy. Like energy attracts like energy. When we breath, feel, live from our heart energy we attract more of the same. And I can prove it. (Science supports this too.) This is otherwise known as the law of attraction. And interesting enough when you feel good you are more attractive. Yoga teaches us that our natural state is one of happiness. We are born that way and meant to live that way. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life!
A great way to test this out for yourself is to practice SMILING MORE. This was #11 on my list of 11 Things to Say Yes to in 2011 (an earlier blog posting). Develyn Steele says, "Smiling changes your attitude, raises your confidence, and makes you more attractive." Whether you believe it or not smiling changes how you feel. If you doubt this then start smiling and thinking positive thoughts and see what develops. You will find that you can't help but have a more elevated attitude (Pratipaksha Bhavana) when you smile or even think about when you were last smiling. Today we practiced a guided visualization with our left side to experience what it feels like physically to smile with each part of our body. Then we could sense for ourselves how the right and left sides of our bodies felt differently from one another. From there we used different types of movement (both jala water influenced flow and fire agni) to see what impact both had on our feeling state as well as how planting a smile here in there influenced the poses like plank.
You see smiling affects our emotions because of a body-brain connection. It triggers scientifically measurable activity in the left frontal cortex of the brain where happiness is registered. And what is even more fascinating to support this theory of the law of attraction or how we attract similar energy is that of the 44 muscles of the face that allow us to create more than 5000 different types of expressions, each of those expressions will have a unique affect on the way you feel and how OTHERS feel about you.
When you smile with your heart and with your thoughts you cultivate a naturalness towards positive thinking at the same time. Here's a real life example: I didn't always believe in green lights. Then I practiced smiling more both on the mat and off. All of a sudden I started to believe in the possibility of green lights. From there through the power of positive thinking I started to believe I should receive Green Lights everyday, not just sometimes. And eventually I grew even more confident and started putting out to the universe that I deserved to Green Light my LIFE.
That is how profound an impact this practice can have on your life. I know because it's had this amazing impact on changing my life for the better and best. I smile more and I laugh all the time and truly I do get green lights. And you can too! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS Join me on retreat this year www.alchemytours.com
NEW SERIES IN THE WORDS OF A TEACHER TRAINEE JULIA JONSON COHN TELLS ALL
EVERYTHING SEEMS NEW
By Julia Jonson Cohn
Cobrahhh! A collective spark of enlightenment beamed across the yoga studio as our teacher Rachel guided us into the best Bhujangasana some of us had ever experienced. We yoga teacher trainees rose up simultaneously with wide eyes and let out a resounding “ahhhh!” as we achieved near perfect alignment. It was like the grand finale of teacher training that day. Executing a pose that we had all likely done hundreds of times before yet this time it felt brand new because of what we had learned.
Rachel’s enthusiasm throughout the day reverberated through me as she talked about ankle, thigh and shoulder loops. I was increasingly aware that I was much like a child learning a task for the first time. Yoga has been a trusty companion for almost half my life yet lately I feel like I’m just trying it for the first time. I suppose it is a renewed sense of wonderment about how many elements and layers of this ancient practice exist.
We began our day by taking class with our guru Silvia who challenged us to face our fears. This meant not just taking risks, but paying close to attention to everything around us so that we may be fully present as students of our own life. Silvia explained the worst part of fear is that feeling you get before you do something that scares you. She reassured us that the act itself is rarely as scary as the anticipation. We prepared, learned, watched and sometimes, in very human fashion, got distracted. The class hit a crescendo with Ahdo Mukha Vrksasana or handstand. How liberating to face my fears on the mat! As I supported the weight of my body on my hands (with a little assistance) my fear of heights, of illness and not accomplishing my goals didn‘t feel quite as daunting.
Back in the classroom we talked about opening to Grace at the beginning of practice. I cannot imagine practicing yoga without the life philosophy that our teachers so eloquently ooze. It is helping me to find the “realer” version of me and for that I am thankful. Albert Einstein said “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” For me, a greater understanding of life and yoga is emerging as I examine my own inner nature.
Namaste to my amazing teachers for guiding me and inspiring me on this journey.
GREEN LIGHT YOUR LIFE, STORMS AND MAGNETS
SEPTEMBER 21, 2010 (the night the lights went out)
“In a plain piece of metal, all the molecules are in chaos facing every which way. A magnet is a similar piece of metal in which all the molecules are perfectly aligned – the north pol,es facing one way, and the south poles facing in the opposite direction. Because of this alignment, the magnet gains the power to attract and hold other objects. If you stroke the ordinary metal and the magnet together in one direction only, the magnet will align all the molecules in the plain metal with itself, causing a second magnet to emerge. The power to attract and hold has been transmitted from one to the other, while amazingly enough the initial magnet retains its full strength. As we align our energies this way through regulating our breath we maintain calm through the ordinary emotional rollercoaster rides we encounter each day. We find that when we are upset, everything around us reflects the same disturbance, as if it is somehow contagious. When tranquility prevails, it magnetizes everything with the same sense of calmness.” (Story from The Secret Power Of Yoga.)
I teach yoga to be a magnet for all my students. I pass on to them what has been shared with me by my teachers who served as my magnet. I want all that come to my classes to feel the power they hold within themselves to attract their best life ever. We accomplish this by organizing our breathing, our thoughts in a way that designs the future that serves our truest potential. In my classes you do NOT hide from who you really are or your untapped strength, courage or visions for your life. I don't teach a physically challenging class I teach a mentally and emotionally challenging coaching experience.
Is this for everyone? No, not everyone is ready. Some people in our lives will never be ready and will leave this earthly body thinking it was all just some rehearsal. Those are not my students. You are my student if something I say resonates with your most authentic self from my most authentic self. And you leave inspired to gain back your power to do good in this world, to live kindly, to be your most extraordinary self on even the most ordinary days. Yoga helps us harness the power of intention. Infinite love and gratitude as Dr Darren Weissman speaks about is universal energy. In other words as is written in the Alchemist, the universe is on our side. So as the wind blew a mighty storm this night and we practiced in candlelight, me and my 30 yogi friends tapped into what it means to be driving along in life and see up ahead of you a stop light and intend it to be green, then to drive further and see that one is green, and by golly if every single stop light you approach is green.
You know you are a magnet when you "green light" your life.
And no one wants that more for you than me. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
INTUITION POWER OF INTENTION AND VISUALIZATION
May 14, 2010, “It is dark. Eyes closed, we lie as if asleep, dreamless, ignorant of all around us. Floating in a sea of emptimenss, we are cradled in darkness – unseeing, unknowing, at peace. We breath slowly, in and out, in and out, stretching and relaxing our bodes as we settle into the warm, peaceful darkness inside. We are home. We are safe. We are deep within ourselves, feeling, hearing, being – but not seeing.
Somewhere in the darkness, we hear a sounds a distant note, a voice, a scuffle of movement. We feel the flutter of a breeze upon our face, feel a warmth upon our shoulders, feel the pull to rise and flow and follow but we know not where. Our bodies cannot see and dare not move. They are dark and still. They call to use for direction, wisdom, guidance. They call to intelligence, they call to memory, they call for clarification of the pattern. They call to light.
We hear this call and our own mind hungry for answers, quests outward. We long to see, to know, to behold at once the wonders that surround to. To fill our minds with recognition, the certain steps of knowing, the safety and the peace that light, too, can bring.
WE OPEN OUR MIND. WE OPEN OUR EYES. WE LOOK ABOUT. THE MIND OPENS AND RECEIVES.
But there is too much and the light is blinding. We call to the dark to shade us, to temper, to bind the patterns into meaning. And the dark comes softly hand in hand and shadow to the light, defining, shading, intertwining, ordering. What do you wish to see? What do you call forth to your inner vision?
From inner vision, insight revealed, nothing can remain concealed. From inner vision reaching out, seeing truth, removing doubt. Inside we open, watch, and wait, while wisdom’s visions spin our fate. Illumination shows the way, our inner light turns night into day. Within our minds, we light the way!” --By Anodea Judith, Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System (and one of my favorite books of all time)
If you take one thing away from this practice of Ajna is that once you start paying attention and honing the power of intuition, this inner seeing, then you understand how to influence your reality through creative visualizations and meditations. You create your reality. While holding a difficult pose you create a story in your mind of easeful power and then the pose becomes what you want it to be. And even taking this a step further. “To hold an image in our mind increases the possibility it will materialize.” Think about that. Say it aloud, write it down, repeat it. If you see something in your mind you will manifest it. But if you don’t know how to harness the power of your mind into that image and stay with it then you water down the opportunity to tap into your greatest potential. Today, tell yourself the story of the next chapter of your life, outline your intentions but then talk yourself through what that looks like in your life and see for yourself the magic of the 6th chakra at work! Love to you, Silvia
SPRING INTO NEW BEGINNINGS
MARCH 22, 2010
March 20th was Spring Equinox, and we know intellectually this means that the shadow of Winter moves on. But still that lingering bit of heaviness continues to remain, we are still wearing all our layers of warm clothing and you can feel the tiredness in the air. We have had a 2009 that was colder than usual, a lost summer and finding the getty up and go this Jan/Feb/Mar may have seemed insurmountable because of the record breaking number of grey days. So let's acknowledge the darkness and see it as the fertilizer making our souls more fertile for the new beginnings of Spring. We only make a new beginning by acknowledging the endings in our life.
Often/sometimes/who am I kidding most always challenge rides along side positive change (paraphrased from Sadie Nardini). Instead of denying we still feel a bit peaked let's stoke our fire gently. Think about how you want to share in the new beginnings of Spring. Do you want to see your life from a new perspective? Do you want to make a fresh start of things?
On the mat we practice in waves that each have a beginning, middle and end to feel this natural cycle. For many of us endings are harder than beginnings. Or maybe you think they're both hard. I get that. We have even in each breath a CLEAN SLATE to breath in fresh air and rejuvenation. And yet so often our human tendancy is to RECREATE THE PAST (breathing in an old way, thinking in old paradigms, living the old stories). Just know you don't have to.
To begin again, to start afresh isn't always popular. As you change your energy impacts those around you and if they are resistant they may not see you as the superstar you are. This doesn't mean we have to keep doing what everyone else is doing and letting your life decisions be made by default. That way of life is staying in the Dark. It is living life unconsciously. Let go of making the opinions of others more important than your own. You're never going to get everyone to agree on how you should live your life anyway.
I didn't transition into teaching yoga to be popular or to be controversial, I simply taught because doing so brought me into full alignment with living a more loving life. When I made this new beginning one Spring many years ago I certainly was going against the grain of popular opinion (why leave a highly paying, glamourous corporate job with international travel for less money, less time, less travel?) But I had to follow the light and make my own choice. Our lives belong to us and so do our decisions. And eventually friends/family who really love you for you will appreciate any new beginning you wish to make.
Know this, when you come to TBY, we come together in Satsang (community) that is like minded. You will be with other people who want to make richer discoveries into who they are and through this self-discovery make more conscious choices. And that is the well-spring of all new beginnings! Love your life don't wait. Peace out, Silvia
YOGA IS NOT BORING
I can't say this enough: Yoga is not boring! This practice is inspiring us to make each day memorable. It is as my teacher Shiva Rea says, "Celebrating being alive is the essence of a spiritual experience."
When we practice on the mat we are really cultivating the ability to see the sun inside ourselves. Especially as we practice Namaskars (Salutations). "One is offering salutation to the divine represented by the sun, as a source of light removing the darkness of a clouded mind and as a source of vitality removing the diseases of the body. (Mohan) Or as an unknown author writes, "Darkness isn't the absence of light... it's the absence of you." Yoga helps us to find ourselves in spite of the darkness of challenges and hardships in life. With every breath we remove the kleshas, which are like 5 lampshades covering up our inner brightness. This brings us back to LIFE! With every breath linked movement we allow our mind and hearts to integrate this basic quality of celebration or joy into our very being. By the time we leave the mat we feel joy infused into every single cell! So please join me, keep making time to stoke the flame of celebration, make your own mini olympics for yourself each practice! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
10% KINDER SPREAD SUNSHINE AND GOODNESS
SEPTEMBER 17, 2009: I was saying to a friend that when I got to bed at night I appreciate all that I attempted during the day no matter how it turned out, I acknowledge I did my best and right before I go to sleep I promise myself that "tomorrow I will be 10% kinder."
Life moves so fast on a day to day basis that sometimes it seems like we don't have time to be kind which is really another way of saying we don't have time to connect with other human creatures, they aren't important enough. Yoga teaches us that a root cause of our suffering is isolation; disconnection from others for it is against our very nature. When we actively practice kindness it brings us closer to other individuals. Every day I also say to myself "am I serving as an example or a warning" to the people I am in contact with? I hope my life right now serves as an example, that no matter how difficult the challenges I might be facing I am still above all else kind.
One of my heroes Jack Kornfield writes, "The work of your heart, the work of taking time, to listen, to help, is also your gift to the whole world." I found that quote in a little book titled GOOD PERSON given to me by my loving friend Nancy. I keep that book next to my bed to remind myself that above all else that is really what influence I hope to inspire others by. I may not have millions of dollars but the beauty and value of being a good person seems far above an impressive bank statement. And the good news is that as JM Barrie says, "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."
We can light up the lives of all whom we think about, touch, email, talk to, and work with, love. Each of us has this responsibility to be a good person. If we sit back and wait for the world to be made better, well the funny thing is we are the world. We are the ones that by being 10% kinder can make an enormous difference.
"There is in each of us so much goodness that if we could see its glow, it would life the world." Sam Friend
I have to be honest many years ago I didn't have the guts to articulate this. I was too embarrassed and afraid what other people might think of me (it's usually a whole lot easier to sit and complain the with the majority of how terrible life is) so I had to do a lot of soul searching to grow up spiritually from babyhood to be able to say without hesitation "I want to change the world.' Yup, it may be one down dog at a time, one mindful breath at a time but at least I am trying in my own way. And the heart of the effort comes from being 10% kinder each and every day. Today can you join me in this effort? "Thank you to all the people in the world who are always 10% kinder than they need to be. That's what really makes the world go 'round." (Helen Exley)
Your goodness knows no bounds and is unlimited in its potentiality, do it your way but please accept the responsibility to care enough for yourself, this world we share to be 10% kinder each and every day! Love to you with lovingkindess (metta), Silvia
DO YOU RESPOND OR REACT? HOW TO LESSEN THE DRAMA
I am feeling that vibe from the universe where I can tell folks are experiencing super busy minds but tiredness at the same time. Perhaps its end of summer buzz where we feel an energetic shift taking place and are in the process of making a million decisions for the next month. Well whatever the reasons I thought we'd focus tonight on clearing the mind and relaxing our hearts. Our philosophical focus on the difference between reacting and responding (only one is healing)!
We will begin seated with meditation, then recline followed by some supine poses to calm and relax. After this we will use standing poses to anchor us more fully into the moment. Finally I will guide us through a step by step approach to learning handstand (working at our own pace) so that you can practice this pose safely at home. At the end of practice we will enjoy an extra long final relaxation to bring it all together.
The poses will help us practice making choices. For we are surrounded with choices some more obviously healthy than others. Yoga wakes us up so we can be more present to the choices we are presented and from there we choose to either react or respond. These aren’t the same thing. Reacting is negative and Responding is positive. Which one are you doing?
Reacting is out of control feeling that just eats up our energy where we are too caught up in the details to understand the situation. Examples include excessive worry and anger. Whereas responding in calm and mindful and we are fully in charge of our feelings so no energy is wasted. We see the big picture. “Respond” comes from two root words: Re- meaning Back, and Spondere meaning “To Pledge.”
As a result in this practice we learn about our old ways of reacting, our habits and instead pledge to ourselves to create healthier habits and respond in a quiet way without the drama. In this way we no longer ourselves trigger fight or flight response with every decision and instead remain more calm. The sympathetic nervous system remains easeful and the mind finds quiet. It’s all here for you to discover on the mat. Love the day! Silvia
THERE IS A LIGHT
ANCORA IMPARO – These are the words of Michaelangelo when he was 76 years old. The translation is “I am still learning.” We are all students and as Anna Quindlen writes in “A short guide to a peaceful life” we are still learning every day how to be human. The learning is offering us a way to see the light!
Here is a writing by Thich Nhat Hanh titled Twenty Four Brand-New Hours from his book Peace in Every Step:
Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty four brand new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy and happiness to ourselves and others.
Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We don’t have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky. Even the air we breath can be a source of joy.
We can smile, breath, walk and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment. This is an invitation to come back to the present moment and find peace and joy. Peace is every step.
So we keep learning. Even from simple stories like this one about 3 bowls of water:
Imagine there are 3 bowls of water. One is really cold on the left, one is normal in the middle, and one is really hot on the right. When you take your hand out of the really cold water and place it in the normal water in the middle, the normal water feels really warm. However, when you take your hand out of the really hot water and place it in the normal water in the middle, the normal water feels really cool. In both cases, one's perspective of "normal" is skewed by their own reality. Such is life. When we take our hands out of the madness, we recognize the normal temperature, the underlying reality. Love, light and peace.
So as we learn from the challenges of our life (the darkness) we are making progress towards our dreams, the light. The Alchemist answered “What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream.” So as we journey forwards towards the light of love we learn many lessons. But the point is to be so interested in our lives we want to keep learning! Love yourself, love your day, Silvia
LIFE IS BEAUTY! BEAUTY IS LOVE, LOVE IS EVERYWHERE
THEME JUNE 14TH, 2009: I wrote to a friend while in Italy (and thank you for letting me share this part with everyone) I wrote "Life here is all beauty!" This inspired me to meditate and bring this more to life in class today. I do want to say the most beautiful part of Italy was the 10 other pilgrims on the path of love that were with me. They started as strangers and we ended up as friends. 108 hugs and kisses to each of you!
What I learned from trip: life is beauty, beauty is love, love is everywhere. In what we eat, drink, do, say, feel. It is as Kahlil Gibran says, "When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things.”
Join me in offering this day or this hour or this month to the alchemy of love and beauty. Let this promise help you further ignite the fire element of summer, associated with the heart meridian promoting joy and celebration and light! Bow in to your own heart so you might be more present to the treasure chest of beauty found inside you. From this awareness we then see more clearly the beauty all around us. As Rumi writes, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
I know taking down the walls or reducing your guard is not easy. Believe me I get that. But we must acknowledge that we have a choice. We can choose to see the beauty in all things. This is especially healing when the fire element is weak and fear of connecting to others has set in. I promise you this, if you make even the most difficult person or circumstance part of your practice saying to them “I believe in the beauty and good in this troubling person or difficult situation and I know by doing so more beauty will be revealed to me.” You will shift into your best VIBRATION. This comes about as our minds quiet and our hearts open and we begin to better see our true most beautiful reflection mirrored back to us in the world!
May we all let beauty from inside be revealed for beauty is love, love is everywhere! With lovingkindness, Silvia
ACCEPTING SUPPORT: CAN YOU BE REACHED?
This support group we form for one another was made even more profound this afternoon. You may or may not know that the world lost a great peaceful warrior today. Sri Pattabhi Jois or Guruji as he was known to his students passed from his earthly body today. His life demonstrated to all what an amazing difference just a single person can make on mankind. The key message that I have taken from his teachings is: practice more. And if we practice more, we love more. (More about this Master Yogi, “Guruji, as he was fondly know all over the world, was one of Sri T Krishnamacharya's earlier students in
So today as we offer support around the world to the family of Sri Pattabhi Jois, we also recognize internally how important it is for each of us to feel supported. It is as Earon Davis says, “It takes community to maintain a human.” YES! Community, communion, compassion all of these and more that the practice teaches us through the vehicle of ourselves and trying to experience democracy and connection there first before taking it into relationship with others. One of my personal meditations I use is where I ask myself as much as I reach out to others, “can I be reached?” So I ask you, “CAN YOU BE REACHED?” How easily do you accept support from your breath, from the earth, from your healthy friends, from those that are trying to make your life easier? If its not so easy then come to the mat even more until you feel it possible within your body and heart and this will ignite the trust to accept support from others. Make Rumi’s words come to life! “Stay with friends who support you. Talk with them about sacred texts, and how you are doing, and how they are doing, and keep your practices together.”
Stay the course, love in all ways! Silvia
YOGA REVEALS OUR HABITS
FEBRUARY 9, 2009: Today is the full moon. The moon reflects the sun. As BKS Iyengar says in Light on Life, “The meaning of Hatha Yoga is Sun (Ha) and Moon (tha), Yoga is which Sun is the Soul and Moon is Consciousness. Consciousness can be compared to a lens. Its inner surface faces the soul itself, and its outer surface comes into contact with the world. Inevitably a degree of grime attaches itself to that outer surface and obscures our vision. In fact prevents us from seeing clearly what is outside, and it equally prevents the light of our soul from shining out. If our house is gloomy because the windows are dirty, we don’t say there is a problem with the sun; we clean the windows. Therefore yoga cleans the lens of consciousness in order to admin the sun (soul).”
We all form habits as we go through life. Yoga teaches us that even our good habits keep us from growing spiritually. This is because habits are by definition an attachment to a pattern of behavior, or a form of dependence. So a key principle of yoga is to break our attachments. This includes not just our attachments to material objects (like needing a hamburger and fries to be happy), but also attachments to only seeing things our way rather than being open and accepting of other’s opinions.
Our time on the mat is important because it gives us a chance to examine our behavioral patterns or habits. When we realize that we are creatures of habit and that those very habits, even the good ones, keep us stuck in patterns and we begin to break those habits and to try different things, then true spiritual growth begins. Alex Levin puts it like this, “habits allow us to not think about what we’re doing . . . giving us the illusion of ease.” When we are under the illusion of ease, not thinking about what we’re doing. Breathing the same old way, moving the same old way, thinking the same old way we check out of the present, out of happiness itself.
I invite myself all the time to step (think) outside the box. For example: I emptied my bedroom of furniture and rearranged everything. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on Friday for the first time in years, I am going to a movie tonight at 9:30pm instead of during the day. Even my trip to
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost .... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
DON'T GIVE UP! ENLIGHTENMENT IS HERE NOW
SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2008: Have you ever thought about giving up, throwing in the towel? Imagine if you quit your job, sell your stuff, give away your money, and go out into the wilderness. Sound interesting? Such is the premise of a movie I love Into the Wild, the powerful true life story of Chris McCandless. McCandless graduated from
Why would we even want to move away and give it all up? Isn't it because we think if we go somewhere else we'll be happy? Right? Haven't you day dreamed about switching jobs, changing partners, moving into a different home/neighborhood with this grass is greener, I will be better off elsewhere philosophy?
You are not alone, many folks feel like they have to travel to really far off places or do something dramatic to achieve enlightenment. Now this might be right for certain people, but it is by no means necessary to attaining enlightenment. Enlightenment can take root anywhere on earth, as long as we seek to open up to a higher consciousness. As long as you want to WAKE UP.
All we need is a powerful intention, and a willingness to do the work necessary to moving forward on our path.
Robin Sharma writes, “People who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened.
Those we are truly enlightened know what they want out of life, emotionally, materially, physically and spiritually. Clearly defined priorities and goals for every aspect of your life gives you direction. Lasting happiness comes from steadily working to accomplish your goals and advancing confidently in the direction of your life’s purpose.”
So may you all use this practice to discover your purpose and gain the strength to work towards it! But how we view strength is important. Think of it not as ability or a set of circumstance but as tenacity. To never give up. To stay the course!
What I wish for you all is that you can confidently stay in one place, knowing that everything that we need to attain enlightenment is always available right where we are. Just don't GIVE UP.