Jai Ma! To my Mystical Momma!

My mystical Momma

Mom: Your dad lost 10 pounds for the wedding.
Me: Tell him, I found them.
Mom’s Inner thoughts: Love will zip this dress! Anything is possible…

Today, I would like to connect some points of gratitude among my heart, my mind, and my momma. On Mother’s Day, she called me out and said the my last blog post was over the top! Now… my mom practices yoga, but maybe only Half-Asana. She thinks choosing love is too much?!? Let us investigate. She does her asana in a gym and has amazing physicality and movement, but what about finding love, peace, compassion, union with the divine or meditation? Mom, how does your yoga affect the world around you? Do you REALLY do yoga?

The path of yoga offers a systematic approach to spiritual development by planting mysticism as inspiration into the development of the conscious human mind. The individual development that yoga offers is in order to be in union with and service of others and God.

Let’s look at two things: Mysticism and the Conscious Human Mind.

Mysticism (more to come in future posts)
Many mystical stories associated with Indian culture have woven themselves into yogic tradition (1/2 Monkey, 1/2 boy saves the world). But simply having the ability to imagine that anything is possible is mystical. I think that is part of the mystical stories.  Daring to believe…. Experiencing something you cannot explain is mystical. Mysticism isn’t just in your imagination.

Conscious Mind
If I am conscious, I am making choices. Aware. It is utterly amazing to realize that I can be anyone I want by turning my thoughts and imagination into actions. If I can imagine it, I can create it.  Why not work on a Love-a-lution? I can see it. I can feel it. I can live it! This is conscious living! Who taught me to be this open and to use my imagination for good?  Jai Ma!  It was MY mother!

Where mysticism and the conscious mind come into union, there is yoga!

Mom, when do you imagine what is possible about life? You told me you’re going to live to be 100.  What are you going to do with your next 25 years? I hope and pray that you keep doing what you’re doing. Yoga. And imagine a world where anything, even a love-a-lution is possible.

I express my devotion through chanting and meditation. You go to church.

I try to inspire people to make loving choices and make them when I can. You make loving choices when you volunteer at the local elementary school, within the church and with people in need in your community.

I imagine a life of creativity and living in harmony with others and nature. You quilt, cultivate plants, and create fun activities to do with you Grandchildren. You live in creative harmony with nature!

We do our yoga differently. I am trying to lead a Love-A-Lution but you don’t need the revolution part of my made up word. Revolution his about change. You are living love and I hope that doesn’t change. Your actions and the way you live is living love. So maybe thinking about loving doesn’t feel comfortable because you just live it without conscious thought. Maybe you can’t imagine a world where people don’t live with love as the guide.

I am inspired by you as my mystical momma with endless stories of selfless loving actions. Thank you Momma! And while you kick ass, you sure don’t live your life or do your yoga half-asana!Think about it

What will you do with your life, if you live to be 100 years old?
Who is your inspirational mystical momma?
Imagine what is possible and make it happen. One decision, one choice at a time.

Hari Om, Namaste.

A continuous state of love

My niece is super easy to love!

My niece is super easy to love!

How are you doing with your Love-a-lution? I’m still working on mine… but it is more than just an idea. The spark of love absolutely lives within me and I try to share it. What is love? I can’t find a definition big enough to encompass all that I believe love to be, but I JOURNEY on…  with friends, family, my husband, and strangers.  Love is everywhere.

This quote from Eckhardt Tolle is amazing!

Love as a continuous state is yet very rare, as rare as conscious human beings. – Eckhart Tolle from The Power of Now

  1. By saying love as a continuous state is very rare, says that someone is doing it!!!! It might be rare, but someone is doing it! I would LOVE to meet this spectacular human who lives in a continuous state of love.
  2. As rare as conscious human beings.  Is this the answer?  Do we simply need to become conscious humans?

I believe that part of being a conscious human being is about making choices.  We simply need to continue to choose love. When I make a truly thoughtful decision, it is influenced by love.

Now you choose….
Hate or love?
Frustration or love?
Dislike or love?
Prejudice or love?

I choose LOVE every time! This choice integrates compassion into a situation and makes less room for unwanted emotions. By consistently choosing love, you are conditioning your body to have loving reactions.

Another way to practice being in a continuous state of love is to meditate. Maybe practice using the mantra, “I choose love.” This places your entire being into the concentration of love.  Sanyama – When your Daryana becomes your Diana you benefit from Samadi.  When the object of your concentration becomes your meditation, you receive a profound knowledge of that object.  Think about the power of meditating on love.

Think about it

Would your world change if your reactive emotion was love? What would that look like? Could you find a continuous state of love?

I’ve started flossing again!

floss

Flossing can be awkward and even painful… so can meditation.

As I began class on Sunday, I was telling everyone that I was flossing again.  But with flossing, I’ve found a new challenge. Now that I’ve cleaned out the grooves in my teeth, more things, like kale, are sticking in them! A regular student looked at me and confidently asked, “So what’s the yoga spin?”

Let’s use flossing as a parallel to meditation or asana. Flossing is awkward and can be painful. Same for meditation or asana. Flossing gets rid of what doesn’t belong (plaque) and makes space for healthier items to get hung up (kale). In meditation we take time to remove thoughts that don’t belong. We replace them with healthier, positive statements; cleaning our minds in the same way we clean our teeth.

kale

Carry with you healthy and useful thoughts.

While working though asanas, I encouraged people to replace their thoughts. Instead of challenging or judgmental thoughts (this is hard, I am tired, I can’t do it) with the directions on how to do the pose (press your heel into the ground, engage your inner thighs, tighten your belly). Once concentration was focused on accomplishing the alignment, change began to happen! In meditation, mantras can be used as positive affirmations. Make a conscious choice to remove selective thoughts (vrittis) and replace them with the a mantra.

The same student who challenged me to spin flossing into a yoga lesson asked me to write this class down and do it again! So here it is and I’ll see you next week!

Do Something!

Floss. Eat more kale. Selectively remove thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations.

Hari Om, Namaste

Start your LOVE-a-lution now!

EVOLUTION

Evolution is a process of change. An evolution happens without effort and is passive. Evolution is constant, slowly unfolding change.

REVOLUTION

Revolution happens when people’s needs are not being met. A revolution is conscious thought turning into action. Revolution creates change.

LOVE-a-LUTION

A conscious change toward the natural state of love. A LOVE-a-lution might just be a combination of evolution and a revolution.

You can start your own LOVE-a-lution by choosing to get out of the way of love. I believe that our true state of existence is loving and being loved and often we get in the way of this simple process.

Ananda is a sanskrit word that translates as bliss… a state of contentment with all things at all times.  What if love takes bliss one step further? What if love is being content with all people at all times? This is a challenge for many, but a challenge worth taking on.  Being in love is being content with people, as they are, in every moment.

To start your own LOVE-a-lution, you can begin to accept yourself at all times.  Make decisions you can live with. Chose to fill your mind with happy and loving thoughts.  Then look to the people closest to you and accept they are individuals who share space with you. Fill the space with love by accepting them as they are. Work your way from self to community to local and eventually find a global love.

This would indeed be a personal LOVE-a-lution!

Do Something!

Choose to get out of the way of the natural process of love.
Choose to find contentment with all people at all times.
Recognize that when not “in love” or content with others, that is a choice you are making.

Start YOUR LOVE-a-lution!

Beautiful and dangerous! Can that be true?

Beautiful

Beautiful

This is the view from one of my happiest spots in my home, into the back yard. Our Crepe Myrtle tree has many looks throughout the year, including amazing magenta flowers in late summer. But this look… as the ice is melting off the tree branches… is absolutely glowing in the morning sun light! This is amazing and awe inspiring.

Dangerous!

Dangerous!

Meanwhile, outside the front door, my sidewalk is a serious hazard. It is slippery and anyone walking on it may not stay upright. Yesterday, both my neighbor and I salted both of our sidewalks, hours apart from each other, there was still about 1/4 of an inch of ice covering it.

I could spend many pleasant hours watching the ice melt off the tree, but watching the ice melt off the sidewalk was horrifying. Satya is truth.  How can there be two contrary truths about an ice storm? It created both awe inspiring beauty and horrifying danger. Few things, including you and me, can truthfully be described as just one thing. See an early post on Koshas.

As truthfulness (satya) is achieved, the fruits of actions naturally result according to the will of the Yogi. (satya pratisthayam kriya phala ashrayatvam) ~ Yoga Sutra Chapter 2 Verse 36 from Swamij.com

When we accept all truths, our will can honestly become action.
Truth #1 Ice is beautiful.
Truth #2 Ice is dangerous.
Truth #3 I have to maintain my sidewalks and remove as much ice as possible.
Truth #4 I don’t want anyone to get hurt.

When truth, satya, is acknowledged in all its forms, positive action is inevitable. I chipped as much ice off the sidewalk as possible.

Think about it

What truths are you struggling with?  Once you accept these truths, are there any actions that will result? This is sometimes what people call, “Doing the right thing.”

My tongue: Out and to the left

Story time!

Kali State

Kali statue on the Parikrama walk in Vrindavan, India.

Kali is an avatar of Durga, who sprang from Durga’s third eye in order to save the world from evil… which she did! Part of her success was in stopping demon blood from toughing earth by licking it up with her tongue. This battle was a tough one however Kali was a ferocious warrior and protector who was inspired to battle for all the right reasons and liberating us from our egos!

Well, Kali was on a roll!  Swinging swords and using her giant outstretched tonge, her determination was so great, and her fight so intense, that she didn’t even notice when the fight was over and love for all things good had won! It took a dramatic intervention from Shiva to help Kali recognize that her fight was over and her mission accomplished!

How often do you fight, struggle and overcompensate after a fight has ended?  When peace and love reign in your life, do you know it and can you allow yourself to fully enjoy the benefits of your struggles?  My mom says I always choose the difficult road.  Is that because I love the fight?  I am certainly comfortable in the seat of the under-dog (or down dog) and I thrive on challenge!  But what do I do with the good, even, peaceful and loving times I struggled to create? I look for the next challenge. Sigh. Clearly this is something I need to work on.

When I struggle, I unconsciously stick my tongue out and to the left, especially when concentrating on a physical endeavor. Am I channeling my inner Kali? Loving fiercely? Am I finding union among multiple aspects of self? Am I slaying my ego one struggle at a time or am I struggling to win? I am watching myself and trying to answer many of these questions all the while feeling the Warrior Kali inside me.  I am hoping to find a moment like Kali did when Shiva intervened to help her see and feel love and then sustain that moment for as long as possible.

Think about itLook at your life objectively or maybe through the eyes of another person. Can you see love, peace and spiritually happy times in your life? I bet they exist. Look a little deeper and take time to live and frolic in the glory of the love and peace you have so valiantly won!

Hari Om, Namaste

 

Hanuman: The best friend EVER!

Hanuman (Monkey God)

Lord Hanuman showing Ram and Sita in his heart. (Image from the Ghats at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh India)

“It’s not so much that I dislike the new friend’s I’ve made since I moved, it’s that I miss you!” I can’t think of a sweeter sentiment from a friend. Jodi is fantastic. We started as Craig’s List roommates. Then distance friends, she got married, roommates again (with her new husband!), I got married, she had a baby, a long distance move, and another baby. Through all these major life events, we are still amazing friends!

Maybe we don’t keep in touch every day, but when we talk or see each other, it is like no time has passed! The chemistry between us is obvious.  We visited my parents (hiking and a weekend out of the urban environment) and I head my mom say, “Jodi is great! It’s like she’s always been a part of the family.”  We heard her, giggled like little girls, and responded, “We can hear you!”

What makes a good friend?  Is it chemistry? Like the unexplained chemistry of romance? Or is friendship about two people having open 4th chakras in the right place at the right time? Why do we instinctively trust or enjoy some people more than others?  I don’t know what makes people friends, but I have learned from the support of many amazing friends how to be one.

The stories of Hanuman and Lord Ram, written in both Indian epochs the Ramayana and Mahabharata, teach us about friendship.  While Lord Ram’s romance is with Sita, he still has time and love for his best friend Hanuman.  In the face of Lord Ram’s imprisonment, Ram was unfazed as he just KNEW that his friend Hanuman would save him. And Hanuman saved Ram. Ram’s consort, Sita, was kidnapped and Ram completely trusted that Hanuman would figure out how to save Sita. And Hanuman saved Sita.

Hanuman always acts out of love and service. After being given a beautiful pearl necklace of gratitude from Sita, Hanuman chewed it up! He was looking for Ram’s name and when he didn’t find the name of Ram, Hanuman opened his chest and showed Sita and the world, that Ram and Sita truly live in his heart. He declared that nothing, not even a pearl necklace, is as valuable or cherished as Ram. I would like to say that tattooing someone’s name on your skin is hardcore, but seriously tearing your heart open to show your love is intense!  Do Something!Show your love to your friends.  Take some time and reach out to important people you haven’t talked to in a while.  Live selflessly and do what your friends need, sometimes before they ask for it.  Be the friend instead of simply being in a friendship.

 

I got your 6! Who’s got mine?

While watching a shoot ’em up movie with my husband, I heard a term that has been used in many movies and by people around me.  “I got your 6!”  was meaningless, without context and sounded like a jumble of words. So I looked it up on Urban Dictionary.  If you are giving directions via the face of a clock, 12 o’clock is in front of you, 3 to your right, 9 to your left and 6 is behind you.  So, I got your 6 means, I’ve got your back!  What a fun term.

WatchfaceAs you roll through life, who really has your 6? Who is there to catch you before you fall? You may have work or personal partners who help… but it is rare to have someone everywhere you go, at all times. I think that personal responsibility is a key to success. BUT?!?!?

When you discern your atman (energetic soul) as being without beginning middle or end, and as connected to the great divine, you realize that there are no limits to the forces of greatness that can say “I got your 6!”

The Bhagavad Gita presents the relationship between Arjuna and Krishna as a friendship.  Then, in chapter eleven when Arjuna realized the magnitude of Krishna’s reach, he was terrified at the limitless power of Krishna. The Narrator, Sanjaya says

Having spoken these words, the Lord once again assumed the gentle form of Krishna and consoled his devotee, who had been so afraid.

Excerpt From: Eknath Easwaran. “The Bhagavad Gita.” Chapter 11, Verse 50.

What terrified Arjuna realized, is that Krishna is really everywhere, in everything and even Arjuna himself makes up part of the great divine Krishna.  The human form, Arjuna’s friend Krishna, was consoling but also the same all pervasive divine force. When you can see your best friends, lovers, family members and strangers as divine, you know they all, “Got your 6” in one way or another.

Think about it

If all the people you encounter are divine and “got your 6”, then you also have the responsibility to look out for everyone else. Do you live in a way that is looking out for others? Covering someone else’s 6 is one way to express your own divine nature!

Hari Om, Namaste

 

Take action: I love your socks!

Living your life in accordance to the suggestions of the yamas is about acknowledging negativity in your life and taking action towards positive. Key words. Take Action.  Yoga isn’t just a theory of living but requires us to interact among our thoughts and actions.  I love you socks.

When you have a negative thought, respond with a positive action.  Aparigraha is non-possessiveness. I covet my friend Leah’s socks.  Seriously. They are amazing and I would like to have them.  Instead of holding onto thoughts of desire that may lead to hostility (Why does Leah get to have amazing socks and mine are just white… and kind of dirty?!?), create a positive action.  Tell Leah, “I love your socks!”

This is a small example. What if you covet another’s girlfriend? “I wish that I had Jessie’s girl!”  Know the song? What if you covet another’s job and end up harming someone with your desire to have what they have? Instead of sabotaging the good we see in others through negative thoughts and actions, yoga says to take positive action in our own lives in order to achieve desired results. Attend a training so you are better qualified for the job you covet.  Get involved with a hobby where you might meet someone as amazing as Jessie’s girl.

Actions, not just thoughts.
When you have negative thoughts, respond with positive actions.

Mastery of yoga is really measured by how it influences our day-to-day living, how it enhances our relationships, how it promotes clarity and peace of mind. ~ D.K.V Desikachar

For further reading on the yamas, the first rung of the 8 Fold Path of Patanjali, read the 2nd Chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, verses 29 – 40.

Do Something!

Instead of coveting what other’s have, make a list of all the amazing things you do have.  List tangible items that you value.  List non tangible things  you value in yourself such as you sense of humor or fabulous glasses.  Finally, acknowledge that you have some amazing things and remember to treat them as they have value and be grateful when you use them!

Hari Om, Namaste!

Similarities can eliminate duality!

My 5th grade niece did an impromptu word study connecting knowledge of her DARE class to words she read in church. During church she leaned over to her mother and exclaimed, “HalleluJah and mariJuana are the same!” She noticed the use of a silent “J”. She then got the giggles, and of course, created more of a scene than her mother wanted.

But what a gift!  To be able to see similarities in so many places brings us a step closer to oneness. Identifying similarities in words, people, church, and in nature is a gift. In yoga, the ultimate challenge is to find oneness, to feel connected and empowered by all around you, and to go beyond what is tangible, knowing that you are united with the Great Divine! Yoga means to unite.

The Bhagavad Gita discusses the importance of eliminating duality and the benefits of doing so. Instructions are provided, to eliminate duality, finding samadhi through meditation. What I see, is that we can begin to practice for samadhi by finding similarities whenever possible, just as my niece did.

Delusion arises from the duality of attraction and aversion, Arjuna; every creature is deluded by these from birth.

Excerpt From: Eknath Easwaran. “The Bhagavad Gita.” Chapter 7, verse 27.

Well flip and flap!  From birth?!?!?  Krishna tells Arjuna that we are affected by duality from birth. True. We are separated from our mother and primal oneness with the mother is lost. It takes work and conscious effort from birth on to reconnect with our source, God. Even in oneness, we find individual distinctions but recognize we all have the same distinctions.

Thus he (Krishna) is both happiness and suffering, birth and death, being and nonbeing. Like the Brahman of the Upanishads, he is beyond duality, utterly beyond the constricting categories of the things of this world.

Excerpt From: Eknath Easwaran. “The Bhagavad Gita.” The Introduction to chapter 10.

When we see similarities, the categories of things and people begin to fade and distance among people diminishes.  We become one.

Start small.  Hallelujah and marrijuana use the letter “J” in the same way.  I am interested in gardening, just like my neighbor down the street.  I am seeking a spiritual path, just as my catholic sister does.  We are all the same. We are one.Do Something!

In your downtime, begin to train your brain to find similarities. Watch people in public and look for what is the same.  When you are in conflict, look for similarities. If you are in conflict with another person, focus on what is the same between the two of you. If you are having internal conflict, accept that you have distinct emotions, but they are the totality of your oneness.
You are all that!

Hari Om