What is the Purpose of Meditation?

man meditating under rock
Photo by Suraphat Nuea-on on Pexels.com

I enjoy dipping into the words of the great sages, usually at bedtime. Right now, “I Am That” – Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is at the top of the bedside pile.

Here is his wisdom about Meditation:

“The primary purpose of meditation is to become conscious of, and familiar with, our inner life. The ultimate purpose is to reach the source of life and consciousness….

We are slaves to what we do not know, of what we know we are masters.

Whatever vice or weakness in ourselves we discover and understand its causes and its workings, we overcome it by the very knowing.

The unconscious dissolves when brought into the conscious. The dissolution of the unconscious releases energy; the mind feels adequate and becomes quiet.

When the mind is quiet, we come to know ourselves as the pure witness.”

Meditation allows us to become a non judging witness, and to develop our ability to step back and see ourselves without the stories that make up our lives.

“We are slaves to what we do not know, of what we know we are masters”. This really has stayed with me.

This approach to meditation crosses the bridge between self improvement and spirituality. It is the most important step in our evolution as humans and conscious beings.

Namaste

Inspiration – Cultivating Joy

pexels-life-of-pix-2469
Free photo from Pexels.com

“This is the path we take in cultivating joy: learning not to armor our basic goodness, learning to appreciate what we have. Most of the time we don’t do this.
Rather than appreciate where we are, we continually struggle to nurture our dissatisfaction. It’s like trying to get flowers to grow by pouring cement on the garden.”

~ Pema Chodron taken from “The Places That Scare You”

Do you find yourself thinking about the things that aren’t going the way you want and complaining about circumstances, other people … yourself?

Next time you catch yourself resisting or resenting, imagine that you are pouring cement on your garden. Take a deep breath and appreciate simply being here and being alive. 

Open your heart
And put away the cement mixer.
Feel the load lighten.
Let this nurturing space
Bring joy and loving kindness
To nourish every part of you.

Spring will come again

Let the world keep turning.

IMG_0310
Namaste

A Prayer for our Times

Always Into Love

On this voyage of
the soul, may we be
bridge builders,
our common ground
visible beneath the
surface differences.

May we braid the
threads of reconciliation
into a chain of possibility
that joins, heals, and
includes what once
seemed separate.

May our shared prayer
be answered: to grow
so open that there is
no “them” or “us,”
only the One, moving
always into love.

~ Danna Faulds

What you Resist Persists

“What you resist persists.” Carl Jung

lonely woman standing on rocky coast
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

This is a such a simple, yet powerful message that I keep coming back to again and again. Today I decided to set aside time to understand the WordPress block editor instead of resisting it and clinging to the old version.

Have you noticed when others have been caught in this struggle with what is happening? Have you noticed it in yourself?

When we want “what is” to be different, we are resisting. The more we resist, deny, criticize, complain and fight the truth … the more internal struggle we will have.

A part of us is conditioned to resist what’s happening to us, especially when things don’t go the way we had wanted. We don’t accept the feelings of annoyance, disappointment, hurt, sadness or distress that come up, and we want them to go away.

We want things to be the same as they were before. A part of us still thinks that by resisting, the uncomfortable feelings will go away but they won’t. They will become stronger, and can take over our minds, and cause a lot of suffering.

So, this is what I have to say to you:

Recognize if there is a situation in your life that you are resisting or denying is happening.

Ask yourself. “Am I ready to face this now?” If it isn’t the right time, that’s okay. Keep coming back to it until you are ready.

If it is something that is very upsetting, center yourself with slow deep breaths. Perhaps bring a hand onto your belly and another above your heart center.

Feel that sense of touch, and perhaps the connection to your inner self. The part of you that is hurting right now.

Recognizing when we are resisting is a powerful practice. At the beginning we may wonder what the big deal is …. after all resisting feels normal … until we are able to see that resisting is a conditioned response that has become as habit.  A habit that brings us suffering.

  • Let go of how you expected things to be.
  • Take control of what you CAN do to keep moving forward.
  • Make space for it.
  • Don’t hold on to anger or blame others. This will only cause you more hurt.
  • Embrace the highs and lows of life as they come along, and go with the ever changing flow of life.

And now you have a choice.

Ego’s Last Stand

I have been thinking about ego this week and how it shows up in our lives.

When the mind cannot accept a reality that goes against its own persona, it creates all sorts of stories to find a way to make it acceptable. We are seeing this unfold very publicly here in the US.

Someone who sees himself as a winner, was chastised as a loser growing up, and who now despises losers, cannot face being a loser himself.

A strong ego is driven by its need to be right. When it is threatened it will immediately shift blame, create stories and act out, so the ego is validated.

This is the ego’s last stand for survival.

A blow to our ego is one of the most hurtful things to experience. It cuts right into how we see ourselves and want to be seen. I recall times in my life when I expected  people to appreciate me, only to be disappointed when they didn’t. This is all about the ego and looking for validation.

For those of us on a spiritual path or working towards self realization, be especially careful where ego many hiding.

If you have difficulty saying “I don’t know” or “I was wrong” or “I am sorry” or “I forgive you” or “Please forgive me”, then your ego may still be very much in charge.

An other question to ask yourself as you talk to others, share on WordPress or whenever you are in relationship to someone:

“Am I doing this unconditionally or is there something I expect or hope for in return?

Sometimes we create stories that we are doing something for the good or others, but behind the altruism is an ego wanting to feel appreciated and validated.

Take some time to notice how your ego may be showing up in your life. Whenever you need to be right, its right there.

Stages of Life

I came across this poem from Portia Nelson and wanted to share it with you today. It’s a perfect example of how we deal with challenges as we go through life… and how conditioned we are.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

THERE’S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter One
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.

Chapter Two
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.

Chapter Three
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.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

It takes us so long to change our thinking and break our conditioning and habits. The ego-mind always wants to be right about the way it sees life.

Portia Nelson wrote this about the relationships in her life. How she kept falling for the same kind of man. Perhaps you can see a parallel in your life? I certainly can.

The shift happens we take responsibility and can see that our actions or conditioned beliefs no longer support our well being.

We can also look at other aspects of our life, and how we relate to changes and challenges. For example: the jobs we take, the food we eat, the friends we choose, the places we go, relationships with family, the party we vote for etc.

Taking this to a macro level, we can begin to see why society takes so long to change… and why our planet is in such jeopardy.

It begins with awareness, shifting perspectives, letting go of the old and choosing a new way.

May we learn from our mistakes and start down a different road together.

Namaste

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Haiku – rest in this moment

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Rest in this moment

It just takes a breath or two

Find Your Middle Ground

 

This is what I have to say to you today.

Take a moment to step away from it all.

Breathe in the Prana and goodness from nature and absorb the energy from the sun.

Take care of what you eat so it nourishes your very soul as well as the body.

Gaze upon the beauty around you and those you love.

Touch an other with love and appreciation.

 

This is a time for deep self care to nurture every part of our Being.

Pause and find your middle ground.

Namaste

 

To find out more about finding your middle ground click here

End of a Season

~

End of a season

Chanticleer, the final tour

Find Your Middle Ground

~

Walking in Chanticleer has helped me to connect to nature and a sense of wholeness in times of disintegration. It has brought peace and balance into my days, especially those when I am not teaching yoga. Yesterday was cool and glorious, the last day of this season. I am a little sad, but filled with gratitude to have such beauty on my doorstep.

I’m not sure what will replace it until the garden opens again in the Spring… but I’ll keep you posted!

The Insanity of the Human Condition

crowd

Wisdom from Adyashanti worth repeating. Written before 2016.

“In no way can I deny the insanity of the human condition. And yet, because there’s so much insanity, so much unconsciousness, it’s possible that there’s also the other side of it.

Life is always balancing itself out.

So, while all of this is happening, there’s also this undercurrent of people all over the place who have a deep and profound interest in the ultimate nature of reality in themselves—and they are realizing it!

Not only is that now happening among a wider variety and number of human beings, it’s also happening more and more outside of hierarchical institutions.

I think there’s something within all of this, something very authentic, that’s breaking down the barriers between every person and our ideas of what a spiritual person is. It’s sort of a silent, quiet revolution that’s happening.

But even though there’s a lot of awakening, I don’t know if that means we’re at the dawn of some beautiful renaissance age or that the human species will totally selfdestruct. I can see it going either way.

I do think that in our deepest heart we don’t actually want to contribute to the insanity around us. Our nature is, if anything, to be a contributor to sanity and wholeness, to bringing that into manifestation.”

~ Adyashanti

May we stop contributing to the insanity around us, and come from our deepest heart.

Bring on the silent loving revolution towards wholeness.

Namaste

Awakening to What?

Those of us who see ourselves on a journey of self realization or spirituality, have a sense of awakening. But an awakening to what? I wonder if we all awaken to the same thing, or if we awaken to whatever we are ready to awaken to…

Whatever it is, when we find it we think “This is it!” But it is really so? Is it the final piece of the puzzle or just an other piece along the way that finds its rightful place?

woman in blue and white floral long sleeve shirt holding a round shaped puzzle

Photo by Wesley Carvalho on Pexels.com

As I reflect on my life there have been moments of awakening, when it seemed like my inner world and outer world launched into a new way of being. Yet, on reflection it is now clear that these have just been pieces of the puzzle.

These pieces connected to each other, yet they revealed only a part of a great unknown picture. Here are my reflections on my journey towards the unknown and the awakenings along the way.

Life Awakenings

I can only imagine what it must have felt like when I first discovered I was no longer in a dark and nourishing space merged with my mother. This experience is beyond my thinking,  but I can imagine how traumatic and profound it must have been becoming separate and in all that bright light!

The next awakening was when I learned who I was in relation to other things and people. My ego developed as I grew into a separate human being with preferences and beliefs. I learned how to get what I wanted, how to be in relationship with others. I created beliefs about who I was as a girl child, daughter, sister etc…

Not long after this revelation came, the waking up to feeling hurt when I didn’t get what I wanted, or when I was not seen in a way that I wanted to be seen, or when I felt abandoned and unloved. I believed that there was something wrong, and it was me. I wasn’t good enough. So I would try to be good and perfect.

This part lasted for quite some time. I continued to learn who I was in this world from those around me, and in the roles I played. I was looking outward for validation and love.

Then as an adult I awakened to the part of me that wanted to express herself fully. To slough off the conditioning and expectations of others. I started to look inward so I could find the real “me”, not through anyone else’s eyes, but through my own… Awakening to myself as a strong individual who mattered… Stepping into my own shoes and expressing myself to the world.
From not being good enough, I realized I was precious, unique and strong. I could make things happen! I took on challenges and overcame my fears. It was a period of tremendous personal growth.

Around then I began training to became a life coach. For the past 20 years I have worked with people to discover who they are as unique human beings who can overcome challenges and be their authentic best in the world.

Yet, this was not the end. From this place of self growth, confidence and expansion, an other kind of awakening started to unfold. One where I started to question who “I” was.

self inquiry

At a time when I was disillusioned with the competitive, self absorbed human beings around me, I fully embraced yoga and took my first yoga teacher training. Unlike a lot of yoga trainings nowadays, our practice was more than postures, sequencing and breath work. We had time for self reflection, we read yoga philosophy, and committed to following the eightfold path of Patanjali.

Through yoga I became aware that my personal “self” was made up of my thoughts and beliefs. The world around me mirrored my own perception of it.  I had been creating stories about who “I” (this “small self”) was. I had grown as a person, but had replaced stories of not being good enough, with new stories about all I could achieve and show the world.

A part of me still got caught in patterns of self-doubt, fear and worry. I also had moments of glory and immense satisfaction and had glimpses of the timeless beauty and mystery of being alive.

In yoga I felt drawn to the belief that we are all connected and share the same Source or Conscious Presence. When one says “namaste” in greeting and farewell, it means that one recognizes the light shining within each of us.  This inner light is our true spiritual Self.  We connect to something more that our human body and thinking mind. Whether we call it God, the Divine, Brahman, Source, Presence or the Universe. There is a part inside of all of us that is connected to an infinite beingness, that words can’t fully describe.

Then something happened. It was like the outer shell cracked and the gloriousness of what was within was revealed. From understanding in my mind, I experienced a overwhelming feeling of love and connection with my fellow human beings, animals and nature.  There is a deep sense of oneness that is profound, no matter what is happening in life. It is hard to put into words, because it feels beyond words.

If I were to try to use words, it was be something like a veil had been lifted to reveal what had always been there. It is something that once felt, can always be accessed.

The aum symbol of yoga symbolizes this seeing beyond the veil and embracing an unchanging reality of oneness with spirit or pure consciousness.

aum symbol with meaning

Finding Your Middle Ground

Finding your middle ground is the gateway to this awakening.  The starting point is when we take time to pause and become self aware. We begin, by simply learning to slow down and noticing what is going on inside: our thoughts, judgments, emotions, body sensations … and al the stories we make up about ourselves and the world around us.

I like to think of it as the phase of personal expansion and growth. Its a place of new perspectives, letting go of the past, and understanding and truly accepting ourselves as imperfect human beings.

We start to explore new aspects of ourselves, our passions and what gives us meaning in life. Taking time to pause and ask ourself the deep questions that we want to know the answers to, allows us to go beyond what we know in our mind and tap init the wisdom in our heart.

From this place of mindful awareness, we can come new insights into who we are beyond our beliefs and conditioning. Beyond our own small separate self.

With more compassionate self awareness, meditation and mindful living, a new way of seeing ourselves and the world unfolds.
We realize that we are not separate, but are connected to something so much bigger, and to each other.
We come to know that we are not the master of the universe, but are simply a part of it all.
There is no right or wrong, because we know that it’s our thoughts that make it so. Everything becomes as it is.
We stop resisting life, and begin to let go into its own flow.
We let go of ego and surrender to being small as we connect to the Source of being. From wanting to be somebody, we embrace being nobody.

Wherever we are on life’s path, we can open ourselves to new insights and awaken to a new way of expanded being.

As human beings perhaps our purpose is to awaken to what we are ready for, and to be open to surrendering to the next unknown.

Thank you for joining me on this journey to freedom.

Namaste

Seeing Stars

silhouette of trees and mountain under blue starry sky

Photo by Sindre Strøm on Pexels.com

“To attach oneself to a guru, an avatar, one religion, one creed, is to see the stars only. To put one’s faith in the Infinite Being and in its presence within the heart, is to see the vast empty sky itself. The stars will come and go, will disintegrate and vanish, but the sky remains.”  ~ Paul Brunton

Are you following certain stars and missing out on the vastness of the sky?

I think its human nature to get attached to some “thing” that we believe will show us the way, make things better, or fix us. And so we seek out the answer to our problem.

When we open up to the Source, Infinite Being or Divine within us, and the sky beyond the stars, problems dissolve and we become a part of it all.

Namaste

Where Would you Choose to Sit?

Over the past several weeks I have been walking in Chanticleer Gardens, near me in Wayne PA. Every time I venture out I have my iPhone 8 at the ready … and it seems to capture the colors, contours, shadows and perspectives pretty well.

I don’t see myself as a photographer, but I have been taught to have an artistic eye. Recently, I have not only wanted to represent what is before me, but also to appreciate different perspectives, shades, patterns and dynamics that are taking place.

So, these last few visits I have asked myself – where would I like to sit? As I brought new awareness to seats, I noticed so many more in tucked away corners as well as overlooking lovely vistas.

Where would you choose to sit?