Burning Away the Impurities

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Yoga Sutra II-1: Accepting pain as help for purification, study of spiritual books, and surrender to the Supreme Being constitute Yoga in practice.

Translated and expounded upon by Sri Swami Satchidananda:

“Anything burned out will be purified. The more you fire gold, for example, the purer it becomes. Each time it goes into the fire, more impurities are removed…

“But how can this burning process be effected with our mental impurities? By accepting all the pain that comes to us, even though the nature of the mind is to run after pleasure. We will actually be happy to receive pain if we keep in mind its purifying effects. Such acceptance makes the mind steady and strong because, although it is easy to give pain to others, it is hard to accept it without returning it. Such self-discipline obviously cannot be practiced in our meditation rooms but only in our daily lives as we relate with other people.

“…If tapas (self-discipline, effort, internal fire) is understood in this light we will look forward to pain; we will even thank people who cause it as giving us the opportunity to steady our minds and burn out impurities.”

Is there anyone you are upset with for hurting you, either recently or long ago? If so, can you silently thank them for the opportunity to learn and grow and mean it? I encourage you to give it a try. Remember to breathe in Love and breathe out Peace. Each time we practice forgiveness, we also extend Love to our Selves. Have a beautiful day!

Namaste.

 

 

The Difference Between Giving Up and Letting Go

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Here in the United States, we have a very NEVER GIVE UP! attitude. Work hard, play hard, do it all and BE it all!

It’s difficult at times to say, ‘I can’t,’ or ‘I need help.’ There’s an intrinsic misbelief that if we admit we struggle, we will be seen as a failure – to others AND ourselves. Living in such a fast-paced country (and world), it becomes hard to distinguish between what we KNOW is really best for us vs. giving in to what the ego perceives as a successful and meaningful existence. But what is each of our definitions of success based on?

We are all born with an intuition. Unfortunately I think we begin to lose that insight into what is right for us, little by little, from the mixed messages we receive from advertising, society’s preoccupation with fame and fortune, peer pressure, perhaps our parents’ hopes for us, and in other subconscious ways.

So if you’re like me, you may wake up in a cold sweat one day in your late 30s with a sinking despair.. a feeling of, ‘Nothing feels right anymore!’ Perhaps you begin a meditation practice to explore these feelings further. You dig deeper and deeper, slowly uncovering that intuition that has been hidden deep inside of you. It may take time, but this intuition may cause you to ‘wake up.’ Sometimes that means ending relationships, moving to another part of the country, or deciding to embark on a completely new career (or all of the above!).

So how do you know if you’re giving up or actually just letting go of that which no longer serves you?

I personally believe that letting go is no longer holding on to the concept of how things ‘should’ be and accepting the truth of how things really are. This takes enough clarity to be brutally honest with yourself, which takes time and an upheaval of emotions to sort through.

Letting go is trust in both yourself and the Universe that everything will be, and already is, okay. MORE than okay. Everything will work out exactly how it is supposed to, and everything you need is already within you. Truly. What a relief, huh?

Think about it: new beginnings are often disguised as endings, which is why we feel sad, afraid, angry, defeated. It’s important to honor those feelings, but we must let them go or else they will poison us and hold us back. Sometimes writing your uncomfortable feelings down and having a burning ceremony is helpful. In watching the words drift up and out into the Universe, we can envision our hearts doing the same, as we connect with Source.

Sometimes we have to let people go to find their own way. This doesn’t mean we stop caring; instead, we make a decision to accept things for exactly the way they are instead of how we wish them to be. This is not giving up! It’s an action of Love, for others and yourself. Can you see the difference? When things feel difficult, we practice exhaling attachment, fear and control, and breathe in love. We allow gratitude to wash over us and remember that everything is temporary, whether it’s a relationship, a job, an unrealistic expectation, or the way you have always identified with the world. We and everyone and everything around us is constantly changing, evolving. We close our eyes and envision ourselves no longer resisting, relaxing instead into the flowing waves of life.

We give ourselves permission to move forward without that which no longer serves us. It isn’t that it no longer matters, we just cannot take it with us. And when we let go, we lighten our load so we may run, skip, dance and sing joyously into the beautiful Unknown that awaits us.

Namaste. ॐ

Where are you?

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Right this moment. Where are you? Your physical self may be at work or school, at home or a coffee shop. But where are You?

What are you thinking about; fretting, worrying, obsessing, becoming preoccupied with? Close your eyes and explore.

Are you even aware of your breath as your chest rises and falls, or the tension you’re holding in, say, your right shoulder?

Do you notice the dust motes dancing in the sunlight that filters in through the window? Can you hear the birds chirping outside?

There is no past.

There is no future.

Both only exist in your mind.

That is Truth.

Revel in today; gently prepare for tomorrow…let go of yesterday and its hurts and disappointments, for they are gone. Smile and be grateful for lessons learned, even when they have been painful. Get on the rollercoaster without hesitation, buckle your seatbelt, and scream your head off with delight along the way. This is one hell of a ride, and I want to soak up each moment, each experience…allowing this Life to mold me like clay into a beautiful, unique work of art.

Don’t you?

Namaste.

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The Real You

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Please take a short four minutes this morning to watch a beautiful message from the profound Alan Watts. I promise you will experience this day differently if you do.

The light, the Divine within me, honors the light and the Divine within you. We are all One.

Namaste.

 

p.s. Thank you Mr. Morgan for making my morning by sharing this with me!

Become an Observer

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There is nobody on the planet, neither those whom we see as the oppressed nor those whom we see as the oppressor, who doesn’t have what it takes to wake up. We all need support and encouragement to be aware of what we think, what we say, and what we do. Notice your opinions. If you find yourself becoming aggressive about your opinions, notice that. If you find yourself being nonaggressive, notice that. Cultivating a mind that does not grasp at right and wrong, you will find a fresh state of being. The ultimate cessation of suffering comes from that. Finally, never give up on yourself. Then you will never give up on others. Wholeheartedly do what it takes to awaken your clear-seeing intelligence, but one day at a time, one moment at a time. If we live that way, we will benefit this earth.-Pema Chodron

One of my continual intentions is to be responsive rather than reactionary whenever possible. I believe it is the Ego who reacts, with a knee-jerk defensiveness, quick to feel judged and anxious about not measuring up. But, if  you    p a u s e …..

…take a breath….observe how you feel….notice your breathing…

And explore, ‘Why do I feel this way?’, the Self has permission to respond – not with defenses up, not out of fear – but with love.

As we get older and (hopefully) wiser, we may find ourselves caring less and less about what others think about us. Five years ago I would have NEVER gone to the grocery store without my hair and makeup done or walked my dog in my pajamas. Now, however, I don’t think twice about doing either! And one of the beautiful benefits is that I find myself judging others less as well. I no longer have to measure up to anything, so there’s nothing/no one to compare myself to. Everyone is free to be exactly who they are. What a load off!

Another beautiful thing about learning to love yourself is that you find that energy resonating out to others. And when we put that energy out, we begin to receive it back. I began this year a little terrified about turning 40. But my year started with treating myself to a powerful Women’s Retreat, and since then I’m on a roll. I have never felt smarter, stronger, sexier, freer, than now. Coincidence? I think not. As we begin to let go of past hurts, resentments, judgments, fears….it literally shows. Both inside and out. So why wouldn’t I want to continue on this path of observing and letting go? It’s like letting go of a boulder I’ve been carrying around for years. Exhausting!

Now, when I feel judgment/impatience/irritability/fear creeping in, I try and make a genuine effort to explore why I feel that way, so I may respond instead of react.

“Do I truly feel this way or is it a leftover opinion of a parent?”

“Does this situation warrant a strong response, or is this similar to something that happened in a past relationship that I have not let go of?”

“Does this opinion/fear/statement of mine really serve me? Is it fair? Do I still feel that way?”

When we ask ourselves these questions, we chip away at the walls we’ve built up that no longer serve us. We are living consciously instead of out of habit. Waking up does not happen all at once. It is a slow process. I liken it to a budding flower in spring. We must first reach up out of the dirt before we can begin to unfold and reach toward the sky.

No longer living with blinders on is not just the first step, it may be the biggest one! It begins with simply observing.

What will you observe about your Self today?

Namaste.

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