Every moment is wholly a matter of now Not what you say more a matter of how Leave your tumultuous past in this sacred vow Insight is a path leading to unending WOW!! Going on forever beyond sunset and final bow Headlong into whatever you choose to allow This peace a gift you willingly endow Each step a test don’t let it raise a brow Nothing can splinter this practiced bough Moreover is our dedication to this sacred Tao Enlightenment in “Om” even heard in a cat’s meow None is above you or rather holier than thou To this I surrender and commence to kowtow
As I have said in previous postings, this tradition uses the word Realize (as opposed to transcend) because we are waking up to our Truth–our Real Nature.
About a year ago, my meditation practice began to shift. I felt a burning desire to affirm to Consciousness my desire to assist others develop a meditation practice. There were several factors contributing to this pull: I wanted to feel more “authentic”, I was unhappy with the direction I found many asana classes going in, and I was driven by the peace I find when I go inside–even during a seemingly lackluster sitting. Over the course of the year, spaces opened up and I was propelled from leading a casual workshop to several, then to multiple weekly classes and then this blog–which I am so fortunate to share with The Love of my Life.
As space (not really free time) has presented itself in my schedule, it has also presented itself in my heart. Coaching is propelling me into a place of intense devotion (bhava) to the teachings and teachers which have given me so much. Furthermore, it has forced me to raise the standards I hold myself too. I was inconsistent. I used to feel that I could not sit still, I could not quiet my mind (which I have relinquished trying to do), and I could not go deeply into meditation. But, as I began to share my passion, I found the committment (virya–notice the similarity to virility) that I had previously lacked. Merely (but, again not easily) having a modicum of accountability to others lit a fire under my rear.
My husband often says, “even if you practice serving other for selfish reasons, it raises the vibration of everything”. When I began this endeavor, Iwanted to feel more authentic, I was unhappy with classes, I wanted to share my perspective on peace– it wasn’t about The Tradition is was about me…
Wow, I still have so much more undoing to do. As my beloved Swami J reminds me, this practice is about setting aside the false identities. Practice makes proficient–we are already perfect. We just have to Realize it.
Together we make
spirit, a work of culinary art
You are a most special treat
Love is the source of sweet
Your glowing face
is just the icing on the cake
or rather your home-made heart
Giving us all we could eat
Can I have the recipe?
Or better yet, stay with me
And teach me how to bake!
The story of a world saved,
a man holding our hand
Guiding us with a new way of thinking
and a great sacrifice made
His love song began
With a star, sweet parents, wise men,
and salvation born on a manger’s floor
a great awakening unto man
a blossoming of consciousness like never before
a brighter light shone on God’s plan
He lived a life worthy of our praise
An example for you and I to follow
his encircling arms, and lasting embrace
a reminder that we are full, perfect, and not hollow
We are children of the sacred, armed with trust and light
The story of our life is whatever we make it
so let us give thanks and let our spirits take flight
with the transcendent joy in his story writ
a time spanning classic of love at first sight
It tried to leave me,
but can the liver leave its heart behind?
it looked in the mirror,
used its two eyes to see me,
what looked back was a good man,
with a smile so kind
Made peace with it all
and am so happy to be me
embracing the lovely
That is my being combined.
Writing the story thoughtfully
of man and god, intertwined
Currently, relaxation is not our intrinsic state. Perhaps it was at birth; however, it is obscured by all of our obligations and expectations–my twelve year-old is already being told his math scores, now, may affect his collegiate endeavors… Talk about a catalyst for tension!
However, I subscribe to the idea that our reaction to stress has to do with our perspective. I believe, as do many other renowned professionals, we can make stress our friend. The reality is “relaxation is a skill unto itself” (Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati). What does that mean, relaxation is a skill? Let me elaborate…
…Notice the anxiety planning a vacation can induce, observe the fidgeting of a “restless leg” at dinner, or witness the unconscious clenching of our jaw while lying in bed at night… all times when we are supposedly relaxed. We haven’t been trained to relax, to really let go, to really set down.
One problem is we aren’t really in our bodies; do you feel your fingers pressing on your tablet, do you feel your foot on the gas pedal? We are outside in the world of the senses, stimulation, and flux. Our stress reaction partially comes from being “outside” of our true center which is not subject to change, corruption, and decay.
In this tradition, the physical body is not viewed as something other than the self– it is viewed as a layer that has its origins in the eternal. Therefore, the physical body needn’t be deprived by extreme measures–nor inundated with sensuality. The physical body must become a participant on the inward journey.
Pratyahara, sense withdrawal, is the process of disengaging ourselves from our sensory experience. We move from being outside in our experience to being in our own body. Hence the need to dim he lights and seek a quiet place to relax or meditate. Using music or “white noise” is still stimulation– this is using an extrinsic source to “feel” relaxed. Ultimately, relaxation must come from within.
Postural practice (yoga poses), asana, can assist with getting “in” the body. However, many practitioners feel that this is the apical experience of yoga– it’s only a preliminary one. After asana practice, the body is prepared for profound relaxation– this relaxation is essential to deep, sustained meditation.
Complete Relaxation is a beautiful way to work on entering into this state. It is an approach of moving through the body and not ignoring it. It is a beautiful finale to a postural practice. It can be practiced alone or in preparation to a seated practice. For a beginner, it is a way to increase your time in stillness– while satisfying the need to have a little stimulation.
This seems like a paradox; relaxing to meditate. It isn’t so antithetical– imagine trying to sit and meditate if you’re agitated and distracted. Once you are able to establish a relaxed state, a regular meditation practice reduces this inclination toward a negative stress response.