Life Lessons: Aparigraha (non-grasping)

meditation treeI am as far as one can get from being an urban yoga practitioner. My husband and I choose to live a life of voluntary simplicity in a semi remote location. We waste not and want not.  As we chose to drop out of the consumer driven society and are unimpressed with the unrelenting advertising that assails and assaults us when traveling to the city, we are uncomfortable when evidence of misguided yoga connected marketing success shows up on our shore. Continue reading

Re-energizing After a Lay-Off

energyEveryone is familiar with energy drain. Researchers are studying the links between what we eat, how we work and live and how we feel.  There are different kinds of fatigue and different ways to improve your energy level.  How do you know if your low energy is caused by underlying disease or is the result of lifestyle factors, stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, or normal aging? Continue reading

8 Fibromylagia Therapies

People with fibromyalgia experience a range of symptoms of varying intensities that wax and wane. Those symptoms are usually invisible to others  and many people with fibromyalgia push themselves too far until they trigger collapse.  What’s  key to well-being for people with fibromylagia is  taking charge of their own health,  employing  effective therapies,  learning how to cope,  and maintaining a positive attitude. Continue reading

Finding the God of your understanding

My friend Juliana is a remarkable woman in recovery from alcoholism. Juliana has been in recovery for many years and helps other women to get the life they truly deserve because there is only one life, ‘it ain’t no practice run’. In her blog she shares her spiritual journey, and in her most  recent article she describes her construct of the God of her understanding.

I was told that I needed to find a power greater than myself, a God of my own understanding. Oh bother, I was stumbling at the first fence. As a cradle catholic, and years of subjugation and church attendance, I had no more idea of God than the man in the moon. … Nowadays, I choose to call my higher power, God; and I have developed a different understanding, one that works for me. – Finding God

Two of many constructs of God

bible and gavelA masculine construct of God calls one to adhere to God the Father’s laws. It includes the concept that God commands all to obey his laws, and at the end of time will ultimately punish unbelievers sending them to a  living hell, but will forgive and reward believers with eternal life in heaven with him.  This construct is embraced by those who say their understanding of God comes from reading the Bible.

skyA feminine construct of God calls one to be aware that for every thought and action there is a reaction, a consequence, an outcome regardless of the law.  Those who embrace this construct of God say their understanding of God is comes from their experience that the universal laws of nature are impersonal. Reactions are outcomes flowing from natural law (karma) ie. the result of their own past actions and present doings and not punishment or reward from God.

My construct of God

woman in contemplationMy understanding of God does not come from scripture. I don’t think we humans can ever have a true understanding of the nature of God until we recognize we are in charge of our selves and nothing more. When I reached the point in my life where I recognized I had no control over anything or anyone but myself, I came to understand that God was in everyone and everything.

Once I freed my mind from grasping and following every transient thought I experienced in meditation, I  awakened, became conscious and experienced bliss.

I started seeing nature  and the world in the way I had seen  nature as a child, stripped clean of the religious brainwashing I received.  God was in the sunlight, the clouds, rainbows,  the ocean, the forests, the meadows,  flowers and snow topped mountains.

When bliss descends, the insecurity of the heart, the frustration of the mind, the depression of the vital and the limitation of the body disappear. A seeker, an aspiring soul, carries with him two divine weapons: God-love and world-embrace. When we love God from the very depths of our hearts, we feel that our inner existence is inundated with bliss. And when we embrace the world as a divine manifestation of God, again our inner being is inundated with bliss. — Scri Chinmoy

God was within me and the experience of homecoming; the experience of  bliss that moved me beyond words. The God of my understanding is pure consciousness and my purpose in life was revealed to me.

To live consciously and courageously in the now moment, to resonate with love and compassion, and to leave this world in peace.

Below is my comment on Juliana’s  article which contains a description of my seeking and finding the God of my own understanding.

I too love the ocean in all weather and in all seasons. I also love the forest just as much. I live on a small forested island so I’m continually witnessing and influenced by the ever-changing face of the ocean and the tides, and the changes within the forest too.

I think the construct of God refers to a person’s cognitive or theological understanding of God and that the God construct develops is two ways. The first way is through what an individual has been taught and told to believe about God. The second is by what the individual experiences and attributes to the God of their own understanding.

When what an individual is taught and told to believe about God and what they experience are not internally consistent they may become spiritual seekers. I became a spiritual seeker and I too found the God of my own understanding.

As I sought I began to draw even more distinctions based on what I was taught and told to believe about God, and what I learned about God through my own experiences. As a trod the spiritual path I came to realize that my mind was not the tool to analyze God. I came to believe more and more deeply with even greater conviction that I need to let go of constructs of God and simply experience all there was just as it was. So I did that. I learned how to just be and how to be okay with just being.

Over time I developed my own construct of God which is quite different from the God I was taught about and told to believe in as a child. Based on my own experience through meditation I found the God of my understanding deep within me. succinctly stated I believe God is LOVE and when I meditate I feel like I am coming home to God.

My construct of God is neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is God – LOVE. Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on being LOVE.

I believe I have only one life in this body at this point in time, but it’s possible that the essence of me may be returned to live in a new body without a recollection of previous lives, until I stop clanging like a cymbal, and actually become one with God – one with the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all – one with LOVE.

That being said I find the most difficult part of my life is to be still within, at peace and one with God when I am in the company of others. However, when I am in nature and sitting on the beach watching the waves roll in, or when I am in the forest seated on a mossy stump I am still within, at peace, and one with my construct of God. In other words, what I struggle with is remaining in that loving and peaceful state once I leave meditation.

Have you found the God of your understanding?

Yoga, Aging, Intimacy & Sexuality

thekissTouching is a vital human need and an essential ingredient for healthy relationships. Studies have shown that without touching, many animals – including humans – will die in childhood. Being caressed also lowers blood pressure and releases natural opiates in the brain, as well as the chemical oxytocin, which is essential for human pair-bonding. Continue reading

Yogic breathing exercises reduce pain and depression

image of meditatorToday I was reading ScienceDaily and noticed a new entry that will be of interest to those who do suffer from chronic pain and depression. I found this report to be very interesting because I have been using Yogic breathing and Buddhist breathing and mindfulness exercises for over 20 years now to control my own pain and to cope with the depression that chronic pain leads to. In fact I have been sharing my practices in this blog. Continue reading

Life Eternal: The Great Cosmic Joke

This post was inspired by and includes the words of my friend

Tony Hogan, The Acoustic Guitarist

Men have argued about the nature of God and life after death since the beginning of time. The next time someone asks you if you believe in life after death please consider this:

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

The Dream, is the underlying element in Jnana Yoga or Advaitism. The Universe is a dream in the mind of God and, God plays all parts and pretends that God is not God.

The One becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, and throughout out time ( I use that term loosely) puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

The journey from self to SELF, is the journey, where God gradually shakes off the ignorance and reclaims the Divinity, or basically is conscious of his/her/its Divine Reality – LOVE.

Thus, the smile on the Buddha’s face.

God is also a process. The mind is not the tool to analyze God, never was, never will be, it has limitations. God has to be experienced, not dissected by the limited human mind. So really, God hasn’t gone anywhere, done anything, but is still seated in the same spot and has dreamed him/her/itself as ignorance.

Why?

The ONE becomes many to experience LOVE. It is nothing but a quest for LOVE, throughout out time (I use that term loosely), the ONE puts on the garb of billions of beings to experience this.

I don’t cogitate,  I meditate and when all the things associated with my “self” like greed, anger, hate, etc. dissolve there is no self; there is no distinct being that is separate from God – LOVE.

Neither male nor female, neither good nor bad, neither light nor darkness but containing all there is and situate everywhere: the universal stream of consciousness flowing through all is  God – LOVE.  Hence, God is found in everyone and in everything; God just keeps on experiencing LOVE.

We have only one life in this body at this point in time, but again and again, we return to live in a new body with no recollection of previous lives, until we stop clanging like cymbals, and actually become  ONE – LOVE.

I have twice been declared dead but have come back to life. I no longer fear death and no longer question what my life purpose is. I know that I am meant to LIVE,  LOVE  and LEARN and that’s why I’m here.

I know the lesson before me is to conquer  egocentricity and  experience freedom from attachments and aversions in meditation.

I know in my heart of hearts — I am meant to teach as well as to learn.

Death is a transition; it’s a new beginning. After my life in this body is over, I will return again to this earthly plane, with no knowledge of any past lives, and I will be faced with more lessons to learn and more to teach. Until I have learned all my lessons perfectly and taught them all perfectly, and I have become ONE – LOVE, I will return again and again.

Perhaps we all have eternal life and most have no recollection of past lives and that’s the great cosmic joke.

Not everyone has loved me in my past lives. Not everyone will love me in this life or in my future lives either. I have I not loved nor will I love everyone either but that’s okay, because at our core we are all much more the same than we are different.

Yoga Exercises for Improving Eyesight

green eyeI have been a yoga practitioner for over thirty years and yoga practitioners attach special importance to eye exercises, for two reasons. Many eye problems in later life are due to a loss of tone in the eye muscles. These muscles become rigid, and this loss of elasticity reduces the ability of the lens of the eye to focus at different distances. It also causes the eyesight to become weaker. These exercises tone the eye muscles up and keep them elastic. Continue reading