Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Miracle of Mindfulness


Thich Nhat Hanh - An introduction to the practice of meditation







Observation and Contemplation...

This morning I wondered or contemplated  (as I swept each hair off the floor).  "Ahimsa and  the non-judgement aspect of this concept".

Where is the line drawn between an observation and judgement.  

For me being "judge mental" seems like a mental activity.  Hence not much compassion is involved  in the process.  The words of Mother Theresa resonate: "when we judge we have no time to love, where there is love there is no space for judgment".  

Observing could be like saying:  "I take a certain route or path to travel between two points".  So sharing this with another  they suggest an alternative path.   In my thoughts or in my mind I process either with more questions on this 'suggestive' path or with a "judge mental" response in thoughts and words.  It could be that "oh I don't want to go the suggestive way cos etc etc etc".  Here we pause and see if a "fear" is the basis or is there some intuitive guidance.   Seeing this within oneself is a daily practice that slowly builds "ahimsa" or the non judgmental/non violent way of relating with self and the others.   Fear is as much a part of living as breath is.  Through the awareness of each we develop courage and strength. 

I understand the "ahimsa" as the action one takes.  It is doing what is mine to do.  The judgment are the thoughts that underpin or motivate the action.  

The unraveling continues, each moment becomes lighter, the clarity comes with contemplation, introspection, and expresses as "ahimsa".

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Celebration of the life of a ’soul'.

What is the 'illusion' in life?  Is a soul born into the body of its choice?  I will go with this premise that the soul chooses a body for two reasons.  The first to clear its karma from past lives and secondly to have a vehicle in which to travel in this life.  Does the soul choose the gender? Is the gender simply to carry on the propagation of the humans? This might get clear in ones' contemplation.

This whole narrative is based on my contemplation.  

In the first seven years the the soul develops the conditioning and filters through which he or she identifies with a specific gender.  The personality of the gender in this world, along with its' purpose, becomes hard wired through the familial, cultural and the societal norms.  Combined with the stories from the past life or lives, a 'disharmony' or struggle is felt by some children.  Why by some and not why others, this could depend on the disparity between what the soul came to fulfill and its outer layers,  the personality.  Proportionally the lesser this disparity the less inner struggle is felt by the individuals as they go through life.

Looking at ourselves as adults we bring attention to our own perception of the world, seen through the hard wired conditionings, our filters.  Seeing ourself in all its ‘biases', is the first step in accepting who we are, and how did we become who we are.  

Its like coming to a cross road, where we can choose to change our path and hence our story and narrative changes.  

Staying with the unknown, or on a path where we can watch our own actions and reactions, our 'way of being' is the first step and maybe the next and the next…  

Sometimes we rush to replace our ‘stories’, we meet someone who ‘inspires’ us on our journey, or we feel scared not having a ‘direction’ or a ‘point to view’ on our life path, and latch onto the first thing that gives a sense of security.  This can be a false sense of security possibly become an entanglement, and does not meet the objective of ‘clearing’ the way for us to feel and know our purpose.  

A journey of exploration is to be undertaken by each person, a journey by oneself and into the self.  The idea is to watch ourself in various situations, interactions and relationships, and to be able to see that it is all 'only our perception’.

An interesting occurrence begins to happen.  as we watch our hard wired conditioning and filters, we also find they begin to lose their stronghold on us.  This gives us an opportunity to see our 'soul', and in this seeing our 'purpose that we came to fulfill starts to appear'.  We begin to feel 'aligned'. 

‘Doing what is mine to do; doing which comes from the heart (the home of the soul); with no attachment to personal success and failure; and sharing the gains of success with all', becomes the path to follow.  

We break the karmic cycle.  Life continues to move, we leave the world a better place.  



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Partnership have beginnings and sometimes end

Through the knowing of what unbalances us, we develop ways of rebalancing.  

We come to know ourselves by seeing our thoughts, emotions, and feelings that arise in our relating and in situations that don't affect us directly. 

Knowing one "self" is like the "raft" that rides on the "river of life". 

Partners, the true ones, know what unbalances their "ship".  When we decide to climb on the one ship called relationship or partnership, keep your raft alongside.  Time to time get on that raft and allow yourself the space to "re familiarize" with your "self", to again find the balance within.  You will return to continue the partnership.  

Sometimes the one or the other decide that the partners are not in balance.  Discuss the strategies for rebalancing the relationship. Give it your heart, as it is yours to do, allow and encourage the other to sail their own "raft".  

Both will know in their honesty that the time to end the partnership is imminent. Then working within the guidelines of the Yama and the Niyamas, find the strength and the courage to end the partnership.  

Take time for the closure.  Endings and closures are rarely simultaneous.  During the closure be patient with yourself.  And release the other with grace and blessings. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pratyahara in daily living

In yoga terms pratyahara is the ‘withdrawal of the senses.’  It is considered one of the eight limbs of yoga as passed down in the teachings of Sri Patanjali.  Pratyahara allows one to move into the area where the next step is that we begin to notice or see the "fluctuations of the mind".  

Yoga when practiced within the context of the 8 limbs of Yamas , Niyamas , Asanas, Pranayama , Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi, encourages us to bring the underlying essence, called peace/liberation/source/oneness etc.,  into our daily living.  

So what is Pratyahara?
We can begin to look into the two components of Pratyahara, withdrawal and senses.  The five senses as we know in the physical or gross body /realm are seeing, hearing, touch, taste and smell.  These senses are directly connected to the organs of the body.  Indirectly these senses combine to create other sensations e.g sense of balance, temperature, pressure, pain etc.  

So how could  one withdraw from the 'senses' and which are the various techniques developed to bring about such withdrawal.  All humans might be similar in their feelings, thoughts and their expression but at the same time understanding the amazing complexity, which is to be human and we realize that "different strokes for different folks" is not a cliche.   

Returning back to Pratyahara.  Withdrawing from the senses is not the same as "shutting out", instead it begins with the  "opening" of the awareness of the senses.  Acknowledging each of the senses and their underlying complexity we look for an anchor that would hold us when we withdraw the senses.   The anchor replaces the continuous chatter of the mind.  Use of breath awareness in the inhales and the exhales, keeping attention on a candle flame, picture of a deity or a mantra, are some of the examples of such an anchor.   The anchor begins to build the mind muscle that allows us to ‘focus.’  

Here we begin to see why do we need to practice "Pratyahara?"    We live in a world where our time is rationed.   Sometimes the conflicting demands on the time does not allow us the luxury of savoring and lingering or just taking "our sweet time".  We are not able to process our experiences, instead we skim on the surface, moving from one ‘excited’ state to another.  

Being continuously ‘connected’ has its downside of not having a free moment unless we consciously turn off the cell phones and other media.  Even with this disconnection our minds have a challenge, the mind is a highway of racing thoughts.  

So where can one look for, to create a feeling of "timelessness"?  Besides  the vacation, daydreaming, and visualization, which itself generally happens at the cost of time, practicing Pratyahara seems to be a sustainable mode of being.   Regular practice builds a conscious awareness, which allows one to focus on the task/moment and not be bogged down by the emotional energy of what happened and will happen in another moment or hour.  It develops the Zen way of being here and now.   We begin to connect the dots of life and living by understanding Pratya.hara. 

Life unfolds each moments and the best laid plans have no strength to withstand this unpredictability of life.  
Our drives and desires.  Hungers and conflict begin to become a little more clear when we understand not only our physiology,  but the senses and their workings.  
A space or a pause starts to be felt   This pause is the freedom we all seek.  For some its the peace of mind.