Welcome

Please feel free to read this blog and join in. I hope you will write something inspirational, inspiring, spiritual, controversial, amusing, engaging or just plain run of the mill. But please don't be brusque, churlish or licentious.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Year

A new year is coming, so they say.  

There are hopes and dreams

that things will be better on that day.

There is no way to tell for sure

because there is no future and no past.

Only now and the present last.   

 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Who's in Control - You or Your Brain?

When you have a thought such as "I am going to raise my arm," you can either raise your arm or not raise you arm. You can have the thought but you don't have to raise your arm if you don't want to. Try it. In one case, you raise your arm and in the other case you don't raise your arm. The thought is not what raises the arm.

In order for the arm to be raised there must be an impulse generated in the brain that sends an electrical charge to the target muscle. It takes approximately 0.5 seconds from the time the impulse is generated in the brain to when the arm is raised. The impulse in the brain is not the thought. Somehow the impulse is generated by something other than the thought.

If the thought doesn't cause the arm to be raised what does? In researching all of the available data available to me it seems that nobody, and I mean nobody, knows. Does the "spark" that causes the arm to be raised come from somewhere in the brain that hasn't been discovered?  Does it come from the unconscious mind?  Does it come from outside the brain?

To me there seems to be an underlying unity in that everything is connected with everything else.  I agree that the brain's activity and the raising of the arm seem to be two separate events when looked at from the explicate level of observation. But deep down there is no difference. The composition of everything is the same and it all flows together as one total unit. There is no them and us. 

Whatever the case it certainly seems that you are not hostage to your brain. You are not your brain.  You are greater and beyond the brain and its activities. Basically, no one is in control.













Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Antenna to the Cosmos



There are around 100 billion neurons in your brain.  Some of those neurons are short (0.1 mm) while others are long (10 mm). The average neuron is about 5 mm long. So, 100 billion times 5 mm equals 500,000,000,000 mm, or 500,000,000 meters, or 500,000 kilometers (km).


One km = 0.62 miles. So, If you were to lay those neurons end to end you can see that you have about 310,000 miles worth of nerve cells (neurons) in your brain. That is long enough to go around the world 13 times or reach to the moon and 1/3 of the way back.


That makes for a very long antenna.  And it is all wrapped up in a neat package inside your skull. Your brain is a marvelous organ. It is responsible for thinking, interpreting senses, and running the body. But it can also transmit and send signals to and from the cosmos (the mind field).  Don't underestimate the power of your mind. Through meditation you can learn to extend your consciousness beyond the mind-body machine and into the cosmic mind-field.

Send something to the cosmos and you will receive something back. Positive out, positive back. Negative out, negative back.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

You are Not the Body

Cells are constantly coming and going. From one cell, the body you call you becomes billions of cells. Your body is not the same it was five years ago. However, you maintain the same identity of "you", the perception that you are the same body from year to year.

Watch this video and you will see what I mean.  http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=E8nJhG1xE5o

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Life and Death

   The fret over death is a universal worry. It crosses all boundaries, sects, religions, races, and beliefs. The fear of death is probably the number one underlying reason for all other fears. The fear of loneliness, nothingness, and helplessness, all, more or less, stem from the fear of death itself.

But what is death? For the pragmatist death is basically the cessation of all bodily functions. When heart and breathing stop and there are no brain waves, the individual is usually said to be dead. What happens after that is fodder for much debate. But let's not be pragmatic.  Let's delve deeper into the question of death by looking at the other side of the coin.

What better way to look at death than to look at life? When a flower blooms it is saying, "Look, I am over here. Don't I smell and look nice?" And when its egg is fertilized by a male flower's pollen grain, a seed is produced. Basically you might say that the life of the flower is over. It has lost its bodily function and has wasted away.

The seed falls to the ground and stays dormant until the right conditions present themselves. Stems, leaves, and roots begin to sprout. The seed is no longer a seed, its life is over. A young plant slowly grows into a mature plant producing flowers. Botanists call this process the life cycle of the plant.

Where is your physical body in the cycle of life? Just because the body stops functioning doesn't mean that you are dead. You, the true you, sprouts into something new and different. There is no end to the cycle. Don't worry and don't fret. Life is not over just because the body wastes away.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are Mind and Brain the Same Thing?

The brain is an organ inside your skull. It weighs about 4lbs. and is the size of two fists. The brain is a marvelous thing and is certainly responsible for consciousness, thinking, and running the body.

The mind is not as easy to describe or explain as the brain because it is not a tangible entity. The mind cannot be weighed, measured, or dissected. Many neuroscientists, doctors, psychologists, and lay people say that the brain and the mind are the same thing while others say they are not.

People who say they are not the same point out the fact that there have been people declared brain dead with flat electroencephalograms (EEG's) who have come back alive and described in detail what was going on in the hospital room while their body was lying there. If the brain is not functioning how in the world could the "dead person" know what was going on if there isn't a larger component to consciousness?

There is even more evidence to suggest that the mind extends beyond the brain. Have you ever been thinking of something and someone near you mentions the subject you were thinking about?  I know I have. My wife and I do it all the time. Sometimes you don't even have to be close to the person. It can happen over long distances.

Some say that the mind is within the cosmos and the brain is an antenna wound tightly inside a compact skull. The brain communicates with the cosmos and the cosmos in turn with the brain. This may be how prayers work.

I lean toward the idea that the mind and the brain are not the same thing. I believe that the mind extends beyond the physical brain and encompasses everything. I believe the brain is simply a small component of the total "mind field." 


Sunday, December 9, 2012

It Just Is

There seem to be objects within space as you look out over the landscape.  That is; there are things like trees, houses, clouds, animals, and so on, and between the objects is space. But what you see is not necessarily what is. Objects and space are made of the same stuff - energy. 

Let's take a quick look at the quantum level of this energy stuff.  "Quantum" means the minimal amount possible of any physical aspect. In quantum physics a photon is the minimal amount in which light can be reduced.  A quark is the minimal amount in which matter can be reduced. Then there are things called leptons and gluons.  But the question remains - What are these infinitesimally small particles made of? 

All of this is fine and dandy when dealing with the physical world of "reality." Objects, space, photons, quarks, etc. are nothing more than concepts constructed from what scientists believe to be true about the physical world at the present time. One hundred years from now what will the concepts be?

Leave all of this "stuff" behind and step into pure awareness.  There you will find the answer to what is. That is, if you want to find out. Not everyone does. Anything you can see, touch, smell, feel, taste or imagine is a manifestation of the mind. Leave the mind behind and see what remains.

In order to leave your mind behind you must first be able to observe thoughts. Thoughts originate from the mind so if you become the witness of your thoughts you will understand that you are not your thoughts. You cannot be something that you observe because you are the one doing the observing.

Form an image in your mind such as an apple or the face of a friend.  Notice you are not the image but the one observing the image. You have become the witness of your thought . 

If you can observe thoughts; ask yourself, "Who is doing the observing?"  And then observe the observer - you.  And what remains?  Some people report having an experience of nothingness while others notice that they are being observed by something greater - more vast and expansive than a simple observer.

Whatever you may experience when going beyond the observer is anything but objects, space, and energy. It may be called the "Absolute" or the "Divine."  It is beyond your mind and your body. It is beyond consciousness and even beyond an experience. It just is.










Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Very Short Course in Meditation


Read the following and then do it:


1. Sit in a quiet space and close your eyes.

2. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  Do this two more times.

3. Focus on the tip of your nose and feel your breath coming in and going out.

4. When you are aware of thinking, bring your focus back to your breath.

That's it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mind-Body Machine

When your father's sperm fertilized your mother's egg you became one cell and that one cell divided, continued to divide and finally grew into a body. Once born a mind came into existence. Today you might identify the body and mind as who you are - the mind-body machine.  Do you think you are the machine?  Take a deep look within the core of your being and see if it is true.

We often believe we are the body and the mind.  It keeps telling us what we did, what we experienced and what we expect to happen in the future. Rarely does the machine come into the present moment. If it does come into the present moment it doesn't stay there long. It is not the nature of the machine to stay in the moment because it has been programed to think of the past and look to the future. It believes it is too boring and useless to be in the present moment.

Attachment to the mind-body machine is very strong.  It takes courage and resolution to go beyond it. Courage because one must have a brave heart and resolution because it doesn't happen over night. To look deep into one's core is like leaving home and leaving behind all possessions. Not everyone wants to and not everyone is even willing to attempt it. But going beyond the machine leaves behind all fears that have slowly crept in from birth to this present moment.

The fear of death, the fear of losing a loved one, the fear of losing money, the fear of the future, on and on permeates the mind-body. As long as you are attached to the mind-body machine this sickness must be experienced. There is no getting out of it unless you see the light that is beyond the machine. The light is the true you - the I Am - the Absolute.

You are present right here this very moment and are not confined to the machine.  Look deep within the core of your very being and you will discover nothing but infinite space and energy. When the mind and the body are gone you will remain. The space and the energy that is you is everywhere. You are everything and everything is you.

Everything is changing except the permanent you - the infinite space and energy. Even things that look permanent like rocks, trees, ocean, and even the sun are impermanent. When you find that impermanence in yourself there will be absolute peace and harmony with all beings and all things.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Meditation Practice

The practice of meditation should not be difficult or arduous. It should be enjoyable.
Meditation is a practice in which only the one doing the practice can decide how long and what type should be done. If it seems too long, it is too long. If it doesn't work, it's the wrong kind.

The moment you decide to begin to practice is the biggest step you take. The only thing left is to actually do it. No one can make you meditate and no one can tell you what type of meditation is best for you. It is your decision and yours alone.

To discover what is best for you - just do it. Sit, breathe, observe, explore, and discover. That's all you can do.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Should one practice?

Should you practice doing something?  Only if you want to become proficient at it.

So, I leave you with this quote and thought:

"If you do something because you should, then it is a real practice."
Shunryu Suzuki, Soto Zen monk and spiritual teacher
                           

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mindfulness

Tons of literature and videos have been published on mindfulness in recent years.  Scientific research has shown that the practice of mindfulness can help people with PTSD, decrease negative emotions, increase problem solving, decrease the effects of chronic stress, increase cellular viability, decrease brain deterioration, increase alpha power in the neocortex of the brain, decrease forgetfulness, increase concentration, decrease blood pressure, enhance awareness, and even increase intelligence.

Mindfulness is easy to learn, so why isn't everybody doing it?  Because it takes practice and it doesn't happen overnight. In the modern world of quick and instant, everybody wants immediate results.

I'm going to give you some quick and easy practices that you can do with no problem. What you do after that is up to you.

1. What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being in the present moment, not thinking of the past or the future, being right here, right now.  Enjoying every second of your precious life.

2. How do I practice mindfulness?

A) Take one raisin and smell it. Put it in your mouth and roll it around for one minute. Bite it into two pieces and continue rolling it around in your mouth. Bite it into four pieces. Let its taste "explode" in your mouth. Be aware of how your taste buds come alive and your saliva increases. When you swallow the raisin be aware of swallowing.

B) Sit for five minutes and focus on your breath going in and out of your nose. Feel your breath at the tip of your nose. Five minutes, that's all.

C) Go outside, on a clear night, and look up in the sky for two minutes.

D) Have a conversation with someone and really listen to what they are saying. Hear each word. Look them in the face and see if you can feel their concerns.

E)  Go from one room to another with the intention of getting one object like a shoe or a hat. As you are walking toward the room say, "I am going to get my shoe, I am going to get my shoe, I am going to get my shoe." Pick up the object and say, "I have my shoe."

F) Take a bath or shower and focus on what you are doing. Say to yourself things like, "The water is running now, I am washing my hair now, I am washing under my arms now, I am rinsing off now, I am stepping out of the bathtub now, I am drying off now."

 Take your new found awareness with you wherever you go. Create some new and wonderful ways to explore and practice being mindful. Most of all have fun.
    


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LIfe of Pi

Saw the movie Life of Pi yesterday. Not only is it a great movie, in my opinion, but it has quite a bit of symbolism in it. I don't want to give away the plot or anything but if you go to see it, see if you
notice the symbolism of the ocean = universe, boat = earth, animals = people in conflict with one another but in the same boat, boy = various religions, tiger vs. boy = inner conflict.  There are more but I don't want to give them away. But remember, this is only my interpretation. You may have an entirely different take on it.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Rest of Your LIfe

When I look at the sky, the grass, the trees,
I wonder how this all could be.
When I look at an ant, a human, an elephant,
it is a marvelous thing to me.
When I hear the sound of a whippoorwill,
smell Mother's bacon frying,
taste the eloquent nectar of dew,
I cannot explain it all.
But I do know how to walk through the forest,
lie down in the grass,
feel my breath.
What else can I do?
Please tell me if you can -
What are you going to do with the rest of your life?


  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Truth

Truth is in front of you,
It is behind you,
It is above you,
It is below you,
It is on either side of you,
It is inside of you.
Bask in the truth.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happiness and Sadness

Happiness is merely an emotion that elicits endorphins
Sadness is merely an emotion due to the lack of serotonin

When you are happy or sad, close your eyes and go deep inside
See if you can feel the emotion and sense its presence
Bring total awareness to the feeling and notice where it resides

Is it in your toes, in your nose?
Is it in your head or a capillary bed?
Is it in your heart or another body part?

Be very quiet and sit a little longer
Don't you feel it now? It's a little stronger

It's not inside and it's not outside
Don't you see?  It's no longer


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Looking for Answers

If you look to me for answers you will not find them.
If you are looking for answers in others you will not find them.
If you look to yourself for answers you will will not find them.
But if you look to God for answers you will find them.
And where is God but in all those you look to.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chakras

In order to bring calmness to my mind I like to breathe through the chakras. For me, it is more effective than focusing on the whole body, probably because I have been doing it for so long. I came across the chakra system about 20 years ago while searching through ancient Hindu texts - the Vedas. Having some knowledge of anatomy, the chakra system made perfect sense to me.

The chakra system is composed of  seven chakras or little "wheels"  that run up and down the spine. They correspond perfectly to the main nerve plexuses and glands in the human body and therefore could be influenced quite easily by our breathing and thought processes. Looking further into this ancient system of chakras I learned they are still held quite highly by many practitioners of meditation.

                                          The seven chakras of the human body


I started using the chakra system about 15 years ago to focus my concentration and breath to help me go to sleep at night. It proved to be very effective. Now, I not only use it to fall asleep but every time I begin my meditation practice.  It seems like it just is the natural thing to do.

I begin the chakra breathing by imagining my breath coming in the bottom of the first chakra, at the base of the spine, around and over the top of the chakra. I visualize my breath coming into the front of my body as though there was a hole there. As my breath goes in, around, and out, the chakra turns. I might do 15 or more slow breaths for each chakra from the first one to the last one at the top of my head. It takes about 20 - 30 minutes to go through all seven chakras.
 

This is how I envision the chakras (above) when I am doing sitting meditation. When I breathe into and out of the chakra my concentration is focused on the turning of the wheel. My mind becomes very calm and relaxed as I go up each chakra, one at a time. By the time I get to the last chakra, at the top of the head, I am as relaxed as I possible could be without falling asleep. I then become the observer of my mind and thoughts, if there are any, without getting emotionally involved.

The practice of observing thoughts during meditation helps me to be able to observe my thoughts during the day. For example, if someone cuts me off in traffic and a discouraging thought like, "You stupid fool," pops up, I can catch it and relax and not get caught up in the negative emotion.  It makes life a lot easier.








Friday, November 16, 2012

Going deeper into calming the mind

In order to calm an overactive mind you can transfer energy from the brain to the body by focusing your attention on your body. The body, more or less, acts as an anchor for the mind. I gave an example in the last post about getting into bed to go to sleep and finding the mind thinking of all kinds of things, keeping you awake when you would rather go to sleep.

Rather than getting caught up in the troubling thoughts you can choose to calm the mind by focusing on your hands and then to other parts of your body until you are focusing on the whole body - "feeling" your hands, arms, breathing, torso, legs, feet, toes, etc. This practice brings energy from the head to the body and the "monkey mind" will usually stop automatically.This is an easy practice but it does take practice and the more you practice the stronger it gets.

                                               

The good thing about this practice is you don't need any props or higher learning. The only thing you need is an overactive mind. And anybody can do it.

If energy creeps back into the mind and random, troubling thoughts start up again, it simply means you have lost focus. You can refocus on the hands and continue back to the rest of the body. If this doesn't work you may need to enhance your focus more on some specific area or areas of the body.  Using your breath you can focus more intently on one part of the body such as the heart chakra. By doing this you can concentrate and maintain energy in that particular part of body. This more keenly focused breathing may work better for you.  





Monday, November 12, 2012

Calm Mind

Being able to go from an agitated mind to a calm mind is like turning on the television and seeing a talk show arguing politics. You can get caught up in the argument and become involved in the agitation or you can decide to switch to some calm, relaxing music. It's your choice.

It is better to be in control of the mind than the mind having control of you for many reasons. One reason is you don't have to keep doing what your mind is telling you to do. For example, you have just gotten into bed, ready for a good night's sleep, and your mind says, "Oh yeah, Jenny (my best friend) wanted me to call her tonight." So, you get up and call Jenny but her mom tells you that Jenny has gone to bed, you can call her in the morning. Or, you pass by an ice cream shop and your mind says, "Wow! That looks good. Some ice cream would really hit the spot right now. But I'm trying to lose 10 lbs. for the summer. But I could get run over by a truck and it wouldn't make any difference if I lose the 10 lbs. or not. I'll just have a small scoop." You buy the ice cream but rather than having one small scoop you have two large scoops.

If you were in control of your mind you wouldn't be jerked around by it all the time. Rather than getting out of bed to call Jenny you would remain in bed and go to sleep. Rather than eating the ice cream you would pass right by the shop.

When you recognize that your thoughts are erratic you are half-way to calming the mind.  At that very moment you have distanced the "I" (the awareness) from the thoughts. That is a big step because many people cannot do that very thing.

The next step is to go into the body and feel the energy that exists within it. When you go into your body, energy passes from the mind into the body. When you recognize erratic and disturbing thoughts go immediately into your hands and feel the energy they contain. It may be a tingling feeling or a warmness.. Once you get in touch with the feeling in your hands allow your consciousness to flow into other parts of your body. Allow your awareness to fill your entire body.

When you become aware of the whole body the mind becomes calm. It has to be because the focus - the attention - the energy has passed from the mind to the body.





Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Overcoming Bad Memories

Bad memories due to physical abuse, sexual abuse, combat, bullying, death of a loved one, and so on can immediately "pop" to the surface at any time. The flash back or "pop-up" is either due to something outside or inside the body provoking a thought which in turn causes an emotional reaction.

Just about anything can provoke a bad memory. It might be the sound of a door slamming, the sound of a firecracker, the sun coming up, the sun going down, an itch, a pain. Whatever the cause, a thought appears and then usually an emotional reaction. The person is so caught up in the thought he or she becomes the thought. The trick is to recognize the thought. If you can recognize the thought you immediately become the observer. If you are the observer, you cannot be the thought. But it's not easy recognizing a thought when it  abruptly appears out of the clear blue sky. When a traumatic thought appears it very easy to become identified with it and believe it is who you are.

Learning to become the observer of thoughts can be a lifesaver for many sufferers of unhealthy flashbacks. The first step is to be able to calm the mind. Without a calm mind it's virtually impossible to go any further in the healing process. One of the best ways to calm an overactive mind is with the breath. Simply focus on the breath going in and out of your nose. Feel the air going in and out and how it feels at the very tip of your nose. Focus all of your attention and awareness on the feeling and the breath. Your mind will eventually slow down and the erratic thoughts will subside. This, in it self, takes practice. Patience is also a must. There are many techniques for calming the mind, but focusing on the breath is one of the best.

With a calm mind you can then begin your adventure of thought watching. You need to understand that images and words that come and go in the mind are nothing more than condensed energy. By observing and experiencing the thoughts they will dissolve and become meaningless. When a thought appears close your eyes, focus on the breath and then open your eyes and look at the thought in front of you. Watch it thin out into nothingness. For example; an event happens, a thought appears, you close your eyes, focus on your breathing, open your eyes, look at the thought, and watch the thought become thinner and thinner. It dissolves and you go about doing what you were doing.

When you observe a thought, you, the experiencer, and the experience are separate rather than being the experience. If you become one with the thought the condensed energy of the thought will become a story and will act as though it has a life of its own, dragging you along with it. In order for you to let go of the unpleasant experience you must realize you are holding onto the memory automatically. You must "see" the memory - the thought without judgment and without any evaluation. "Catch" the thought as soon as it appears, close your eyes, calm the mind, and observe it. Watch it disappear into a void. You are beyond the thought and the bad emotion it can cause. You are beyond the conflict as you watch it thin out and become nothing.

Life is too precious to be wasted on troublesome thoughts. Remember; calm the mind, focus, observe the thought from a distance and watch it waste away into thin air.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Real You

We wear many identities and  hope we will never reveal the real one. Who we think we are is like a stone with many facets. But we think we know the real self - the one nobody knows.

You may be a father or a mother, a brother or a sister, a man or a woman, a husband or a wife, a child, a teacher, an engineer, and so on. For each role you play you are a different character. As a father you don't play the same role as you do as a husband.

Who we think we are is superficial and only for the moment, depending on people around us. But when we are alone we know our true identity. Our, at least, we think we know.

We fail to distinguish thoughts from reality and words from thoughts. And we think if we can label something we understand it.

We identify so closely with our thoughts that we often mistake our thoughts for who we are. Thoughts get in the way of reality.

Get a reality check by being the Witness of your thoughts. Sit alone and simply allow thoughts to occur. Don't try to get rid of the thoughts, pay attention to them. See them in front of you, getting further and further away. The real you is greater than all the thoughts in the world.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Greater Sense of Awareness

Thank you all for staying with me.  I haven't posted anything for some time because I had to take the computer into the shop. I brought it back today, plugged everything in and it wouldn't boot up. I'm sure you've been down this road too. So, anyway, I called the shop and they said I would have to bring it in again. I'm writing this on an old computer that I just happened to have stored in the attic.

If you ever become agitated, for any reason, and you forget what you are - the Witness, try this simple exercise. Lie down on your back and put a soft cloth on your eyes. This simple act will initiate the ocularcardiac reflex and begin a relaxation reaction. You don't want to press on the cloth because that can reverse the reflex. The cloth over the eyes sends nerve impulses to the medulla and the Vagus nerve is activated which turns on the parasympathetic nervous system. The Vagus nerve runs from the medulla to all vital organs (heart, liver, lungs, spleen, and upper intestines) causing them to relax.  Your whole body will begin to feel calmer.

As calmness settles in, visualize the space the exists all around you. Visualize the infinite space below you, in front of you, to the left, to the right, and all around your body. Then focus on the space inside your body and allow both the outside space and the inside space to come together. As they merge you may notice that you are once again the Witness of all that is. When you are ready you can come back into your body and carry on as usual but with a greater sense of awareness. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to measure your baseline

I took a great class taught by Bo Forbes while in Colorado two weeks ago. Bo is a neuroscientist and has integrated psychology with yoga and science. A rare combination for a neuroscientist. Anyway, she taught us how important it is to get a personal baseline before doing yoga practice or just about anything else for that matter.

A personal baseline allows you to see where you are in relation to your body, mind, emotions and feelings before yoga practice and after yoga practice so you can gauge your progress. It's easy and it takes only a few minutes.

Sitting in a comfortable position or lying down on your back with your knees bent, close your eyes and take several long, slow breaths. Connect with the level of energy in your physical body. Ask yourself, is it high, medium or low? Note the speed of your mind (thoughts). Tune into your nervous system - your "wiring" and take a note whether it's tightly wound (in overdrive) or balanced. Tune into the depth of your breathing. Is it smooth and easy or erratic?  Get a sense of whether you are connected to your center - the energy within the core of your body. Also, make a mental note of any other baseline measurement that's important to you, such as a pain somewhere, uneasiness, emotions or other feelings.

You can do this simple baseline exercise before going to bed to help you fall asleep, at the end of yoga practice, and anytime you feel anxious, depressed or stressed.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Earth Prayer

Earth is said, by American Indians, to be our mother. Earth is from whence we came. We should honor and take care of her for she is our "bread and butter," she is our life source. There is energy within the earth generated by the movement of hot magma flowing just below the crust on which we stand. You may notice, as you stand on Mother Earth, there is a vibration which emanates from deep within her bowls. You can learn to get in touch with this magnificent feeling.

A class I took with Saul David Raye taught me this simple Mayan dance which brought me closer to Mother Earth.  It is called the Earth Prayer.

You can stand by your self or in a circle with friends, holding hands. As you stand begin swaying from side to side singing, "I feel Mother beneath my feet, I feel Mother's heart beat."  Sing this simple chant 5 times.  And then sing, "Hey Yama, Hey Yana, Hey Yama Ho!" 5 times. Repeat as many times as you like.

I believe the prayer somehow activates the vagus nervous system and brings about a sense of calmness and a feeling of peacefulness.  I don't know exactly how it works, but it works - for me anyway.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Aligning and Clearing the Chakras

While at the yoga conference in Colorado I had the pleasure of attending a class taught by Gary Kraftsow, founder of the American Viniyoga Institute in Oakland, California. One of the things he taught us, which made an impression on me,  was how to breathe in the sound of a mantra for aligning and clearing the chakras.

As you probably know there are seven chakras in the body that correspond closely to the seven major nerve plexus along the spine. To do this exercise there needs to be a chanter and someone doing the breathing. The teacher does the chanting (mantra) and the breather receives it. The mantra should be short and done six times for each chakra. An example of a mantra is below:

Om namahi
Om namahi om
Om namahi om om
Om namahi om
Om namahi
Om

The student or the one receiving the mantra should sit with the spine straight, shoulders relaxed and the eyes closed. The idea is to listen to the mantra as you inhale and imagine the energy of the mantra coming into the head, down the spine and to the designated chakra. The chakra becomes energized and aligned by the sound of the mantra.

When the chanter chants, the student slowly inhales. The inhalation should take about four seconds; the time it takes to sing the mantra. At the end of the inhalation the breath is held for 3-4 seconds to allow the energy of the mantra to swirl around and become integrated the chakra. And then the breath is slowly released. Exhalation is done in silence and should take about five seconds. As the breath is relaeased the energy goes up the astral tube of the body (sushumna) and out the top of the head.

The six sounds of the mantra are done for each chakra, beginning with the base chakra. For example, to begin the series of chants, the chanter would sing "Om namahi" as the student inhales slowly down to the first (base) chakra - hold the breath for 3-4 seconds - slowly breath out and up sushumna. The chanter would then sing "Om namahi om" as the student inhales again down to the first chakra. So, the breathing is down six times for each chakra, inhaling with the mantra and exhaling in silence.

I have added a video for those of you who would like to try this exercise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXL1dPmw9VA&feature=related




Sunday, October 14, 2012

Back home

We are finally back home from the Colorado Yoga Conference. We hiked many trails high in the Rocky Mountains over three days before the conference to become adjusted to the altitude. We were above the clouds as you can see in the picture below:

 
We ( my wife and I) reached a maximum of 11, 5796 feet and stayed there for the rest of the day to allow our bodies to acclimate to the altitude necessary for doing yoga in Estes Park the next day.
 
The conference consisted of three two hour classes each day for two days. The third day there was only one two hour class and then it was off for more hiking. I had some great yoga classes with some of the best yoga teachers in the world. I learned much and hope to convey at least 10% of it to my students as time goes on.
 
I may have over done it because my body is beginning to feel the effects of the trip. I felt great at the high altitudes but now that I'm in the low altitude various aches and pains are creeping in plus I have a head cold. On the next post I'll talk about some of the most interesting things I learned at the conference.
 
Namaste'
 

 
 
 
 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Enjoy

I'm heading off to this year's yoga conference in Colorado and will be back in a week. Going to be doing some chanting with Jai Uttal, so thought I would post this video. Watch, sit back and enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw8NiEV6qmA&feature=related  I'll be thinking of you.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Go to Sleep

Lying in bed after a hard day at work, tossing and turning and worrying about this and that is a nightmare in itself. The more you worry about not sleeping the less likely you will go to sleep. Maybe you get two or three hours of sleep, maybe not and the next night it's the same old thing.

Prescription drugs will help in the short run but in the long run they become habit forming and before long it takes more to get the same results. Alcohol numbs the brain and after awhile it too becomes habit forming. The effect that not sleeping, as well as drugs and alcohol have on the mind/body system is devastating. They bring about premature aging and all kinds of mental and physical problems.

Few doctors and even psychologists and psychiatrists really know what to do about insomnia. They have been trained to prescribe drugs and that's about it. On the other hand the solution has been known for thousands of years by Buddhist monks and yogis. It is called concentrative meditation or just plain concentration.

In order to get a good night's sleep it's imperative to have a calm mind. Too much thinking about anything is not conducive to a calm mind. You must know how to turn off your thoughts and turn on calmness.

The first thing you should do when you are getting ready to go to sleep is relax. Two posts ago I talked about the vagus response and how it induces relaxation. In short, what you do is take a deep breath, hold it for five seconds and breathe out slowly while either humming or saying om. This practice will turn on the parasympathetic nervous system and automatically begein the process of allowing the body and the mind to relax. After that you can begin the practice of concentration to turn of thoughts.

To turn off your thinking process all you have to do is concentrate on your breath and count. Breathe slowly and softly while counting each breath. When a thought appears simply recognize it for what it is - just a thought and nothing more and start over with the counting. If you have a stubborn mind you will undoubtedly have thoughts that seem very important. Your mind will make you believe that you can't ignore the thoughts. It will make you believe that you must solve whatever the problem is right now, this very moment, while lying in bed.

The mind will say something like, "This is a very important idea and I must attend to it right now or I'll forget it." You must have the ability and the tenacity to ignore the thought and go back to counting your breaths. If you are ever going to go to sleep the most important thing is to turn off the thinking mind. Be calm, relax, breathe, and count. Breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - breathe and count - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Aging cont'd

In the last post I talked about how pranayama can reduce stress and that in turn can lead to a longer and happier life. Stress is one of the major contributors in cell death but there are other factors that can cause cell death. One such factor is the lack of sleep.

We all know sleep rejuvenates the body and the mind.  Lack of sleep can lead to all kinds of problems that affect almost all of the physiological systems in our body such as: brain and nervous system, cardiovascular, immune system as well as many metabolic factors. Over a long period of time lack of sleep will bring about premature aging and premature death. But why is this and how can you learn to sleep better?

When you are awake and running around the cells in your body are in high gear. They are burning fuel (glucose) and exhausting water and carbon dioxide as by products. If this goes on for too long the cells will eventually play out. They can't keep going indefinitely. This is true for brain cells as well as all the other cells in your body. They need rest and the best way is to become inactive. The whole body needs to go into a sort of hibernation mode so that growth and repair can occur.

When cells divide (one cell becomes two) the tissues that they comprise (muscles, neurons, connective) grow and get stronger.  Cell division requires energy so the process can't go on very well the same time the cell is having to carry on daily activities.You would be burning the candle at both ends, so to speak. It would take too much energy and cells aren't that big. Think of a cell as a microscopic power plant. Fuel coming in and getting burned up for movement (work) and waste products going out. The demand for work cannot exceed the capacity to produce it without something breaking down. If the demand is too great the cell will die.

When more cells are dying than are being made senescence occurs - the process of aging and dying.  So, keeping your cells strong, healthy, alive, and continuely dividing and growing requires the whole body to shut down for awhile. If you have a hard time falling asleep what can you do short of taking drugs? I will answer that question in the next post.  It's not that difficult.










Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You can slow down the aging process



From birth to about 30 years of age more cells are being produced in the body than are dying. After that the reverse is true. Although the process is minuscule in the beginning, cell death begins to outnumber cell production as life goes on. The process of more cells dying than being produced will eventually bring about death. The process is usually called the "aging process" or senescence.


          
                                         

Senescence continues to slowly increase with advancing years. This is a normal and natural process that all living organisms go through. Despite all of the hoopla out there, there is really no way to reverse the aging process or even stop it but there are things you can do to slow it down.

One of the most important things you can do is learn to relax. Learning to relax is an art as well as a science. It is an art because it takes skill and talent that can only be mastered through practice. It is a science because it takes understanding how your body functions and applying that understanding to the proper actions that suit your body.

Mental stress turns on the sympathetic nervous system and causes your body to produce hormones and enzymes that can be very damaging to cells. For example, adrenaline revs up metabolism in some places and slows it down in others. Adrenaline basically readies the body for action when you are threatened. Another hormone caused by stress is cortisol. This hormone causes your liver to release gobs amount of sugar to help cells make energy. If these hormones are produced too often and for too long, (chronic stress) abnormal cell damage occurs and senescence is enhanced.

Being able to relax slows down the aging process by turning off the sympathetic nervious system and turning on the parasympathetic nervous system. When the parasympathetic nervous system is on adverse conditions that increase the death of cells are quelled.  Adrenaline, cortisol and other damaging chemicals are held at a minimum.

One of the best ways to almost instantly turn on the parasympathetic nervous system is pranayama. By taking a deep breath in, holding it for five seconds and then slowly exhaling, stimulates the vagus nerve.  The vagus nerve originates from the lower brain and runs down along the trachea and branches out to all the vital organs. 

                                   
You can increase the vagus reaction even more by humming or saying Om while exhaling. The vibration of the sound while breathing out brings about a relaxing and calming effect throughout the whole body.

In the next post I will discuss more ways you can bring about relaxation. In the meantime stay calm.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Some of my favorite quotes

"Please enjoy your only life."
                    Jakusho Kwong

"Accept all ideolgies and systems. One country, one nation, one ideology, one system is not sufficient."
                    The Dalai Lama

"To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees."
                    Paul Valery

"The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust someone."
                    Ernest Hemingway

"Rule your mind or it will rule you."
                    Horace

"The future of the human condition is to be inevitably stuck in a quagmire of random thoughts."
                    me

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Discover Yourself

Don't hesitate to find out who you are. You are not your body. You are not your mind. You are not what you did in the past and you are not what you will do in the future. So who are you. Only you can find out.

Look beyond your thoughts and your imagination. Look beyond your body and the things you possess. You are none of those things. You are  much much more than those simple pieces of energy and matter floating around in space.

Close your eyes, shut out all sounds and let your body relax. Then begin to notice your thoughts subtlety floating by. Be aware that you cannot be those thoughts because you can notice them. You are the one who is noticing the thoughts therefore the thoughts cannot be you. You are much much more than those simple pieces of energy floating by.

Notice anything your body is feeling or doing. You may feel your arms resting on your legs or the arms of the chair. You may notice your breathing. None of those things are you.  You are much much more than any of these things.

Sit and simply be quiet. Go inward for awhile and then let every molecule and atom of your very being expand into the infinite universe. Let everything go and discover your true essence. 
It is truly amazing how easy it is.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Is it possible for everyone to be purely aware at the same time?

It would take only 36 months, or so, for everybody on earth, all 7 billion of us, to become purely aware if we started out with one person and doubled every month. That will probably never happen because not everyone is in the same stage of being awake at the same time, plus new people are coming in while others are going out every day.

Life is a learning process and people learn at different rates. The ability to learn is a characteristic much like the ability to run fast, jump high or swim. Not everybody is the same and that's a good thing; it's what nature intended. A guru whom I admire is Swami Satchidanda, said, "Don't think that one day the whole world will be enlightened. It is not possible. There are always people who are still learning."

It is impossible for everybody on earth to become totally aware at the same time just as it's impossible for everybody on earth to be able to run a mile in five minutes at the same time or sing the National Anthem at the same time.  Some people will never be able to experience pure awareness in their lifetime, some will be able experience it for brief moments and others will be able to be in that marvelous state of consciousness for long periods of time and maybe even some for their entire life.

That doesn't mean you should give up and forget about working on being purely aware. Anybody can become more aware then they are right now. It just takes wanting to get there. You have to have the intention. That's the first and primary step - intention. After that it's practice with lots of patience.

Keep practicing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Is it possible? I wonder.

Is it possible for everybody on earth to be purely aware at the same time? By pure awareness I mean the ability to be aware of one's self while at the same time being aware of being connected to the outside world and to a higher power.

And what is awareness?  Awareness is the ability to be in the moment both inside and out. Awareness is noticing what is going on within yourself (thoughts, emotions, feelings, breathing, movement, etc.) while noticing what is going on around you.

So pure awareness is awareness plus one additional, but very important, element - being aware of the Absolute.  Try walking around in pure awareness.  It ain't easy. You might be able to do it for a few seconds or even a few minutes - but all day long?  Forget it.  However, with lots of practice you can learn to be in pure awareness longer and longer, even for hours.

What are the advantages of pure awareness? One advantage is not being forgetful. Have you ever gone into a room to get something and when you got there forgot why you went there?  You forgot because your mind was distracted. While you were going toward the room to get the item you started thinking of something like, "I wonder if Bill is coming home tomorrow."  In that brief moment of distraction the item slipped your mind. If you had been purely aware or even aware, your mind would not have wandered.

If you are purely aware your mind is focused on three elements: 1. self, 2. surroundings, and 3. a higher power. You can call the higher power any name that suits your fancy: God, Absolute, Divine, Allah, Krishna, Brahma, Jesus, or whatever. There isn't enough room on this post to name them all. If you are an atheist you can focus on the goodness within your heart.

When you are in pure awareness there is no way you can harm any living thing because you are everything. You are the mosquito on your arm. You are the bird in the sky. You are the fish in the water. You see living beings as individual entities with souls like your own because it's just one big soul. There is no difference between you and the person you are talking to or the person across the street. We all (mosquitoes, birds, fish, people) have the same desires and wishes for a long, healthy, and joyful life. There is no way you could ever deny another living creature of those values because once you do, you know, you are hurting yourself.

If everyone lived in pure awareness there could never ever be any killings or wars of any kind. Everyone would have compassion for everyone else. There would be cooperation between all individuals. There would be no jealousy, hate, greed, animosity, envy, or any other such negative thoughts and actions.  But is this possible?

On the next post I will try to answer this question.




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Obama vs Romney

For the first time in my life I don't feel like voting in this coming presidential election. I don't like to talk about politics and I'm sorry for bringing up the subject but I feel we have come to a crossroads that can't be ignored. So, I made up a list of items that I feel are of great concern for us here in the United States and how the two candidates view them.

                          Obama                             Item                           Romney

                  Keep spending           Debt ($16 trillion)              Cut spending

                  Not too good              Negotiate with                          ?
                                                     other party
            
                  Raise                           Taxes                                  Not raise

                  Good                            Foreign affairs                   Not so good

                  Reduce                         Military                              Increase

                  Reduce                         Oil production                    Increase

                  Increase                        Alternative energy             Not worth it

                  Forget about it               Israel                                  Help

                  Socialism                     Ideology                              Capitalism

                  Questionable                Awareness                          None

                  Strong                           Environment                      Weak

Which view is good and which view is bad depends on your own ideology. For example, if you think the national debt doesn't matter that much you might side with Obama. If you think taxes shouldn't be raised you would side with Romney, and so on. So it's going to be decided by the voters.  I'm going to look very carefully at the candidates in the next few weeks, make a decision, and vote.  I hope you do too.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Keep Balance In Your Life

I teach yoga to veterans who have PTSD and other problems. One of the biggest problems I see among this group is Parkinson's disease. I don't know exactly know why but it seems to be a prevalent problem especially among Viet Nam veterans. My hunch is these people were exposed to Agent Orange, a defoliant that was sprayed from planes, helicopters, and from the ground to kill plants so troops could hunt out the Viet Cong more easily. When I was there I saw planes fly over dropping this stuff not only on the forests but troops and natives on the ground.

Some 20 million gallons of this highly toxic liquid was dropped in South Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia and one million people were affected in some way or another. Nerve damage, skin lesions, cancer, lung problems, and birth defects are just some of the problems these people experience.

Teaching yoga to someone with Parkinson's is not easy. Not only do they have tremors but they are also plagued with tremendous fatigue, slow reaction time, muscle aches, many emotional problems and problems with balancing and walking. Yoga and meditation helps them with all of these problems.

After class I am often asked, "What can I do between classes?" My response is to practice balancing on one leg using a chair for support. Balancing encourages focus and immediately brings one into the present moment. Feeling the weight of the body on the bottom of the foot and isolating exactly where on the foot pressure is felt, brings your focus to that very small area of the body - a few square inches somewhere on the bottom of the foot.

By focusing on that small area on the sole of the foot while being aware of the breath and the body in space takes tremendous concentration for any normal person. It takes even more concentration for someone with Parkinson's. 

Propreception or positioning, sometimes called the "sixth" sense, that tells you where your body is in space can be enhanced through this simple practice of balancing on one foot. For special needs people, like Parkinson's patients, holding onto the back of a chair is necessary in the beginning. As practice continues, there may be no need for the use of a chair.

When a chair is no longer needed the next step is to balance with both feet together, on the ground, with the eyes closed. The goal is to balance for one minute without too much wavering. To do this exercise someone needs to be standing by to measure wavering and to help in case the balancer begins to fall.

This is one of the biggest components of yoga - being with the body and the breath while being aware and relaxed. "Asana must have the dual qualities of alertness and relaxation." Yoga Sutra 2.46.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

You've got a friend.

I've taken the lyrics from the song "You've got a friend" written by Carol Kind and made famous by James Taylor and modified them to stress the importance of knowing the Self.  I hope it doesn't offend anyone.


When you feel down and out and need a helping hand just close your eyes and go into the Self,
and soon it will be there to brighten up your darkest hour.

All you have to do is call out its name, and it will come running to help you again. Winter, spring, summer or fall all you have to do is call, and it will be there.  You've got a friend.

If you are feeling lonely and afraid and everyone has deserted you, just keep your wits about you and call out its name and soon it will be there. Just call out its name and you know wherever it is, it will come running to see you again.

Isn't it good to know that you have a True friend. When people are cold, hurt you and desert you and take your soul if you let them, just remember you've got a friend.  Just call out its name and it will come running to see you again.

All you have to do is close your eyes and go into the Self, and soon it will be there to see you again.  You've got a friend. Oh, isn't it great to know you've got a friend that won't hurt you or desert you. Yea, you've got a friend.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Controlling Prana

As mentioned in the last post, prana is the ever existing life force. Prana is first mentioned in the Upanishads, primarily the Prasna Upanishad, where it says, "Prana is the soul of the universe, assuming all forms."

Prana may be equated to energy which exists not only in living organisms but nonliving as well. It exists in, around, and between all objects. It is in sunlight and is what enables subatomic particles, atoms, and molecules to move. Prana links all things together. You might say that prana is the matrix in which all things exist.

Although prana is all inclusive and everlasting it can miraculously be controlled. The breath and the mind are the magic elixirs that allow you to bring prana into the body, move it, and direct it. As you inhale, prana automatically flows in and immediately begins circulating into all organs and systems throughout the body. As this occurs, apana (waste products) accumulates. By focusing the mind on the breath you can direct prana into any part of the body. For example, let's say you have an injured knee. You can heal your knee by directing prana into the knee and apana out of the knee.

As you beathe in feel the energy coming into your body and direct it to your knee by focusing on the knee. The breath will follow your focus and the prana will follow the breath. It's that simple. When you exhale you can move apana out of the knee by focusing on the breath again as though it is flowing out of the knee. Of course the breath is not really flowing out of the knee but by focusing on the breath and imagining (mind) that it is flowing out, apana will flow in the directing of the focus. Remember, the breath and the mind are the two forces that control prana. The ability to control prana is called samyama.

Since prana is everywhere and in everything, you basically are prana as is everything else. Although your breath comes into your mouth and nose and flows down to your lungs, prana continues to move into the all the cells, tissues, and organs. By concentrating and focusing on the two elements of breath and body part you can direct prana to any desired location. Prana, breath, and mind become one directional force.



Friday, August 31, 2012

Learning to move prana

Prana is the "life force" that exists everywhere. Prana is energy. It is outside your body as well as inside. Prana may be moving or stationary. When prana is moving through your body it carries energy into your body and moves wastes and toxins out. The primary force which moves prana is "pranayama" - the breath.

However, breath alone cannot move prana in a directed manner. Breath must be combined with the focus of the mind in order to move prana from one place to another. You can move prana from the outside to the indside of your body and from one area of the body to another. Being able to focus is a very important component of prana movemet.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says, "Pranayama involves the regulation of exhalation, inhalation and suspension of the breath. It also involves focusing the mind on the process." Sutra 2.50.  This is one of the primary objectives of yoga;  moving prana into and through the body.

The third, and last, component of prana movement is asana. Asana may be stationary or a series of asanas  (vinyasa). The asana puts your body in a position so that you can feel the sensation of stretch. Various asanas emphasize specific stretches. A series of asanas performed in a sequence (vinyasa) allows stretches to occur as a flow of stretch sensations throughout the body.

With resolute practice using breath, focus, and asanas you will begin to feel prana moving through various parts of your body like water flowing in a river. The restrictions in your body will begin to erode away like the rough edges of river rocks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yoga is a discipline

The discipline of yoga involves the four B's: brain, body, breath, and balance.  Integrating all four components into your practice will allow you to go beyond the self.

When you walk into the area where you do your yoga, leave your thinking mind behind. The "brain effect" is a random and intrusive thought process you don't want going on while doing yoga. For example, you don't want to be thinking about eating chicken soup while stretching in chandrasana. You want to focus your mind on the other three components - body, breath, and balance. This is why yoga is a discipline.

Your body is something you carry around with you all the time so its important to keep it limber, strong, and healthy. This is where breath and balance come in. When you put your body in an asana and feel the deep stretch it gives you, focus the breath into the stretch. See if you can feel the prana flow with the breath into the area of the body where the stretch is "screaming". As you breathe out let the resistance and the toxins flow out every cell of the muscle. Prana in, resistance out. This will increase flexibility and strength in that area.

Balance is not only the ability to stand on one leg or do a hand stand, it is also maintaining balance throughout the mind and the body by practicing moderation in all things throughout the day. Moderation in diet, drink, meditation, sleep, work, play, and exercise will increase well being in all the systems of the body.

Yoga is much more than just moving from asana to asana. It is a discipline that requires complete involvement of mind, body, breath, and balance. Keep up the good work.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Who is The One?

Who is the one reading these words? "Oh," you might say , "it is me.  Who else can it be?"  But then I ask; Who is the 'me' you speak of? Is the 'me' the same as the 'I' when you say, "I don't like myself?" Who is the 'I' that doesn't like the 'self'? Are you one person, two people, or more?  Or is it semantics and we are just playing around with words?

To go into the true essence of your self, close your eyes right now and take ten slow breaths and  come back to reading this blog when you are finished.

 
 

As you were resting your eyes and counting your breaths did you notice images and subtle thoughts passing through your mind?  If you did, then you cannot be those images and thoughts because you were doing the noticing.  Also, did you notice your breathing? You cannot be your breath either. Did you notice your body? You cannot be your body. You cannot be the things you notice.

If you are not the thoughts, the breath or the body - who are you? You are the one noticing. In other words, you are the witness. The father of yoga, Patanjali, probably said it best, some 5,000 years ago when he said: "Thoughts are always changing but may be witnessed by the True Self, which is never changing."

Even though you are the witness (the True Self) you can still become distracted by the senses and thoughts. "Reflect on the profound nature of your individual self, including the source of perception, without being distracted by the senses, and with freedom from misapprehensions accumulated from the past." 2.41.

So, in essense, you are not your senses and you are not your thinking mind. You are much more and purer than any of those physical and mental conditions. Be quiet and go deep within your self, and beyond the self. 

Click here for more info on the True Self.
http://www.trueself.org/index.html


Friday, August 24, 2012

In Pursuit of Happiness

If you are pursuing knowledge for the purpose of gaining wealth, stability, and security, then you are seeking knowledge in a world of objects and will suffer. If you are striving to get physically stronger through exercise in order to look better, you will suffer. If you are working very hard at two jobs to try and make ends meet, you will suffer.

Let go. Let go of pursuing, striving, and trying and relax in the deep pool of simply enjoying all that you do. Instead of desiring something that is in the future, be in the moment with all the activities that surround you. You are it and it is you. Don't work. Play.

When you try to get some where the trying is the suffering. Don't try. Enjoy the process that takes you to your goal. It is not the goal that is important, it's the journey that takes you there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Don't Ever Forget

Don' forget who you are. Before the body you were the sunshine, the eternal space and the peace.

Now there is thinking, rumination, desiring and a bunch of other stuff that makes you forget who you are. As long as you retain the identity of being the thinker of thought and the doer of action you will continue to forget who you are.

Don't mistake your thinking mind as knowing what the truth is. Learn to listen to silence. In the universe there are things that are known and unknown and in between is the truth. In that space where there is silence, truth lies. It is not dormant, it is just being ignored by your thinking mind.

Sit still and listen very quietly to the universe. It will speak to you oh so softly. You must learn to listen, not with your ears but with the peace and the space within you. Can't you hear it?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's all up to you.

Every day presents a new opening to the world. What you do with the day depends entirely on you. You can dread the coming of the day or you can bask in its newness and welcome the opportunity to make it glorious.  It's all up to you, no one else.

No one else but you can make your day a good one. A negative day is only negative because you see it as a negative one. The same goes for it being a good day. If you have a flat tire on your way to work you can see it as either good or bad.  It's all up to you. You can see the flat tire as a delay in your getting to work and wasting a lot of time getting it fixed or you can see the flat tire as an opportunity to reflect on your life and all the good things that have been bestowed upon you. The flat tire might have even saved your life from a wreck down the road.  It all depends on how you look at it.

It is your choice as to whether a situation is good or bad. It's all in the mind. Take each and every situation that happens to you as an opportunity to make the choice - good or bad.  If you want it to be good, it will be good. If you want it to be bad, it will be bad.

Have a good day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Multiple Choice

Who said the following?

1.  "The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them."
       A)  Ernest Hemingway
       B)  Walt Whitman
       C)  Will Rogers
       D)  Claude Levi-Strauss

2.  "The wise man doesn't give the right answers, he poses the right questions."
       A)  Ernest Hemingway
       B)  Walt Whitman
       C)  Will Rogers
       D)  Claude Levi-Strauss

3.  "Believe in something for another world, but don't be too set on what it is."
       A)  Ernest Hemingway
       B)  Walt Whitman
       C)  Will Rogers
       D)  Claude Levi-Strauss

4.  "Do I contradict myself, there I contadicted myself.  I am large, I contain multitudes."
       A)  Ernest Hemingway
       B)  Walt Whitman
       C)  Will Rogers
       D)  Claude Levi-Strauss




Scroll down for the answers.






Go slow!  Answers appear below.






















Go slow!!






Answers:
 1)  A
 2)  D
 3)  C
 4)  B

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Emptiness and Pure Awareness

I'm suggesting that readers of this blog take a look at  http://buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha044.htm.  It's a talk given by Bikkhu Amaro.  He talks about how we lose our way by living in a world filled with objects.  I think you will find it interesting.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Coming Back Home

Sensing the universe simply as a place filled with objects and space does not allow consciousness to expand to its full capacity. The senses are the biggest barrier to living as one with nature and all of its splendor.  To go beyond the five senses and live in timelessness where there are no objects and no space is living in total freedom.

According to quantum physics the universe is a unified whole where everything is made of the same stuff, where information and energy flow freely.  Living life without burdens of the sensory mind is going beyond the rational mind.  Going beyond the rational mind allows you to experience the many wonders of the universe.

So, how do you go beyond the sensory mind?  It is very, very simple.  Just be quiet.  Be quiet and notice.  Notice without using your senses.  Notice your breathing.  Notice feelings.  Notice thoughts.  Notice what is around you.  Be quiet and notice how energy moves in you, around you and through you. 

You now know that coming back home from a world of discriminating thoughts and random objects is a delicious breath of fresh air.  Intellect no longer separates the self from space and objects.  Life is in harmony with the rest of the universe.  Be quiet and notice.

How long do I need to be quiet?  Good question.  See the next post.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Answer to Last Post

Where did we lose our way?  In answering this question we can study the various stages of Homo sapiens over the many millennia. According to science, humans started out on earth some 200,000 years ago in Africa and then migrated north into Europe. From there some went west into North America and some went east into Asia.  Some of those who went to Asia migrated to North America like the west migrating group did.  So North America became inhabited from both the east and the west.  And then some of the North American people went south into South American. 

All this moving around took about 180,000 years.  As all of that migrating was taking place, humans were changing socially, intellectually, agriculturally, spiritually and physically.  Humans were adapting to all kinds of climates and in the process some got shorter and some got taller, some got lighter and some got darker, and so on.  Diversity spread rapidly and the population grew exponentially.  After 200,000 years (0.1% of the time the dinosaurs were on earth) the human population was over 7 billion.
                                             
                                                Exponential Growth Curve
                                                                        
Before migrating to the New World humans were one with nature. They knew nature, depended on nature and respected nature. They could communicate with the plants and animals of the forests and they knew the way of Gaia. They were in synchronization and complete homeostasis with the biosphere.

And then they split. Some went west and some went east, their populations growing and evolving.  They became so diversified they didn't recognize their kinfolk when they came face to face. Their minds became filled with discriminating thoughts and nature became a world filled with objects.  They became out of touch with nature. Nature became an enemy rather than a foe. This is where humans lost their way.

Is it possbile for us to come back home to nature or is it too late?  We'll take a look at this question in the next post.







Thursday, August 2, 2012

Are You A Modern Person?

Have you gone the way of the "modern person," thinking you are an individual of independent means?  Do you feel as though you exist separate from other objects and people of the world?  If you do, you are not alone.

 So called "civilization" has evolved from a society of people who viewed themselves as an amalgamation of souls and spirits existing synergistically into a world of individuals who see themselves as separate entities.

Amelioration has not solved problems, it has only created new ones.  For example, coming into this world is looked upon as something pathological.  It is recommended by the Public Health Service     that a child, before he/she reaches two years of age, have over 30 vaccinations.  Even childhood is treated as a condition.

Children are entering preschool at one year of age up to the obligatory age of five.  Childhood is no longer a time for play and finding one's lot in life.  Forcing a child to learn and play games designed by adults doesn't allow him to venture into the web of life and discover the unknown on his own.  Exploring and creating on one's own has been squelched to the point of almost non-existence.

Also, we look at old age as something to be avoided.  We treat old age as if it is a disease.  Geriatrics, nursing homes, retirement communities, anti aging pills, wrinkle creams, cosmetic surgery, botox injections and the list goes on, all for the purpose of keeping old age at bay and out of sight.

Life has been turned over to the health care and education systems so much so that we have lost our way in the natural world.  Life is a blending of the good with the bad, the ups and the downs, the ins and the outs.  It is knowing that you are one with the stars and the planets, the animals and the plants, the minerals and the void. It is about being born and being allowed to grow up and die knowing there is actually no differences between them. 

Life is not the absence of being sick or the absence of pain, it is the ability to experience everything life, as well as death, have to offer.  We have lost our way through the wilderness, so to speak.  We no longer live in awe of the night sky with its billions of twinkling stars.  We no longer speak to the trees and the animals that inhabit the forests.

We have become bogged down getting from here to there, worrying about how not to make waves, and whether or not we will have enough money to do the things we want to do in the future. Where did we lose our way?  Where did we take the wrong turn?  How do we get back?  Answers on the next posting.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What is the Truth?

What is the truth?  What is the one most important fact in the world? 

Truth and facts have nothing to do with the physical world but rather about the innermost experiences of yourself.  An intellectual conception is not as significant or interesting as an experience that finds the truth within you - the true Being.  Reality lies within you, not outside of you.  Is it really impossible to have definite answers to questions that are thought to be incontestable?  Can an experience beyond consciousness and thoughts be described accurately with words?  Yes it can, it is possible to describe a subjective experience that is beyond consciousness and thoughts.  Let me explain.

The subjective world can be one of extreme clarity and beauty by going inside yourself, not outside. With all of the senses nullified one can exist in complete silence and go into a sea of tranquility, as it were, and then, and soon the answer will appear. The human mind likes to believe that there is a reason, a purpose for things to exist.  For example, we all want to believe that humans have a purpose for existing: that we are here to evolve into higher consciousness, that we are here to uncover the truth, or we are here to serve and worship a higher entity.  We are never at a loss for thinking up reasons for existing.

Without thought and without thinking one can go into deep tranquility and vividness and see that everything in the universe is interconnected and interplays synergistically - everything in this web affects everything else in one way or another.  However, this doesn't mean the interaction and connectedness has a purpose.  The whole thing is moving and changing within no change.  There is formless in the form, unchanging in the changing, and nameless in a name. 

Each person can reach his own conclusion by returning to the fundamental introspection of his own being and become totally aware of his own distinctiveness.  Subjective innermost personal experience is necessary for understanding the Absolute.  There is no other way.  All of the sciences, religions, material studies can never uncover the real truth of what is.

You cannot understand the truth until you have experienced it personally and inwardly.  You can fool yourself into thinking you know much more about who you are and why you exist, and so you over-estimate the process of thinking and believe that the mind will give you a true explanation.  But remember, the mind is wrong most of the time.  You cannot find the answer to the ultimate question, "Why am I," until you go beyond the mind and take possession of the innermost experience of yourself.

We cannot overlook the wisdom of the ancient sages such as the Upanishads who existed some 5,000 years ago.  The lived without modern conveniences but yet they wrote so eloquently about their inner most contemplations and findings that they are held in awe even today.

When the senses are stilled, when the mind is at rest, when the intellect wavers not - then, say the wise, is reached the highest state.  Katha Upanishad

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seeing Beyond Self

Looking out of the windows of your skull what do you see?  Are there objects and space between objects or is there something more?  The "something more" is beyond the objects and beyond your self. 

Self-centerdness is when it seems that reality is made up of only objects and space and everything revolves around the self.  The main reason for doing anything is to benefit the self.  There is no intention to help others unless something is received in return.


The self-centered "I" has no compassion for others.  Whatever is done is done for the sake of the self.
All energy (illustrated as dotted lines) is focused on and comes toward and into the self.

The opposite of the self-centered "I" is the compassionate self.  Everything is done for other beings.  One may be dying of starvation and still give sustenance to others.  In this case all of the energy is poured out from the individual self.  This person may say, "It makes me feel good to be compassionate."


The compassionate self is totally focused on helping others with very little concern for the self.  In this case one cannot accept compassion into his own little constricted "I".  Relief from suffering is found by "fixing" others.

By opening up and being aware of both self and others one can be compassionate toward the self as well as others.  Awareness allows energy to flow to and from the self. 


The aware self has compassion for the self as well as for others.  Energy flows in both directions.  There is twice as much energy and the self feels freer, energized, and full of life.

Going beyond the concept of the self one can see that the self and objects are the same thing.  Energy no longer flows and is no longer contained within objects.  This is pure awareness.

In pure awareness you are no longer constrained by concepts of objects and self.  The term "energy" is even a concept.  Everything is one and the same thing. Total and absolute freedom is realized.