Part 4: Practices and Creating New Grooves

My final piece for this series (though not by a long shot the last thoughts I’ll post about doing practicesūüôā ) is a reflection on doing or not doing practices as a form of self-sabotage.

As I mentioned in the last post, I don’t feel you have to have a super strict formal practice but at the same time I’ve often noted in myself and others that sporadic practice or refusal to practice at all can be a way of sabotaging progress. ¬†On the other side, sometimes when you’ve processed a lot of material or made some big changes, there’s a kind of plateau period during which¬†you need time to integrate what you’ve already done.

I’m always seeing fine lines in this journey between one side and another and this is one of those places. ¬†In Part 3¬†I discussed the importance of learning how you react when you’re resisting something that could help you versus recognizing something’s just not for you. ¬†It’s equally important, I feel, to learn the difference between when you are sabotaging yourself by refusing to do practices and when it’s sabotage to make yourself do it when your inner voice is telling you “no” and to recognize how you sabotage.

Some years back I realized I’d long carried out a really subtle form of sabotage: ¬†I’d meditate or do the Tibetan Rites regularly for a few weeks … and then .. I’d just … ¬†drift … … away from it. ¬†For a while it would cross my mind to do it and then every night I’d find myself in bed without having done it. ¬†And then a couple of months would go by when it never even crossed my mind. ¬†Eventually I’d come back and pick it up again and then go through the same process.

Once I could see it I worked at being mindful. I’ve been much more able to stick with things and when I do drift, the spaces of not doing have become more like days instead of weeks or months. ¬†It was a tough one to get hold of because something in my unconscious was very good at just keeping my mind shuttered enough to forget to do the practice(s).

Another way I used to sabotage myself — and one I’ve seen MANY people use — was trying to make everything a question of controlling my mind. ¬†A lot of New Age/New Thought teachings encourage this idea that you can change everything by just changing your mind. ¬†Up to a point, you can, but between unconscious issues and the efforts of ego to maintain the status quo, I think it takes an approach that touches more levels of being — emotional, physical, ancestral, etc.

When people want to keep the whole journey on a mental plane, they tend to refuse to meditate or take up the Eight Key Breaths or to sing chants or any other exercise.  As you know, I deeply believe the practices designed by many ancient traditions are excellent at penetrating into the shadows and helping you to let go of the darkness and raise your consciousness.  They tend to operate on levels of energy and higher consciousness so they bypass the stranglehold ego tends to have on mental processes.

For me it was especially evident when it came to emotional release work. ¬†I was convinced I didn’t need it and I resisted all suggestions about doing something on that order. ¬†Eventually I watched a lot of friends transform while¬†doing the Fisher Hoffman process–as my late friend Ellen facilitated it, which is not what you get from the Hoffman Institute–and realized I needed to sign up. ¬†Once I’d completed the work with her I felt so fond of the sweet freedom it brings, for years I kept going through the process every time I uncovered another issue.

Absolute refusal to do a practice or exercise is a major way to sabotage yourself. ¬†I think on some level we always know when a practice is likely to open channels into the shadow and/or create a big change. ¬†Even if the change is positive, your unconscious/ego may object and create resistance. ¬†I try to check in and see whether fear of change or fear of “seeing” is behind the feeling that I absolutely don’t want to do something.

If it’s fear, I do it anyway, but sometimes I set a boundary that compromises between the “just do it” and the “no, no, no”. ¬†Maybe, “I’ll just do it three times a week for 10 minutes.” ¬†Or, I”m just going to do this today and I don’t have to do it again. ¬†And then repeat the next day. ¬†I have never been sorry I stepped beyond the fear and into the place where freedom lives.¬† Not once.

The other major way I sabotaged myself for a long time was failing to stop sometimes and allow¬†the letting go and changing to become integrated.¬† I’ve mentioned it before — I’ve been in a hurry through most of this journey and definitely inclined to push the river.¬† There were many times I should have paused for a while but I’d just study with a new teacher or take up another practice.

I think my higher self/the Universe led me into this final and life-disturbing phase with my muscle issues to get me to finally stop for a while.¬† It was HARD for me to accept but as I’ve learned to sit back and quit pushing so hard, I’ve been able to see how crucial it is to allow the slow down/integration cycle to have its place in the transformational journey.*

Sometimes resistance is your higher self telling you to stop for a while, sometimes it’s your intuition telling you this practice isn’t for you.¬† Sometimes resistance arises from fear of change or fear of a better life.¬† And it’s your challenge to figure it out…

Which is where we circle back to mindfulness. ¬†In order to be aware of how you sabotage and when you’re doing it, and in order to stay on track with doing practices, you have to spend enough time with your consciousness in¬†the¬†present moment to be aware of these things. ¬†And few people are capable of creating a new “mindfulness” groove without practicing.

As I mentioned back in the first post in this series, I find that any practice, from chanting to movement (tai chi, Tibetan Rites, walking meditation…) to guided or silent meditation, can be a lesson in mindfulness if you focus on the practice and your breath and let any intruding thoughts drift away. ¬†The practices will impact other issues and levels at the same time you’re learning to stay in the moment, so it’s a positive all around.

If you want to play piano, you practice. ¬†If you want to learn French, you practice. ¬†If you want to let go of whatever binds you and expand into the Divine Being you really are…. ¬† PRACTICE. ¬†And if you’re sabotaging yourself by not practicing — or practicing too much — figure how to gently move yourself through the fear. ¬†And then practiceūüôā


*And it isn’t that I quit doing any practices, I just stuck mainly with the ones that ease my muscles and keep me balanced

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Part 3: Practices and Creating New Grooves

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seemed like I was never going to get back to this series, I know, but Olympics mania is over and I’m ready to get back to posts.

One Chair or Many and Going Deep

When it comes to doing practices, there’s a big divide among teachers about whether you need to “sit in the one chair” (i.e. pick one spiritual path and follow only its teachings) and those who feel it’s best to choose the practices you like and create your own path. ¬†A similar disagreement exists about frequency of practice, how much you practice, etc., which I’ll discuss in the next section.

Since I’ve never found “one chair” I wanted to sit in, I’ve been like Goldilocks, moving from chair to chair. ¬†I’ve slowly put together a spiritual path that’s eclectic and ever evolving … ¬†and just seems to suit me.

I have stopped sometimes in one chair for one or several years so I have some understanding of the benefits of moving deeply into one set of practices. ¬†But generally I still had other practices or teachers in play so I don’t know what it’s like to literally follow only one tradition.

My observation over the years is that growth depends on willingness to dig deep and face the shadow. ¬†And you can avoid doing it whether you’re on one path or following many. ¬†I’ve known just as many people who spent years skimming along the surface of one tradition as I’ve known people who’ve used flitting from one chair to another as a way to avoid the depths.

If you want to grow and transform on your spiritual path, my first piece of advice is:

Commit to exploring all the issues and emotions you’ve buried in the shadows.

Ancient practices are generally designed to open up those dark spaces as are some great modern body work and movement techniques. ¬†It’s easy to tense up or change how you’re practicing so you close those avenues and stay on the surface. ¬†If you stay aware, you can catch yourself resisting and choose to move through it, allowing the release to happen.

For instance, the movements I teach which trigger deep releases often release deep into places where people hold buried issues and memories. ¬†When they start touching into something they don’t want to see, they often (1) make the movements smaller so they’re not going as deep into the muscles or (2) speed up, which automatically also makes the movement smaller and which makes the release less likely or (3) refuse to do the movement at all. ¬†Every practice holds the possibility of surrendering to the opening it offers or finding a way to avoid the opening.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is how to recognize (1) when I’m resisting and (2) when I’m recognizing something either isn’t going to make a difference or that it’s not the practice for me. ¬†I’ve been fortunate in choosing alternative therapies/therapists or practices, as I’ve had a reliable “yes” meter. ¬†If I feel a big “yes” when I encounter a new therapist or practice, it’s going to be a good match. ¬†If I feel indifferent or a big “no” but do it anyway, it usually isn’t helpful or is a bad experience.

There are, however, moments with a good therapist or practice when I know I’m just resisting. ¬†For me it shows up as a big knot in my stomach and feeling anxious. ¬†It tells me there’s something there my ego or inner child has been holding back from my consciousness. ¬†Since I now appreciate the freedom involved in opening those places, I relax or breathe into the therapy or movement or chant or… ¬†and let the buried issue rise to the surface where I can release it.

It’s worth learning how your resistance shows up¬†— you may have a knot in your stomach or it may show up elsewhere in your body or as a mental shut down or a big emotional sensation… ¬†Just learn what your “nudge” is and then choose to gently keep moving through it.

Specifics of Practice

My personal experience of practicing has been that well-designed practices have an impact if you believe they will. ¬†And it doesn’t matter if you follow every step of a prescribed list of “must dos” or do it every single day. ¬†If you’re reasonably committed to doing a practice regularly and you do it as best you can, it will have an effect.

I’ve run into a lot of teachers over the years who insist you have to do the practice they’re touting in a very specific way and often add you must do it every day. ¬†And they tell you it won’t do any good if you fail to follow all the rules. ¬†I often wonder if they understand how many people are convinced not to even try because of such statements.

More and more in recent years I’ve been noticing how much Judeo-Christian religious thinking permeates New Age/New Thought spirituality–at least the U.S. version of it. ¬†For me that includes strong views about good and evil, right and wrong and following all the “right” rules the “right way” in order to be “saved” or, in this case, “enlightened”.

I see the teachers who need everybody to meditate or chant in only a very precise way and who teach you that the practice will be useless or worthless if you fail to follow every rule as being caught in that religious institution-style view of black and white rules and a vengeful God who rewards and punishes based on rule-following.

Some teachers are very fussy about sitting in a precise position for meditation. ¬†Most of those positions are pretty uncomfortable for me so I’ve modified them by either using a Nada Chair¬†or by lying down. ¬†I have amazing meditations and doing them has been central to transforming my life so I just roll my eyes when somebody tries to tell me I can only meditate sitting cross-legged with my hands in a certain mudra and a shawl around my shoulders, etc.

There are fussy versions of many practices, with similar admonitions about no impact if not done precisely so.¬† I hope no one ever lets such nonsense prevent them from practicing but I’ve known people who felt they might as well not bother at all because they couldn’t do it every day or didn’t want to have to follow every rule, etc.¬† I say,

do what you can without worries about being perfect and the practices will help you

Daily practice will obviously have a greater impact than sporadic practice (or no practiceūüôā ), but I’ve found over the years that skipping a day or two a week doesn’t make much difference and I’ve made progress on every other day–just not as much.¬† I even think sometimes letting yourself miss a practice can be just what you need.

The bottom line for me is:¬† the benefits of practices like meditation, tai chi, chanting, etc. are so great, choose one or more practices that suit you, do the basics of it/them to the best of your ability, and figure out a schedule you can commit to–even if you do something three times a week for 15 minutes, it can start to create new grooves.

See also Part 1 and Part 2 for more on practices.

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Meditating with Wayne

I recently took the companion book to Wayne Dyer’s film The Shift off the shelf and finally started reading it.¬† Which led me to remember I have his recording with two versions of his Getting in the Gap meditation (one around 15 minutes, one about 26).¬† I instantly felt drawn to do it again and enjoyed it so much I’ve been doing it every day for several days.

I’ve always liked the shorter version as a lead-in to other meditations.¬† His meditation does a nice job of getting my mind quiet and focused.¬† I can feel great if I stop with Getting in the Gap but I’ve been feeling like I want to start singing some of the Deva Primal chants again, so each day after I “get in the gap”, I’ve been choosing a chant to sing.

With the meditation completed first, I notice as I sing my focus on the chant is much stronger from the opening “Om” and less interrupted by my busy mind.¬† The combo leaves me feeling so at peace.

In several ways the guided practice causes you to be mindful, either focused on a word or focused on empty space or singing the sound “ah”, which in all traditions is part of the sound of the word for God, thus deepening your connection to the Universal Source.

I’ve long thought this little meditation is a great opener for anyone who wants a way in to meditating or who wants an easy way back after a hiatus.¬† Or it’s just a nice meditation practice to do regularly.

I’m not sure whether any of the versions on YouTube are exactly like mine but I’m sure the basic meditation is the same.¬† This one follows the script of the long one and adds the bonus of visuals if you want to do it open-eyed:

 

J2P Monday: Peace and Politics

English: Peace Symbol at a school in Germany. ...

Symbol at a school in Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every political season (does it ever end now?) for some years has felt a little ornerier and more contentious than the last. ¬†This time around I’m struggling to hold my space of peace in the face of the vitriol I run into every time I look at Facebook or turn on the TV.

Whatever your political persuasion, you do not contribute to peace by ridiculing, vilifying or angrily condemning the folks on the other side.  And I get it.  I struggle to keep hatred at bay when I contemplate Donald Trump.  But as I look at the countless ugly remarks, snotty commentaries and general malevolence toward him I wonder if anyone stops to think about how hatred and malevolence destroy peace.

Every time I think those angry thoughts or see one of those snotty posts, if I direct those kinds of barbs and jokes at him, I have to ask myself how am I then any different than him?  When I behave as badly as he does, I am basically being him.  More crucially, when I aim those arrows, I am not staying conscious of the one true thing:  I AM HIM AND HE IS ME.

I really like Deepak Chopra’s analysis of Donald Trump as being the representative of the Shadow. ¬†And his reminder that failure to face the shadow within us is always present when the Hitlers, Idi Amins, Joseph McCarthys and Trumps of the world step up and carry us into darkness. ¬†For me the key point¬†of this reminder is the knowledge to which I always return: ¬†the only heart I can change is mine.

Anyone or anything I see outside of me and feel is bad or wrong or disturbing reflects something in me. ¬†So if I’m not happy with Trump (or substitute whatever candidate you abhor), then what aspects of him are in me? ¬†What am I not facing?

  • What do I fear so greatly in the world? ¬†If I see him as coming from fear and working on creating fear, where is the fear in me that I’m not seeing?
  • How poor is my self-esteem if I see him as lacking it?
  • In what ways am I as hateful as I perceive him being?
  • How am I “dumb” to the realities of life going on around me?
  • How and when do I share fear instead of love?

Anything I can see in me I can heal. ¬†As I’ve noted many times, I love using the Ho’opono pono prayer for healing.

  • For every way in which I allow fear to displace love and peace, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For every hateful thought I harbor for anyone, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For seeing anyone ever as “other”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • For any way in which I lack enough faith to know in all ways every day all is well, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you
  • If there is anything within me that blocks me from “being peace”, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you

CHALLENGE:

Yep, I haven’t issued a challenge for a long time, but here’s one I challenge you to do throughout this political season in the U.S. or, if you live in a place where no election is looming until you feel at peace with it:

  1. No matter who you favor and who you don’t among the candidates [if you’re not in an election cycle make it a politician you dislike], every time you catch yourself thinking with fear, animosity, or hatred about any candidate, stop and create a list of things that upset or disturb you about that candidate.
  2. Go deep within and ask yourself where within you does each thing on the list exist? ¬†What are the fears that create the anger? ¬†What’s going on with your faith?
  3. Do whatever healing practice you wish, whether it’s saying the ho’onopono pono prayer or doing Reiki or following a guided meditation for healing or???, about everything you discover within you. ¬†And keep doing it until you can look at all the candidates and only feel peace.

 

Switching things up and other miscellany

SF Skyline 2016

For some reason the process of organization involved in writing my pieces about practices ¬†(first two here and here) is beyond my mental capacity lately. ¬†So, those posts are still coming but I had a few more stream-of-consciousness thoughts I thought I’d try to convey… ¬†We’ll see what my mind’s willing to doūüôā

SUN PORCH LIFE

Something like 11 months ago I had a revelation when I shifted gears on many entrenched daily habits and watched a movie on a laptop perched on a table on our sun porch. ¬†When I first moved here I spent a lot of time on the sun porch but in my recent years of being a sedentary hermit I’d taken to hanging out all day in the far darker family room with my laptop in my lap.

By several months later I was writing a post about  making some small changes which seemed to be helping.  And then a few months after that I wrote of making a practice of doing little things, which was reinforced by watching a Matt Kahn video exhorting us all to do just that.

The sun porch habit has been growing and I suddenly realized as the summer has progressed I’ve moved into a pattern of hanging out on the sun porch most days for at least half an hour and often more like three or four.¬† I’ve been leaving an old laptop on the porch table and writing out there.

Still trying out playlists (another of the new things), though I sometimes get stuck on one.  In a burst of nostalgia when I thought Nashville was cancelled I put together a Spotify playlist of the albums from the show and have played it a lot and started buying my faves, creating a still-growing playlist of the ones I love best.  It also has me singing again.

After years of voice lessons, dreaming of a music career, singing briefly in a band, etc. these recent years of not playing music have also meant not singing even for my own pleasure. ¬†It’s been great fun singing along again and especially fun to join some of the great duos and trios they’ve put together on the show and pick out one of the harmony lines to sing along with.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m still in kind of a waiting phase, so in terms of a big list of things accomplished my life looks pretty uneventful. ¬†But I keep realizing there’s something about this draw to be back in the sunniest room in the house and spending time writing and reading instead of watching TV while on the computer that feels like a sea change.

Every day I feel it like a need, to head to the room full of windows and skylights and be in the light again. ¬†More and more, once I’m out there, I keep doing one more thing and then another to avoid going back to my little nest in the family room with the laptop in my lap and the TV playing.

The exercise bike is out there and a yoga mat, so I’ve also been doing more exercise and movement practices while gazing at the green yard decorated with pink and red roses.

There’s something about this shift that feels so important to the process of coming alive again and getting my stamina back.

CHANGING EXERCISES AND PRACTICES

I’ve been getting a kick lately at the many pundits I’m seeing who now advise that in spiritual practices and also in exercises, it’s best to have a shifting roster instead of choosing one or two. ¬†I’ll get into the multi-practice vs. one practice bit in the next piece in the practices series.

But given my small revelation last fall about doing a few small new things and feeling so much better for it, I love seeing this is now the big recommendation.  I even just read a piece that says switching among different types of exercise is better for your muscles.

I, of course, have mentioned I’ve been switching it up with both spiritual practices and physical exercises (some of which coincide with one another… both spiritual and physical). ¬†I’m learning that it suits me much better and I’m much more likely to pick¬†something to do each day if I can choose the one(s) I’m drawn to do instead of doing whatever I’ve decided I “must” do.

And now I find out instead of this being the path of a dilettante, it’s the best way to do it. ¬†Who knew? :-)¬† Well, I was clear it’s been good for me…

UNWINDING CONTINUES

In the meantime, the tight, tight stuff at the core continues to unwind.¬† I’ve been fascinated lately to realize there’s clearly an energy meridian going from my eyes to my feet* down both sides and some of the opening behind my eyes has sent floods of energy through those opening pathways.

Both the unwinding and the bursts of energy interfere with sleep and the process continues to leave me tired but it’s all kind of exciting!


*I know there are liver meridians that go from somewhere not too far in toward your nose from the inside point of each eyebrow down all or most of the way but I’d need to consult with an acupuncturist as to whether those are the two I’m currently opening.

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‚ÄúSharing French Fries With a Stranger in the Chicago Airport‚ÄĚ – By Carmelene Melanie Siani

I am working on what’s turning out to be two more parts of my series on practices, but this Kindness Blog post is such a good tale of staying in the moment and holding focus on the positive I couldn’t resist sharing it

Kindness Blog

I had been sitting at the bar in the Chicago airport talking congenially over drinks for 20 minutes or so with a young woman from Berkeley, California. 

She worked in production for a film company, was flying to Burbank and was a total stranger.

‚ÄúAre you done with your French fries?‚ÄĚ I asked as she pushed her plate away.

‚ÄúOh, sure‚ÄĚ she said, nudging that same plate towards me. ‚ÄúHelp yourself.‚ÄĚ

The TV was on. She had just finished saying that she was worried about the election and about the terrorist shootings.

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs like the world is falling apart,‚ÄĚ she lamented.

She was worried about our future, about our country and about feeling unsafe in an unsafe world.

‚ÄúPay attention to the world around you,‚ÄĚ I told her, ‚ÄúThe one you live in.¬† Don‚Äôt pay attention to the one that is translated for you by that,‚ÄĚ I said, gesturing towards‚Ķ

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PART 2: PRACTICES AND CREATING NEW GROOVES

What the Bleep Do We Know!?

What the Bleep Do We Know!? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I wrote some general benefits of regularly performing sacred practices.  Now I want to talk about how those benefits help you to create new patterns.

Ten years ago, when I bought What the Bleep:  Down the Rabbit Hole, I watched it over and over.  And I especially played certain sections about the science multiple times.  One of the pieces that had a huge impact was the stuff about how we create neural nets, the patterns of thinking and habits of doing that become the fabric of our lives.

The news that an overload of negative patterns can shift your peptide receptors so you can no longer take in positive thoughts, foods, etc. ¬†resonated deeply for me. ¬†And, of course, the idea that you can change those patterns was something I’d been working on since I started off in 1985 with the “you create your reality with your thoughts” philosophy (for more recent converts/younger people, think Law of Attraction).

Most of what I worked with on the creating reality front was mental.  Although my therapist also taught me a number of meditations in which I could release or change something, the process was by and large mental.  And I believe changing your mind is a crucial part of the process.

But it’s not the only way you can make changes. ¬†And, over the course of 30 years of performing various practices, I’ve come to believe that practices can make a huge difference in changing patterns.

BACK TO MINDFULNESS

As noted in Part 1, most spiritual practices, if done with focus and attention, can help train you to keep your mind more quiet and focused in the moment. ¬†If you want to change your thinking, it’s just about impossible to do if you can’t stay mindful enough to realize when you’re running negative tapes or falling into old patterns.

Although I’ve met a few people over the years who seemed to be able to encounter Wayne Dyer or Louise Hay, flip a switch and suddenly be positive all the time, for most of us it requires a lot of work to even notice all the negative tapes playing in the background. ¬†And without mindfulness training of some sort, I don’t see how you can stay present enough to turn around those negative thoughts.

The critical editor in your mind, who constantly criticizes, complains, and points out the bad in everything, tends to run rampant and keeps a flood of those kinds of thoughts racing around.  That becomes a groove; a set of neural nets that only notice and only run unhappy thoughts.

Practices that train the mind to be more quiet over time start creating a new groove in which the mind becomes more comfortable without the constant chatter and it slowly becomes easier to stay aware of your thinking and change its direction.

THE CALM AND BALANCED GROOVE

When I do a yoga set or the Five Tibetan Rites or “sit vipassana” I always notice that the state of balance and calm these practices induce lasts for hours afterwards. ¬†Over the years, these hours of calm have created a new pattern of serenity that carries into pretty much all areas of my life. ¬†And I doubt you’ve ever known anyone who was any more tense, anxious, and neurotic than I used to beūüôā

Combined with the greater mindfulness the practices have also created, I can much more readily notice when anything has thrown me off balance and almost immediately call back the calm.

A big component of Feldenkrais’ and Robert Masters’ (student of Feldenkrais who created the Psychophysical Method I use in my teaching) work is the idea that if you notice how your body normally is held and then do something to release it and purposefully note the change, you will eventually create a stronger pull to the one that feels better. ¬†I think of it as making a new neural net or pattern.

I think the calm, balance and serenity of these practices affect you the same way.  When your mind starts contrasting the anxiety or tension before you practice with the peacefulness afterward, it moves toward the pattern that feels better and begins to hold it more often and more strongly.

I also find after I’ve done the Eight Key Breaths or chanted the Lovingkindness chant, for instance, the negative tapes and thoughts just don’t have a foothold for a while. ¬†My mind is more positive when I feel that centered and balanced. ¬†I’ve noted it’s a great time to say or listen to affirmations as my whole being is more receptive from that calm space.

BYPASSING THE MIND

I tried for a long time to make these changes mainly through mental processes. ¬†I wanted to “think away” the negative thoughts. ¬†I’ve known a LOT¬†of people over the years who want to accomplish the spiritual journey only by working on the mental side.

Over time I’ve learned there are too many levels to us to work just on the mind. ¬†I’ve also found that the ego more easily controls, blocks and redirects mental efforts.

Most of the practices I’ve ever encountered work much more on the spiritual, physical and sometimes emotional levels. ¬†Movement practices often open key areas of the body so both blood and prana flow more readily everywhere. ¬†Sometimes they stretch muscles enough to release emotions and issues held within.

Even more important, they build energy and help to bring it into balance.  When the energy is flowing freely and is balanced, it can shift you more profoundly than just changing your thoughts.

I’ve found it’s often easier to shift if I bypass my mind with practices than if I try to force my mind to change. ¬†About 8 years ago I went back to faithful practice of the Eight Key Breaths, the Five Tibetan Rites and Flying Crane Chi Gung. ¬†As I wrote a while back, I felt I needed to approach my remaining physical and emotional issues and blocks with energy.

I generally always have several types of practices and some body work going at the same time, so it’s hard to credit one particular thing, but the fact that I’ve finally been pushing through the hold-out muscles and issues can be credited in large part, I feel, to doing those practices. ¬†While I’ve also had AMAZING body work and I also credit the great therapists I’ve seen, I’m not sure their work would have worked as well¬†without the energy practices opening and moving and shifting as much as they did (still do…).

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As you can see, I really love doing various practices and I absolutely believe those practices have been a major component in the many, many ways in which my life has changed. ¬†In the final part of this series I’ll explore how many of us sabotage ourselves by not practicing and some of the reasons why.