Choosing happiness

Someone posted a clip of Mo Gawdat on Facebook (I have a habit of opening stuff like that in another tab and not viewing until later; then I don’t remember who pointed me there ūüôā ) and his message about happiness turned out to be so in line with things I’ve been thinking.

I particularly love the distinction he makes between fun and happiness — much like my thoughts about over-stimulation often being mistaken for joy. ¬†Though there are longer videos in which he discusses this in greater depth, I purposely chose to use this short clip to make it easier for you to get the gist:

Being Positive, Discovering Issues and the Fine Line Between

Many times over the years I’ve circled around to a contemplation of whether I need to dig around in my past and discover old issues or it would be better to hold positive thoughts. ¬†I’ve wound up after landing for periods of time on both sides, concluding that most of us need a combo. ¬†And maybe there’s a time more for one and a time for the other.

I started off in the “You Create Your Own Reality”, positive-thinking and affirmations mode. ¬†Initially, when I was in total excitement with discovering this whole new way of thinking and being, it worked magically well for me (which certainly fits the theory of the Law of Attraction). ¬†But — at least as I see it — I eventually hit the wall of negative beliefs which permeated my being and it seemed like my spiritual progression ground to a halt.

Still clinging to a belief that this spiritual path offered a better way forward, I kept plugging and wound up being guided to Ellen Margron’s marvelous version of the Fisher-Hoffman Process (Ellen has since died and as far as I’m aware no one else had similarly developed or taken on the longer and more comprehensive process she created). ¬†Massive amounts of digging around in my belief system and releasing (“processing”) beliefs that no longer served me transformed many aspects of my life and I became a firm believer in the need to do some excavating.

Over the years I’ve periodically run into teachers who feel it’s more important to hold positive thoughts and not necessary to examine the past. ¬†Initially I couldn’t even compute what they were trying to say. ¬†I now get it if I think of neural nets. ¬†Creating new positive thoughts and beliefs can build new neural nets and your unconscious will often start taking down the old thinking patterns as it recognizes how much better the new pattern feels– or at least guide you to behave/respond from the newer nets.

But many neural patterns are so intertwined and complex and well-established, I decided somewhere along the way that just saying affirmations and “thinking positive” is kind of like aiming a drip of water at the top of Mt. Everest and waiting for the mountain to erode…. ¬†And I also noticed how often people’s determined positivity seemed more like denial than a true shift.

During “The Process” Ellen taught us about layers of being. ¬†The divine essence or true heart is in the center, then the next circle is the negative thoughts and beliefs we develop as we’re taught that we’re not divine and perfect and then around that we circle the mask of the personality we choose to present. ¬†The most fascinating piece for me was the news that meditating or affirming, etc. while determinedly avoiding the roiling circle of negativity in the middle CREATES ANOTHER LAYER AROUND THE OUTSIDE instead of taking you into the heart.

This really describes the sense of denial I sometimes feel from some peoples’ “positive outlooks” — like a big layer of plastic is covering something they’re avoiding. ¬†In pursuit of spirituality or calm or peacefulness they’ve thickened the layers hiding the true heart instead of illuminating it.

That said, after years of digging and excavating I’ve come to see you can also get kind of caught up in the other direction and turn life into a constant process of finding what you need to fix. ¬†For those of us who already suspect something is deeply “wrong” with us, it’s an easy trap in which to land.

Having cleared a great deal, I’ve come to a place where I feel a lot of benefit from holding to positive thoughts. ¬†I keep watch for negative belief patterns but instead of feeling I need to pursue and “process” them, I work at staying mindful enough to turn around the thought to a statement that carries the belief I’d rather hold. ¬†I’ve written before about some of the other ways I submerge myself in affirmative thinking so here I’ll just say I can feel the neural nets changing from all the steps toward thinking more positively.

In the end I’d have to say I feel it’s both. ¬†If you hold a huge amount of negative thought patterns — especially if they’re ancestral patterns of thought that have been passed down for generations — I think some excavating out of the past is the only way you’re going to step beyond¬†it. ¬†And I really think if you feel absolutely determined never to examine your life¬†there’s a big issue just in that to explore. ¬†Why are you unwilling to look into whatever may be holding on and hindering you?

It’s kind of a juggling act I’d say between exploring issues as you become aware of them and creating a new structure of thinking. ¬†And I’d guess in the early stages of the journey most of us need a bit more on the digging around side and as we clear issues it becomes more fruitful to work on building new neural nets with positive thoughts and beliefs. ¬†I’d love to hear some chiming in from some of you deep thinkers out there! ¬†What’s been your experience?

Note: ¬†Zoe at HopeDreamWait¬†has nominated me for a Cramm Blog award. ¬†I quit participating in these blog awards some time ago, but I am so grateful to Zoe for nominating me — thanks!. ¬†Her blog is fun, so check her out!

 

Yoga for the Homeless

Since I’ve been practicing yoga for 30+ years and teaching off and on for something like 25, it seemed only fitting that my first participation in the We Are the World Blogfest should share a positive and uplifting piece about yoga.¬† I love the idea of offering yoga to homeless people.¬† Knowing the power of yoga practice to balance your energy and move you into a stronger more centered space, I imagine these programs (this isn’t the only one out there) are having an important impact.

The five co-hosts for this month’s event are:

  1. Belinda Witzenhausen
  2. Lynn Hallbrooks
  3. Simon Falk
  4. Sylvia McGrath
  5. Damyanti Biswas

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Subtle shifting

English: Beach, Grescleit. The sands are shift...

Shifting Sands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spent several weeks recently reading my way through Life Loves You by Robert Holden and Louise Hay and sort of doing the practices.  Some I did exactly as provided, some I re-crafted to use similar practices I know..

It’s been a return to the sort of practices and info I devoured at the beginning of my spiritual journey.¬† On one hand I’ve very much enjoyed the return to the basics as well as seeing how much more these things flow after years of clearing away emotional debris and physically opening my body.¬† On the other hand, counter to their predictions for big change, this far down the road and after the huge amounts of change and release I’ve already undergone, to me the impacts of this work were subtle.

Getting my mind to quit running old tapes and stop reacting out of inter-generational habits has been one of my great challenges.¬† I’ve finally reached a place where the kind of positive thinking, gratitude and forgiveness practices in this book grab hold with greater ease and I’m so pleased to feel the years of work on affirmations and retraining my brain are resulting in finally seeing a bigger impact from such practices.

The piece about which I’ve been most excited was a little change that suddenly happened with my lovingkindness chanting several weeks in on the Life Loves You venture.¬† As you know, I’ve been a fan of the lovingkindness chant for years and since the election I’ve established a regular practice of chanting it for 10 minutes 4 or 5 times a week.¬† Suddenly one night I found myself saying it with a change of emphasis while simultaneously being flooded with a sense of the meaning of each separate affirmation:

  • I am filled with lovingkindness
  • I am well
  • I am peaceful and at ease
  • I am happy

It’s hard to describe the inner shift as I say it now.¬† Over the years I’ve mostly said it as one continuous piece.¬† It’s always been powerful for me, always opened a big flow of energy through my heart.¬† But now I’m saying it with a great consciousness of each phrase being an affirmation of something I truly assert to be true — and the powerful feeling has grown.

Another phase of major unwinding has been unfolding as well, opening some significant pieces where my left eye, cheek and jaw have all felt crunched together.  Still not done, but open enough to feel something significant is happening.

Then the other night I had a bunch of tabs open on my browser and as I moved from one to another I noticed I had 5 FB notifications, 5 new posts waiting on WP, 5 notifications from Pinterest, an ad with a big “5” in it….¬† Although I find it interesting, I’ve never had a conscious experience of one or more numbers repeating like that.¬† Linda over at litebeing chronicles does pay a lot of attention to numbers and knows a lot about it so when the first post I saw on FB the next day was from her and IT had “5” in it, I asked her about the meaning.¬† “Change,” she said.¬† I also found a site with spiritual meanings of numbers and “manifestation” came up.

Feels like the Universe is giving me a big thumbs up and confirming big change is afoot!

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A little catch up, a little FYI …

Robin 2017

Robin in our back yard 2017

Muscles in my face are still going nuts and when they’re not I can’t seem to stop sleeping (possibly something to do with thousand of hours of sleep deprivation — and yup, I figured that out with all kinds of math formulas … not ūüôā ) so I have posts floating in the recesses of my mind but haven’t been able to sit down and focus enough to write them.

I’ve still been trying to keep up the regular chanting practice (lovingkindness chant + Gayatri Mantra + Om Shanti Shanti) yet also work my way through the practices in Life Loves You.¬† Also weaving some of the kundalini yoga sets I used to do regularly¬†back into my practice schedule along with the yoga/Robert Masters/exercise bike routines I’ve been doing and trying to hit the Eight Key Breaths, and Five Tibetan Rites as well.

Sometimes I feel like I know so many practices and exercises that I could get up in the morning and start doing them and just keep going all day long if I wanted to hit everything faithfully…¬† So many different ones serve different purposes in energy or muscles or feeling tones.¬† Right now I’m just juggling in a “go-with-the-flow” kind of thing, seeing what feels right each day during the time set aside.

Wanted to also mention a couple of new things I’ve run into that I think would be of interest to some of the regulars around here.¬† Belinda Witzenhausen has started a blog hop thingy devoted to promoting stories of love and positivity.¬† You can sign up on a linky page to participate and the first posts are to go up on March 31.

I’ve also signed up for a class offered through Daily OM called Release Yourself from Family Karma.¬† As you know, I’ve been working on clearing ancestral issues for some time now and this class looks like a good opportunity to identify and clear some remaining issues.¬† And they nicely allow you to choose your payment¬† on a sliding scale of $10.00, $25.00 or $40.00 (the default seems to be $25 but if you click on that it opens up to a menu with the three options).

And my time to chant is calling now…¬† Peace, out…

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Gratitude, blessings and change afoot

of light and shadow

of light and shadow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m seeing reason for hope in the turmoil since the U.S. election.¬† And I’m seeing many ways in which it is facilitating healing in my life.

I started a chanting practice within a day or two after the election to replace the fear with love and compassion.¬† Although I’ve loved and used the lovingkindness chant for something like 20 years, I generally just say it to myself a few times a day and occasionally do a week of practice when something comes up that warrants it.

Three months in now, I’m finding a daily dose of metta combined with the heart-opening Gayatra Mantra and Om Shanti Shanti chants is pushing buttons, shifting energy, bringing things to the surface and leading me into some healing work I don’t know that I’d have done without the impetus of current events.

And I started being led to teachings and materials that address issues about self love I have not resolved.¬† I’ve been amused to note as well, many of the materials bring me back to the New Age type teachings with which I began this journey 30+ years ago.

First I signed up for a Vow to Love, a series of meditations on bringing love into self and the world by fellow blogger Karen Chrappa and have been very slowly working my way through them.¬† Then I got a head’s up about a new Louise Hay book, Life Loves You.

life-loves-you

After failing to get a free version to show up I found the e-book for $1.99 and started reading and doing the mirror work.¬† I’ve known a bit about her mirror work for 30 years but hadn’t ever done any.¬† Mirror work has been tapping me on the shoulder for about a year now and this felt like the moment to dive in.

abundance-factor

I also found a link to “The Abundance Factor” movie which, for a couple more days is free to watch here (not embedding as I assume it will disappear when the free bit is up), which I found to be a much better version of the Secret.¬† I particularly like that it very carefully and repeatedly acknowledges abundance as more than just material things.

A few other messages here and there have chimed in.¬† Together these little journeys have pointed up the unresolved issues about self-love and self-worth still dwelling in me.¬† It’s not that I haven’t worked on self love issues or improved over the years but I can see now there’s a core place of shame and fear I’ve never touched in spite of massive digging around in my psyche and multiple insights, practices and breakthroughs.

There are a lot of posts and essays floating around discussing the “shadow” represented by the Republican Administration.¬† I agree this rise of conservative and sometimes nasty values represents shadow stuff that needs to be cleared,¬† but I also feel liberals and progressives have a lot of uncleared shadow stuff that’s just as much represented in this rise of hatefulness as any shadows within the government.¬† And that includes me.

Liberals have long had a tendency to see the world in terms of battles and struggles and regularly use words of violence to describe their activities.¬† I first started being disturbed by the dark underbelly of activism in the 80’s.¬† I did a lot of work with public interest groups and noted with growing unease how readily my colleagues stepped up for faceless people in far away places and yet how snotty they could be with people in the same room.

An example that has always stuck with me was a boyfriend who worked zealously on abolishing the death penalty with absolute conviction that it is never right to kill someone.¬† When a CIA operative was killed in the Middle East, this same crusader against death grinned with delight and announced the guy deserved it.¬† “How,” I asked, “do you reconcile a belief it’s not okay to kill anyone with a belief that it was a good thing to kill that guy?”¬† He was LIVID.¬† We didn’t date too long after that ūüôā

I find that sort of hypocrisy — the sort liberals like to point out in conservatives — disturbing.¬† I found the anger behind much of what they did troubling.¬† As I moved more and more onto a spiritual path I participated less and less in activism but grew more and more to believe the world needs peaceful activism, an activism conceived and carried out by loving hearts.

The only heart I can truly influence is mine.¬† So I’m grateful these uneasy times have led me to practices and explorations that are revealing shadow material and allowing me to acknowledge and release it.¬† The more of us who clear these shadows, the more the world will move toward peace.¬† My number one commitment is to release any remaining shadows in me.¬† I want to Be Peace not just talk about it.

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Check out my guest post on Me My Magnificent Self

Barbara Franken has asked for guest posts about compassion on her blog, Me My Magnificent Self, and today my post is featured.¬† I’m so pleased — hope you check it out.¬† And look at the bottom of the post for info on how to participate with your own post on compassion:

The Magnificent Leigh Gaitskill… Author, Blogger and Peace wayshower who teaches us how essential it is to move in peace. Welcome dear Leigh to my NEW Guest Blogger/Author Feature, it is truly my pleasure to shine light on YOU now. IAM honoured to have you amongst my Divine friends here on WordPress, to read your…

via Guest Blogger/Author Feature‚Ķ The Magnificent Leigh Gaitskill ‚ÄĒ Me, My Magnificent Self

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Love is rising: where are you focused?

Nearly Full Moon over my back yard

Nearly Full Moon over my back yard

Being very mindful that energy flows where attention goes, I’ve been working at finding positive things on which to focus.¬† And I’m happy to report I’m finding a lot of cause for hope.¬† I was especially happy to see a report the other day that the Schumann Resonance has recorded the highest frequency ever as of January 31.

Considered to be “Earth’s Heartbeat” frequency, the Resonance has been linked to human brain activity/consciousness and a rise in this frequency has been correlated by some to a rise in human consciousness.¬† I’m seeing this recent spike as arising from the worldwide movement sparked by current events and leading to multitudes standing together in support and/or mediating and reflecting on peace and heartfulness.

I’m seeing stories about people cleaning hate graffiti off a New York subway car and a Synagogue in Victoria, Texas gave keys to the Muslims whose Mosque burned down so they can continue having services.¬† I’m seeing people supporting the protest at Standing Rock in numerous ways.¬† More and more stories of people standing up in support of their brothers and sisters of every race, creed and religion are showing up every day and my heart fills with joy at every one I see.

In each of these stories there is a choice of focus.  I could choose to dwell on the hate behind the anti-Semitic graffiti or the possibility the burning of the Mosque was arson or the corporate greed behind the pipeline.  Or I can choose to dwell on the lovingkindness of those who cleaned the graffiti, gave the keys to the Synagogue and who stand with the Native Americans at Standing Rock.  I choose the love.

Energy flows where attention goes.  If your attention is on the hate, you send energy to it which creates more.  If you focus on the love and compassion you send energy there and create more.  It is entirely your choice where you will focus and to which end you will send energy.

If you choose to focus all your attention on the haters, you’re as much a part of the problem as they are.¬† Choose the love.¬† It doesn’t mean you don’t notice what’s happening it’s that you change your focus to celebrating those who are doing the right thing instead of those who are doing wrong.

I see a global consciousness of oneness and the need to stand up for one another rising.  I see love growing bigger not only in the world, but as I continue to chant for lovingkindness and a heart filled with love (see post), I feel my being shifting into more and more into a space of love.

For the first time the Schumann Resonance reached 36.  I plan to do all I can to be part of taking it higher by continuing to focus on being peace and love.  Where are you going to put your attention?  Which do you want to feed, the love or the hate?

Addendum:  I love this video discussing Gandhi and his approach to changing the world by changing your self and the list of organizations bringing his spirit into the world:

Video from KarmaTube

For more on the Schumann Resonance:

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Part 3 Peace Begins with You: Mental Body

What the Bleep Do We Know!?

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

Mental attitude has a huge impact on your life and what you draw into your life.¬† If you want to be an emissary of peace your thoughts need to be peaceful.¬† Most of us have a lot of negative tapes playing in our heads, beliefs and ideas planted in early childhood and running on endless loops in the background.¬† This piece of the series explores some of the things you can do to “change your mind”.

It is tough to break this down into separate parts because all our “parts” are so integrated, but I do think there are practices for each aspect of being and it helps to work on all levels.¬† Still, it’s been a struggle to separate this piece.

The mental body winds up ruled much of the time by unconscious issues and beliefs held in the emotional body, for instance, so it helps to dig into what lies beneath.¬† But that’s for the emotional body piece…

When I began this journey affirmations, visualizations and general positive thinking were front and center in the New Age movement and many of us thought we’d spout affirmations for a few months and our lives would be forever changed.¬† The choice to move in that direction probably did change our lives but we found it takes more and longer for most people.

While I’ve always had some degree of success with visualizing and/or affirming something and creating that reality, this has really been one of the toughest aspects of the journey for me — the “simple” act of changing my mind.¬† Oh, I thought I’d done it.¬† Become Miss Positivity.¬† I was 20 years down the road before I really “got” how many negative tapes looped through my head all day every day.

If you spend 10 or 20 minutes a day purposefully repeating some positive affirmations/statements and then the other 23 hours and 40 minutes running negative tapes, guess which wins?¬† When negative issues and beliefs are running the show from the unconscious, I think affirmations are kind of like dripping water onto a mountain and waiting for erosion to take it down…

By the time I realized how negative my thinking really was, I’d done a LOT of emotional release work.¬† Once I began concentrating on positive thinking I could see how much more impact it had than before all that clearing.

Some of the things I’ve used:

  1. I set up a “mindful” watcher to pay attention and alert me to negative tapes and their patterns.¬† When I realize a given tape is running a lot, I write a positive turnaround/affirmation and every time I catch the negative thought, I instantly repeat the turnaround multiple times.
  2. I created a long playlist of Dick Sutphen’s affirmations on Spotify and generally if I’m on the computer, it’s playing very softly in the background; soft enough to be almost subliminal rather than heard.¬† Sometimes 8, 10, 12 hours a day, affirmations about just about every subject you can imagine, speaking positive thoughts to my subconscious.
  3. Over the years I’ve put together a small collection of movies like Louise Hay’s Heal Your Life, What the Bleep, and The Secret and I try to watch one or another of those fairly often.
  4. YouTube has some good affirmations videos and I have a collection of affirmations recordings, so I often go to sleep with affirmations playing on my tablet.
  5. I love the Lovingkindness Chant and I say it as an affirmation.¬† I generally chant it for 10 minutes a day but I also just repeat it to myself off and on and I often go to sleep and/or wake up and say it to myself.¬†¬† To me the chant covers every major area of life and in a way that invites the Universe to fulfill it in whatever way is best — that for me is the perfect affirmation:¬† I am filled with lovingkindness, I am well, I am peaceful and at ease, I am happy.¬† If you chant it enough to make all those things true for you, what more could you want?
  6. I re-read some of my old favorite books on metaphysics like Jack Kornfield’s Path with Heart or Shakti Gawain’s Living in the Light or I find a new one to love like Elizabeth Lesser’s Marrow.¬† Books that support my ever-more-positive world view.
  7. I hang around as much as I can with people who believe in positive thinking, to attend events that involve ceremony or chanting or a talk on “New Age/New Thought” ideas, and to stay away from negative thinking.¬†¬† I’ve unfriended a person or two from Facebook and hidden others from my wall.
  8. I have a regular practice of singing Sanskrit chants.¬† These chants are basically affirmations and I like singing them in a language I don’t know.¬† I think our souls know all the ancient languages and singing in an unfamiliar language helps you to take in the message on other levels and to bypass your brain and its tendency to question and criticize.¬† The ancients designed them well to align chakras, open heart, impact the nadis (energy channels), etc. so they heal on many levels.

If anything inside you is clinging to some other belief, repeating affirmations may bring it to the surface.¬† I’ve been chanting regularly ever since the election and I’m both feeling positive effects and changes and suffering frequent bouts of major crabbiness — which tells me I’m bringing some anger issues to the surface.

I still have some negative thinking to work on, but by and large several years of concerted effort have shifted a lot of old negative patterns into positive patterns — and it’s clearly favorably impacting my health issues.

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J2P Monday: Part 1 Peace begins with you

My Himalayan Salt Lamp

My Himalayan Salt Lamp

I recently wrote a series of posts about peaceful activism (it ends here and the post has links to all the others at the end) and I recently mentioned I wanted to turn it into a book.¬† While ruminating I’ve realized there must be a discussion of the importance of individuals “being peace”at the core of any such movement.

Thought I’d start with a series of simple ideas in posts here and the first suggestions are about helping to create an environment for yourself in which it is easier to feel positive and serene.

Many of us live in homes where some inhabitants are not on the same spiritual journey.¬† Most of us live in areas where lots of negative thinking swirls around us regularly, whether it’s neighbors, coworkers, family members or the media–social or traditional.¬† It can be difficult to hold a space of peace when it is constantly challenged by chaos.

Your Own Space

Whether you have a room you can devote to meditation and quiet or you’ve just put a cushion in a corner and announced it’s your meditation spot or you’ve carved out an area for an altar and a zabuton in the den, create a spot that no one else enters and keep it sacred.

No one else should be allowed in that corner or area or room.¬† This helps to hold the energy you’re creating there and keeps down the amount of interference from others with less peaceful energy.

Place one or more objects that say “sacred space” to you, whether it’s a candle, an essential oil diffuser, a statue of Kwan Yin, a crystal or a combination of items like those.¬† The items are not the source of peacefulness but they provide a focus for your attention and will increasingly say “peaceful” to your spirit when you move into that space.

Negative Ions

Increasingly we’re bombarded with positive ions which, ironically, are bad for us physically, emotionally and energetically.¬† From technology to electric cords to air pollution and allergens, we live surrounded by things emitting positive ions all the time so it’s up to us to counteract with negative ions.

Nature is a great provider of negative ions.  Even just a walk outside or a stroll on the beach can provide you with enough negative ions to shift your positive/negative ion ratio.  A pounding surf or a waterfall can restore balance and leave you feeling uplifted.

In the house there are a variety of things you can easily do.¬† My current favorite is my Himalayan salt lamp.¬† This salt when warmed by a bulb emits negative ions.¬† Within a couple of weeks I slept better and my nagging allergy issues by and large disappeared.¬† Months in I feel it’s contributing to my slowly increasing energy.

Many table fountains are available and the moving water sends negative ions into the room.¬† When I first read about the negative/positive ion issue years ago I went out and bought a fountain.¬† I’ve had a few and I love them but I live in an area where there’s so much lime in the water it became too hard to keep the mechanism clean and clear.¬† If you don’t have the water issue, it’s a lovely way to fill your home with negative ions.

Taking a shower will give you a personal hit of negative ions; its one of the reasons you may feel uplifted or energized after a shower.

Tourmaline and amethyst crystals also provide negative ions so you can buy stones to place in your house and/or get jewelry with those stones to wear as you move through your day.

Many house plants can also help with negative ions.  See here for a list of plants to consider.

Smudge sticks, essential oils and incense

Scents can do so much to make an atmosphere and/or create a feeling.¬† I’ve always loved perfume and scented things so I make use of many varieties.

Smudge sticks are a combination of sage and cedar or sage and sweetgrass, sometimes with one or more other herbs.  I use loose sage and cedar in a shell instead of a stick.  Sage cleanses and clears negative energy.  Cedar both clears negative and attracts positive energy.

I don’t do it as often as I should, but I try to clear my room periodically and I always smudge when I create a circle for ceremony or meditation. Escential Essences, possibly my favorite incense company, makes one called Kachina Dreams which is sage and cedar so you can keep cleansing the energy with the ease of lighting an incense stick.

I most frequently burn the Sai Baba Nag Champa but I also use various scents from Escential Essences if I have a particular atmosphere I want to create.  Some other faves are Buddhist Temple, Ocean Atlantis and Purification.

I also have an essential oil diffuser in which I use Amrita (recommended by my aromatherapist) essential oils — sometimes one of their blends, sometimes a combo of individual oils I choose to put together.¬† More often these days I just wear the oil…

As long as no one in your home is allergic to scents or smoke, it’s a great way to create a sense of peace or spiritual purpose.

Music

Music pours so much energy into a room and you can shift the atmosphere by choosing music that creates a peaceful space.  I often leave a peaceful playlist running in my room and when I teach yoga or a spiritual workshop I choose music to create a mood.

Although I have a number of yoga nidra recordings the only one I use is Experience Yoga Nidra.¬† Besides a short and a long version of yoga nidra, it has a short music recording, Travel through the Space of Experience which is an Indian piece designed to balance the chakras.¬† I often put the track on repeat and play it throughout a class or leave it looping in my room all day.¬† It’s amazing what an energy it creates.

I also play Deva Premal chant playlists or various kirtan chant recordings or one of Jonathan Goldman’s or Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s healing sound recordings.¬† Obviously there are choices by the thousands, just give some thought to whether you want to promote peace or balance or healing, etc. and play music that creates that feeling.¬† If you can put a playlist on repeat and leave it running in an area in which you spend a lot of time.

***

Choose one or more things that appeal to you and then start creating an atmosphere of peace and calm either throughout your home or in your space.¬† You can also wear an essential oil and, say, an amethyst necklace wherever you go so you’re bolstered in holding your space of peacefulness.

 

The view from both sides of some practices

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

Chapman Dr, Corte Madera

 

As I mentioned in the last post, my practices have been a little hit and miss lately as I wade through another round of unwinding and not sleeping.  The on and off of it is giving me a chance to observe the doing and not doing and the way I feel about both.

Some years ago I realized I often sabotaged my progress by not doing my practices.¬† I’d start one up or get back to an old friend and do it faithfully for a few days or a week or two and then I’d start “forgetting” (helped along by often feeling too crappy to do anything).¬† More and more days would pass between practices until I’d finally realize I couldn’t remember the last time I meditated or performed a round of chi gung.

Once it sank in I asked myself some deep questions about why I sabotaged myself.¬† Then I set up a “watcher” to help me keep track of consistency and give me a nudge so I could put myself back on track.¬† Ever since I’ve been much better.¬† Not that I don’t miss days and even occasionally several in a row, but I’ve gotten pretty good at keeping track and at pushing myself to get back to it if I’ve let it go

It’s rare now for an entire week to go by without at least one session of whatever practice or set of practices I’m doing and most weeks I manage at least three or four days.¬† The great weeks I get in six (I always allow for a day off as I feel even the good stuff needs a break).¬† But I still have spells when it’s less rather than more.

There’s a kind of push pull at work here.¬† At the moment it’s the chanting and some movement practices that feel so good they constantly pull me back on track.¬† But both things raise energy, open stuck places, and thereby set the stage for more unwinding.¬† Any time I practice 6-7 days a week during a week or two when I’m sleeping well and feeling good, the practices inevitably help to set off another round of unwinding.

While I want the unwinding to finish so you’d think I’d welcome each round, I’m pretty miserable when it goes crazy, especially from the lack of sleep it creates.¬† I’m regularly confronting the up and the down side of regular practice.¬† It works.¬† And in this case that’s both great and not so great…¬† I haven’t quite decided how many skips at this point arise from an unconscious dread of the down side…

A deep spiritual journey often has these up and down moments.¬† Sometimes the same practice contains elements of both the up and the down.¬† Sometimes a practice leads you into painful places or opens something that hurts for a while before it gets better.¬† I harp on this one a bit, but I run into so many people who don’t know this spiritual road curves into shadows and down into valleys of dark nights as well as giving you peace and balance and higher consciousness, an occasional reminder seems good ūüôā

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Levels of opening

Three monks chanting in Lhasa, 1993

Three monks chanting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been over a month now that I’ve been regularly chanting.¬† First time in quite a while I’ve had a regular chanting or meditation practice.¬† I’ve done a bunch of those 21 day meditations in recent years and I’ve done a couple of 40 day practices, but it’s been years since such a practice has stuck.

A lot has changed in my body since the days when meditation was a daily practice.¬† In fact, some of the change is due to the movement practices I’ve done to balance energy and open flow instead of meditating.

One of the blessings of the long-term sorting out of my muscles and their steely impersonation of body armor has been that as they open, I experience many things about practices differently and learn nuances I’m not sure I’d have noted without the change.

Since my appointment with Hanna, the muscles have been unwinding and the usual sleep deprivation and headaches have ensued, which has led to missing days of chanting here and there and occasionally two in a row.¬† I’ve changed the chants since I first started, beginning each time with the lovingkindness chant and then singing the Gayatri Mantra and Om Shanti Om.

The Gayatri, among other important impacts, opens the heart.  Om Shanti Om is chanted for peace and I find it opens my heart.  The lovingkindness chant also brings me into a big heart space.  Chanting these every day helped immeasurably to calm my distress in the wake of the election.  At first, if I missed a day I went right back to feeling panicky, then as soon as I chanted again, calm returned.

After a couple of weeks the peace settled in and I could miss a day without any big change.¬† When sleep deprivation, headaches and missing days of chanting hit all at once, I noted that I could hold the peace through one missed day but a second tipped me back into unease and anxiety.¬† I’ve also been learning anxiety is often a side effect of sleep deprivation for me, not as intense as the “oh no that thing can’t be president” panic, but noticeable.¬† And it too is soothed away by chanting.

While I chant I feel so much more energy moving through me than I’ve ever felt from the same practices before.¬† Channels and pathways opened as the muscles released and in so many areas I can now feel energy flowing through.¬† I feel the power of the chanting more than ever.¬† I feel it changing me.

Between the chanting and the releases Hanna helped to achieve it’s been a time of realizations and movement forward.¬† After a long time of receiving “wait” messages, I’ve heard the time to wait is ending.

In the meantime I love the slow awakening of feeling and the subtle ways in which my practices change as I grow.¬† I’m ever more aware of how much tight muscles stop the flow and reduce how much I feel when I do yoga or meditate or chant or …¬† All the hard work…¬† so worth it!

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Creating Reality in the World 5: The silent revolution

Abraham Hicks Energy Stream

Within a couple of years of starting yoga in 1986, a friend started gifting me with a subscription to Yoga Journal and I began to notice the array of ads for businesses catering to healthy eating, spiritually seeking, yoga practicing types.  Over time I sampled other magazines aimed at Buddhists, New Agers, healthy recipes, etc. and realized there was virtually a secondary economy developing, entirely aimed at an increasing counter culture group.

In the 90’s I was fortunate to get to hear Paul Ray discussing his theories about “cultural creatives” at some dinner gatherings and then to read an early version of his book (co-written with his wife, Sherry Anderson), The Cultural Creatives, while working at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.¬†¬† As he described this group of environmentally concerned, inner aware, spiritually seeking types I had a notion they coincided with the growing new culture and economy I’d been noting.

According to Ray and Anderson, this group is around 26% of the adult population of the U.S. and is present and growing in similar ways around the world. ¬† There’s a point in the growth of such a group when its impact can create a paradigm shift.¬† One reason he thinks it hasn’t happened so far with this group is the group is so little reflected in popular media and culture that most of its members feel isolated and as if they don’t have power.

My theory is they also obstruct their power by too often going negative and being against instead of for.  Hating and being against lowers your vibration or energy level.  Focusing on pollution, discrimination, inequality, etc. sends the energy and attention to those negative traits.  The group weakens its power potential with this negative thinking orientation.

There are actually enough of us that we could change the world if we began to believe in and act on our power.¬† I see this not only from the perspective of the increased power of collective consciousness, but also based on David Hawkins’ Power vs. Force theory.¬† According to Hawkins, the higher the scale of consciousness (or energetic vibration), the more powerful the impact on others.

One person at the level of 400 (reason), counterbalances 400,000 who are at or below the 200 level (apathy, then anger at 200).¬† One person at the level of 500 counterbalances 750,000.¬† Based on Hawkins’ scale, most Cultural Creatives are probably in the 400-600 range on his scale of energy.

If this group can become conscious of their power and begin to focus as a group on what they are FOR, with a strong proportion using meditation and chanting, etc. to keep the vibration high, the whole world can change into a new paradigm of greater equality, compassion, green-ness…

I’m pretty sure all my friends everywhere (including my blogging pals) are cultural creatives.¬† We’ve been under the radar, building a new culture with very little notice in the mainstream.¬† I say let’s work on pulling together this group and building its power!!! I call on the Cultural Creatives to turn attention to the positive outcomes you desire, learn to be for instead of against, create action plans to achieve what you are FOR and use your collective power to shift the consciousness of the planet.

The rest of this series:

See also:  Cultural Creatives are Changing the World

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Creating Reality in the World 4: Collective Consciousness

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back when I was reading lots of books in the Seth material, one of the areas I felt struck by covered collective consciousness.  The energy of thoughts, when people collectively hold the same ones, grows exponentially.

Many teachers since have told me the same thing and I have experienced the powerful energy of people gathered together in a common energy.  Perhaps the most amazing moment was when about 1500 of us participated in a meditation involving coming into heart, filling the room and each other with love and then sending love out around the world.

When a large group focuses its attention on a shared vision, the energy going toward that vision gets that exponential increase.  This is one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the power of people around the world meditating, chanting, praying, and/or holding a vision or energy space for the same goal or outcome.

This is also why I believe a campaign FOR what you want to see, participated in by tens of thousands or millions can create the reality you hope to see.  If you spread the word about a clean earth or a different electoral college outcome and help that idea go viral, the energy and attention being sent toward the outcome you seek will help to make it so.

Collective action like the people coming together at Standing Rock has a big impact.¬† And I particularly love the messages about nonviolence and understanding that have been made by the leaders of this movement/protest.¬† I passed this article, “Standing Rock: A Change of Heart” along on FB and hope to see it going everywhere. The call is for not dehumanizing anyone no matter which side they’re on and I believe that’s one of the most important messages of our time.

Gandhi is said to have made the Hindu gesture of forgiveness as he fell from an assassin’s bullets.¬† The Dalai Lama forgives the Chinese for what they’ve done to Tibet.¬† Martin Luther King preached nonviolence no matter what happened around him.¬† Taking in and living their message of maintaining love and compassion no matter what the circumstance seems to have been one of the hardest lessons ever for the world to learn.

At this moment in time the world needs us to stand together in love and compassion and refusal to be seduced into violence more than ever.¬† And in the next post in this series, I’ll explore the group that’s been building and sailing under the radar for years.¬† We could change the world.

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Creating Reality in the World 3: Doing

Once you’ve changed your focus and re-framed your thinking, you can make an action plan.¬† I have a broader definition of “doing” than the usual, so my suggestions include things like holding a vision and praying.

Some people are better at being visionaries and some are better at being doers.  I see it as a scale from one to the other with people landing at many different points between, some having equal measures of both talents and others leaning more solidly in one direction or the other.  I think we need all of them.

I also think some people have a talent for holding an energy space and/or keeping focused on a vision and others are better at carrying out the nuts and bolts of the vision and I see that as a sliding scale too.  And again, we need both sides of the scale and everybody in between.

Praying is Doing

I have a lot of “doing” friends who exclaim dismissively when I talk about chanting or praying or holding a vision that “we need to actually DO something”.¬† I’ve argued a few times that I think praying, chanting, etc. IS something.

Everything is energy.  Each of us is energy.  Thoughts have energy.  The state of the world rests on the totality of energy.  What each of us puts into the web makes a difference.  When someone is able to hold an energy vibration of love and/or hold a positive set of beliefs and thoughts and visions for a positive outcome, that person is feeding the web with the energy of that possible direction.

“Doing” from the vision side in the current political situation might include:

  • hold a vision of Hilary Clinton winning the electoral college vote or see her as President
  • chant or pray for compassion and lovingkindness so you’re holding that space
  • choose states with potential for the electors voting for Clinton instead of Trump and send prayers or energy or hold the vision of the voting switch

The more people are feeding the positive vision, the more energy is being sent to the vision.¬† I’ll talk more in the next post about the impact of collective consciousness.

Action as Doing

There are also things that need to be done in an active sense, so once you’ve directed energy to the outcome you hope to achieve and framed a positive view, you can create a plan that maintains the¬† new view.

While some are holding the energy, those who like to make a plan and get out there, some possible steps would be:

  • find out which states have enough electoral votes to matter and of those which are the likeliest to vote for the popular winner instead of the electoral college winner
  • it is legal in every state for the electors to vote for the candidate with fewer electoral college points but in some states they have to pay a fine.¬† Find out if you’re in one of those states and start a fundraiser to help pay the fines and let the electors know the funds are there.¬† A list of this year’s electors state by state is here.
  • the folks who are suing for a recount in Florida need financial help.¬† Start a fundraiser.
  • Research Ms. Clinton and post positive statements in social media about her many accomplishments.¬† Tell what she’s done for children.¬† Tell how’s she shone as a diplomat.¬† Name legislation she raised.¬† Tell the story she wasn’t so good at telling.¬† Send the energy to her by bringing positive attention.
  • Start researching potential candidates for the mid term elections who show promise as good legislators and who have a good chance to beat the Republican.
  • Put together a call list of relevant people in government, from your congressmen to officials of the electoral college to the DOJ, gather a group to make calls and share the list on social media.

Mixing the Two

Most people are going to be somewhere on the spectrum in between and will be comfortable doing a combination.  I always recommend meditating or chanting or going inward in some way before making action plans and before taking action.   The more you can keep your vibration raised and hold a compassionate space, the more your thoughts and actions will be peaceful and positive.

Your plan might include:

  • Say the lovingkindness chant every day for 10-30 minutes
  • Plan a ceremony wherein people will pray for and hold a focus on the outcome you are jointly seeking
  • Hold a march FOR a vote recount
  • Start a group to regularly sit in heart space and pray or chant (I’m going to post a breathing exercise soon that moves people into a powerful heart energy).¬† For those of you in other countries who are concerned, this is a great way to support the effort.
  • Start and circulate a petition to the electors in your state, asking them to vote for the popular vote winner
  • Think ahead to the midterm elections and create a vision and plan for a changeover in the political landscape

Whether you’re one who holds a strong energy space and vision or one who rolls up sleeves and starts taking action out in the world or somewhere in between, there are always steps you can take to “do something”.

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