We are the World, April version

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the S...

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized today I completely spaced out yesterday about posting for We are the World Blogfest, but I still wanted to add a piece.  Since I’m all about peaceful activism and finding new ways to accomplish change with love and compassion, I was pleased to read this piece in Positive News about a movement for Gentle Protest: https://www.positive.news/2017/society/26751/the-art-of-gentle-protest/

If you’d like to join in with your own post about something positive, add your link here


J2P Monday: two more weeks on this challenge

Dove peace

Dove peace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This month the challenge has been to post about creating peace through governments, programs, policies, etc.  Whether you think it’s environmental initiatives, treaties, ending hunger, etc., write about the issue you think could change the world.  The next challenge will be posted on the first Monday in April, so you have a little extra time.

I also put out a couple of exercises to do if you want some help getting an idea for this post here and here.

Don’t forget to add this link: https://bluegrassnotes.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/j2p-monday-new-challenge-is-peace-out-there/ (so I get a pingback and others can see it in the comments list) and tag it with J2PChallenge and Journey2Peace.

Praying and “Doing”

Today at Sarvodaya's Early Morning meditation

Today at Sarvodaya’s Early Morning meditation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about this follow-up to my post about activism since I put it up; it’s taken me a while to pull my thoughts together.  In the first post I put an emphasis on prayer, meditation, etc. as my “to do” list for peace.  Now I want to ruminate on my idea of how to take action.

“After you pray, then do something” is a frequent piece of advice in the world of metaphysics.  I’ve been criticized because some feel my work doesn’t emphasize enough of the “doing”.  I think the issue is more about defining what doing is and how we decide on an action plan.

First, I have to say I’ve been startled many times when I bring up praying as a tool, how many spiritually-minded people object, “But you can’t just pray, you have to do something!”  And I think, “Wow, when did praying become nothing?”  [In fact I wrote about it here and here]  While I don’t think prayer is the only thing to do, I think it’s an important thing to do.

I also believe that tuning in as a first step, whether it’s through prayer, meditation, pranayama or … (you fill in the blank), is the most important thing we can do.  Because the thing about all those action plans people like to carry out is they come from the brain and not the heart or spirit.  They come loaded with all the baggage of fear and anger carried by the people who formulate them.  What I find time after time is that the plans I conceive when I tune inward are usually entirely different than the plans I form with my mind.

A very micro-level personal example from long ago:  when I did my yoga teacher training at the Temple of Kriya Yoga, getting to the Temple from where I lived seemed like a “no good way to get there from here” dilemma.  I used my reasoning powers, based on the roads I knew, to figure out how to get there.  Week after week I was late, running into traffic, accidents, construction, etc. on every route I tried.  Every week on the way to the garage my inner voice named a route.  It wasn’t a route I knew and my mind didn’t even know it could be done so I rejected it every time.  Finally one of the teachers gave us quite a scolding about too many being late.  So the next week I looked at a map and realized my guidance had been trying to show me a route that was almost direct; straight from Evanston to the Temple from my house–something I didn’t know you could do.  I was never late again.

In that example I wasn’t even meditating first, though I think I started tuning in as I prepared for the class, giving my ‘little voice” an opening to keep piping up with what it knew.

At the level of All That Is, higher consciousness, God, the Universe (whatever your favorite name for it is) there is so much more awareness and knowledge–beyond anything our ordinary minds know or can plan.  And the answer is often not only far removed from what I “thought” I should do but often the action suggested doesn’t look like action to ordinary mind.

Here in the U.S., we’re doers; we like to be on the go, getting stuff done all the time [purposely not speaking about the rest of the world as I don’t have the hubris to assume I know whether you are or aren’t doers in the same way].  I’ve also noticed that for the most part the majority don’t care whether the action is ultimately the best we could do as long as it seems right at the time and we’re “doing something”.

When it comes to peace, when large groups pray or chant or meditate for peace many studies have shown crime, terrorism, violence and accidents in the area go down dramatically.  I’ve seen so many amazing things come from the power of collective meditation and prayer, I believe that they may be the most powerful tools we have.  I also think if there IS some action to take, prayer and meditation can provide better answers; ones we would never think of using only our minds.

There’s such widespread belief in the power of prayer for healing people who are ill.  Why is it so easy to believe that prayer can heal an ailing person but not an ailing world?

I do believe in action.  But I believe that prayer is action.  I believe that meditation is action.  I believe that the answers we receive in meditation about the next step to take are the answers we really need.  I believe prayer is something.

Managing Manna: part two

Rush hour on US Route 101 through Millbrae, Ca...

Rush hour on US Route 101 through Millbrae, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Serge King likes to tell stories.  The second important thing I learned about manna arrived with a story that I’ve never forgotten.  His wife, he told us, doesn’t like to drive in slow, congested traffic conditions like rush hour.  She could spend hours a day for years building a level of manna that would be enough to overcome the powerful beliefs of hundreds of thousands of other drivers about what happens at rush hour.  She could do that and hope to build enough energy to some day be able to create a clear flow for her car to move swiftly through the city at rush hour.  Instead, she doesn’t drive at rush hour.

Just because the “thoughts create reality” theory implies that you can use your thoughts to do anything doesn’t mean that it should always be your choice to focus your energy on changing/shifting/magnetizing something.  Realistically even if you do practice to build manna, you still have a given level and vibrational tone.  It’s unlikely that you’re going to build a level of energy that will let you stop hurricanes, alter the flow of traffic, magnetize the lottery, release old beliefs, attract a better relationship and change careers to be successful at another.

Sometimes you have to choose which things in life are worth focusing your energy on and which have some other solution or can be left alone.

I find a great relief at times in realizing that I have to stick within the limits of my energy.  Sometimes when I mention a thought pattern that’s clearly negative or mildly detrimental in some way, someone will imply that I should be using affirmations or will or something to shift it.  Like most people, though, my life is filled with thought patterns from my past, from ancestral threads, from past lives.  I don’t have the energy to change every pattern at once.  I tell them I’m working on as many issues as I feel I can handle and that one just isn’t high enough on the priority list for me to focus energy and attention on it now.

On bigger things it’s easier for me to see.  I like moderately warm, sunny days with low humidity.  In California that weather predominated.  Here in Kentucky, not so much; in fact kind of rare.  Now I could practice chi gung a few hours a day to build manna/chi to the immense level I’d need to impact the weather patterns here.  But I live with the weather that’s here.  I don’t have to give it much thought to know that I’m not going to spend years working that hard just to have different weather.  If it meant that much to me, I could move back to California.

Not only do you need to have a level of manna that is at least as high as the level of what you’re trying to shift or change, but you also have to make choices about what you want to use your manna for.

Another example from Serge helped to illustrate that:  if you are making $500 a month and you decide you want to magnetize a $50 million lottery, you might spend your lifetime to do it.  The gap between the energy you’re holding that draws only $500 and the giant lottery is so immense it’s unlikely to happen.  But if you’re making $500 and you start affirming that you now make $1000, that’s a small build that is believable to your consciousness and in line with the amount of manna you have.  Then when you get the $1000 if you focus on $2000, this step by step process is likely to work.  Substitute whatever element of life you want instead of money and the step by step process is similar.

When I realized that my low energy had a big impact I could see that building my energy and restoring my health were the necessary first steps for me to build to the career and life I see for myself.

Do you consciously choose where to focus your energy?

See last post for part one.

New Deva Premal Meditation Series

Love, love, loved this series when I tried it last fall.  Highly recommend it.  I think I managed to get the picture so clicking will take you to the web site page instead of another page that just has the picture.  I’d love to think you all are chanting along with me!

Lovely exercise on Bardo Group post

Painted tray by Laurie Rohner

Since the post below is responding to a post in Bardo Group’s lovely environmental-inspired challenge for Valentine’s Day, I thought some of Laurie’s art would be appropriate. And it seemed time to introduce you to her home decor and furniture art.  So check over here to see more of her lovely pieces.

When I started reading Terry Stewart’s post on Bardo Group today I was sitting on the floor with my laptop in my lap and something or other on the Olympics airing on the nearby T.V.  But as soon as I started reading the exercise she gave us I started doing it.  I never did get up and shift to a likelier place and it took a few minutes before it occurred to me to turn off the sound on the television but somehow I became deeply engaged.

From the first level of feeling into the earth and asking Her, “What is your desire,” I started getting back, “For you to be healed so that I can heal.”  At first startled and wondering if I’d made it up, I kept moving upward with the exercise and at every level the answer from earth, “For you to be healed so that I can heal.”

Now, I’ve been convinced for a long time that our dis-ease, emotional and physical, corresponds with Earth’s issues and that human healing means Earth healing.  And I’ve been sure for a long time that the long, mysterious process of ill health and trouble finding answers is an important piece of my path.  But I never quite connected my own healing so directly with being part of Earth’s healing.

When I reached third eye, I received not just that message but a very strong knowing that this healing journey and what I can bring to others about my process is why I’m here.  Whew!  I’m still reeling from the power I felt as I moved through this exercise.  While hanging out on the floor with my laptop.  And my screen continually switching to the screensaver and keeping me from seeing the next instruction.  And the t.v. on…

Thanks, Terry.  Loved it!  I highly recommend that y’all check out the post and try the exercise.

When meditation is a buffer…


Laurie Rohner’s Shop

Laurie’s expanding her world of art this year so be sure to check her out.

I’ve been slowly moving back to more practice after several weeks of being pretty sporadic about chanting, meditating, exercising, etc.  I realized without all that centering and balancing that I’m a little depressed.  No big deal and I suspect part of the clearing process I’m in, but it reminded me of a lesson I learned long ago about those lovely practices.

If you’re not careful to do them in a way that invites them to open you up and with awareness of any feelings that arise and then to do something to let go of them (by whatever practice or mindful means you choose), meditation and energy practices can create another layer that buries your issues even deeper.  A nice, calm, much-more-pleasant layer, but a layer nonetheless.

We talked about this in my Fischer-Hoffman group, where we used the concept of a diamond heart that is your true essence.  It winds up surrounded by a circle of the bad feelings and self-doubts and negative beliefs you hold.  Then around that layer you place the facade that you want the world to see.  Meditation can become a crutch that creates an illusion of serenity that really just adds serenity as a layer that makes the diamond heart even more buried.

I realized the truth of this around the same time, thanks to a horrible roommate situation.  Her behavior toward me, my belongings and my cats was outrageous.  For a long time, though, because I regularly practiced pranayama and meditated, I stayed very calm about it all.  Eventually I realized that the calm was masking fury — and a myriad of ways in which her behavior mimicked the way my toughest family member treated me.

It’s a very fine line.  And of course bringing yourself back to calm so you don’t say, throw your obnoxious roommate off the four-story balcony of your apartment (yes I did really, really want to…) is probably a good thing.  When I finally confronted her, I did it without yelling and negotiated the deal I wanted to get out of there and I’m sure all that meditating and breathing practice helped me do that.  But resolution arrived much later than it would have if I had been more tuned in to my emotional landscape instead of just feeling relieved at the aura of calm that surrounded me.

Had I not been digging deep at the time in the Fischer Hoffman work, I have a notion that that layer of serenity would have buried the real turmoil indefinitely. Later,  I met a lot of folks who followed various Buddhist and Indian teachers and gurus and I became adept at sensing the carefully constructed outer layer of serenity and the ignored turmoil underneath that many people had (by no means all).  As I talked with lots of them I realized that for many the calming nature of practices became a balm they craved; but they used it to hide from issues instead of to illuminate them and let them go.

I’m glad I’ve had this little reminder that I need to practice regularly but without using it to ignore feelings I’d prefer to avoid.