Being Content

Strangely, this may be a daily struggle for us who already have all we need. Unlike an incredible amount of people around the world, who have to fight for their survival everyday, we lead very comfortable lives, taking much of it for granted.

Aside from the physical well-being that is provided through access to potable water, food and shelter, I believe that we must also be grateful for the relationships we have with the people in our lives.

When we first meet, we feel overwhelmed by this gift of giving and undivided attention the other person is offering us. Of course, this state of ecstasy cannot and is not meant to last forever. As we travel through, it becomes a question of finding and nurturing this fine balance within our relationships.

However, recognizing and embracing the subtleties of the gifts can be very difficult in a world of such abundance. It may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t.

Just as we discard material goods, it sometimes seems much easier to flee and avoid relationships then it is to face difficult and fearsome situations. Our history as a species has made us risk averse. We want to feel a certain level of comfort and have control on the outcome. As soon as we are faced with controversy, the Ego tells us that we do not have to deal with this situation.

We have to learn to live with and accept uncertainty as the only certainty in life. Only then can we fully live our lives from one moment to the next. Of course, we have to recognize and discard abusive relationships, having confidence in Life that the space we create in doing so will soon be filled with new relationships and friendships for which we have formulated an intent.

“When there is love and two centers have met and dissolved and merged, and a new alchemical quality is born, contentment is there. It is as if the whole existence has stopped — no movement. Then the present moment is the only moment. And then you can say: Ah, this cake is delicious. Even death doesn’t mean anything to a man who is in love.” – Osho

So take another look at your own relationships with others, friendships, family bounds and loved ones. Become aware of what these people mean to you, remember how important they are and why you have chosen them to be a part of your life. Practice contentment as a way of life and you will never be deceived.

Namaste

Advertisements

Conscious Breathing

Your breath reflects the way you feel. Take a moment here. Close your eyes and just notice your breath. Is it quick and shallow? Is it forceful? Is it characterized by long inhalations and exhalations? Don’t try to change anything, simply notice. “Self-Observation Without Judgement”, as Swami Kripalu teaches.

In the practice of yoga, we focus our attention on our breath as we move through the various postures. As we hold more difficult postures, we put even more emphasis on the breath to help us keep the postures longer. Breathing consciously can be calming and relaxing. Bringing full awareness to the breath, is also a form of meditation.

Your breath can tell you much about yourself and how you are feeling. For example, I know that when I am going through a set of strenuous moves while rock climbing, I get out of breath. The result being that as I come out of a crux (the most difficult portion of a climb) I have difficulty breathing. This is because I simply don’t breathe when I make those moves!

How is this relevant to anything? Well, for climbing or any other strenuous activity, it is very important. The body’s priority is to provide oxygen to the brain first. This means that if the body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs because you are retaining your breath, it automatically starts channeling what it has left to feed the brain leaving the muscles and the rest of the body without oxygen, making it more strenuous to move and eventually leading to hyperventilate or to faint.

And so, in daily life situations, when we get angry or nervous, if our breath becomes fast and out of control or if we restrict its flow, we quickly become physically ill. This being said, becoming more conscious of our breathing can affect positive changes in our lives. So take a deep breath, notice your posture, your heartbeat, relax and let go.

Namaste.

Facing your fears

What is your biggest fear? What situation provokes an irrational reaction when you are faced with it? Do you run up the stairs when all the lights are turned off? Do you have difficulty expressing yourself? Do you fear others will judge you? Are you afraid of being alone, not loved? Are you afraid to trust others for the fear you might get hurt, again?

You may have a very relevant reason for this behaviour. Nonetheless, most of what we identify as fears, are irrational fears and the result of our emotional construct. Often times, these fears are carried over from past traumatic events to which we have assigned a heightened emotional response.

In some cases, we might not even be aware of it. We will react in a certain way and have strong feelings about a situation. We may feel stressed and agitated until the situation resolves itself. Our relationships with others may even be affected by it. As though a veil has been placed over our reality, we are no longer able to see the situation for what it really is.

I recently became aware of such an irrational fear I seem to have been dragging along for the past 12 years! I had never realized at which point it affected me and my relationship with others. I am not quite sure how I came about this realisation, but today I have decided to face it. I will not go into detail, as this is my own personal journey, but I will say that a higher sense of emotional awareness will inevitably result in greater well-being. Or at least, that is what I am aiming for!

Irrational fears are based on events or situations that do not exist (or no longer exist): the past… and the future in some way. Rational fear, which we could attribute to a person pointing a gun at us or a bear chasing us, you get the point, only happens in the present.

And so, if our relationships with others are always tainted by the fear that they will judge us or that they will cheat us, it will never be possible to develop meaningful relationships until we understand that we are carrying past events into our present life. We are making our future more into this past we seem to want to get away from. Just like a skipping disk (see Samskara), we are faced with the same situation to which we react the same way over and over and over. Only you can decide to get up and place the needle elsewhere and, literally, face the music.

I wish us all courage, perseverance, patience and self-confidence in exploring our most inner fears. No need to make radical changes to our life. Identify where you are starting from, as a first step, since only by knowing where you stand can you move forward.

Namaste.

Spiritual journey?

Hmm, I don’t know, not sure, but I guess I will in a few days… My turn to leave the world and take on my spiritual journey. Never done this before, but I guess there’s a first time for everything, right?

Although I know that one can never truly be prepared to face something like this, I think that this is the right time for me in my life to do so. I feel that I have come a long way in the last few years and that this is my path. I have met many new sisters, not always physically, and I have renewed bounds with dearest old friends, you know who you are, I hope. Thank you for being there and for sharing your thoughts and feelings with me, but also for reading and supporting my ideas: it means a lot to me.

As I prepare for this adventure, although I have a long list of things to bring, I almost feel like there should be a non-material list! But then I thought, hey, I should bring my pillow! I am lucky to be in a great place in my life right now and I am thankful for it everyday, ok, sometimes after my morning coffee granted, but I am aware and that’s all that counts.

So why am I taking this journey? I wouldn’t say that it is something I have always dreamed off, rather something I feel I have to do at this point in my life because I am there. When I was explaining to some where I was going, they were surprised that I wasn’t off traveling to Thailand or India. In reality, it would be great to go practice yoga there, but then again, in this case, I do not need to go to a different physical place to be in a different mental state: I am already there.

So this is my last post for a little while and as I write these words I think of my lotus sister who just came back from hers. Radiant with love and joy, you have come in contact with what you were seeking. Your perseverance for life is incredible and I wish you much renewed health. I leave in hopes to learn more about myself in order to be able to serve others more truthfully. Namaste.

“I am”

I have been repeating these words randomly once or twice a day, for the last two weeks. Each time, I have been surprised and amazed at how much space it creates around me. “I am”… breathe, watch, listen, feel.

I read about this idea of saying “I am” as a way to raise self-awareness. So far, every time I have uttered these two simple words, it has had the effect of projecting me back into the present. I am suggesting that we are projected in the present, because we often tend to live in the past (our memories and grief) or in the future (our worries and expectations).

“Feeling the energy of a place can be incredibly intense… people are walking by, singing, speaking or listening, enjoying life as it unfolds. As the sound of an acoustic guitar fills the ambient air, whilst the soul is transported, it is vividly experiencing the present moment: conscious awareness.”  I wrote these thoughts at Bon Echo, an inspiring place to me.

True awareness is said to be of the present moment, the Now. It is not something we can seek or control, rather it is something that just happens and that you feel as it flows through your body. Becoming aware however, is a process by which we enable ourselves to become more and more present in the Now.

A glimpse of that awareness is empowering. A few seconds of conscious awareness at a time is sufficient to bring so much more happiness to our world. “I am”… becoming a witness to my life as it unfolds. Namaste.

A few more thoughts on decisions…

A year or so ago, I was talking with a friend over lunch about daily life and the pressure we felt. We both realized that the stress and unhappiness we endured was often of our own making. Always pushing ahead, planning the next event that would make us enjoy life, we were in fact forcing decisions where there was none to be made, whilst missing out on life.

I’ve been reading Keith McGuinnes’ blog Pilgrimage to Nowhere, a young man’s life journey around the world which has evolved into “a journey into the Self”. While in Bali in 2009, he was already planning the next part of his trip when he stopped and realized that he was actually missing out on what was surrounding him Now. And so, he wrote: “I just need to balance movement and stillness, ensuring when I do move, it is because I am ready to move on, not because I need the distraction” (Freedom of Choice Post).

In Yoga, the Sanskrit term Asana is often translated as “pose” or “posture” but it means so much more. Its more literal translation is “to take a seat” which can be more rightfully interpreted as “being present in one’s body, being just here, just now, in the present moment” (Stephens, 2009). Perhaps what I find most inspiring about practicing Yoga, is this stillness through movement: the steadiness of the mind allowing full body-mind awareness, between and through every breath and posture. At the beginning of each practice, we accept to surrender ourselves completely, allowing this moment to fully be ours.

We are too often condemned for not taking action, for not moving fast enough when often times, the change is already occurring and all that is left to do is accepting it. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves in making the right decision in order to succeed in all life’s situations because if we don’t, we’ve lost and failed. Really? But what if we had actually learned something…

Building on the first step of Acceptance, comes trust in ourselves and in life. By trying to learn and grow from our experience, instead of being disappointed in the outcome of our own decision, we surrender our trust in life. Having understood and included acceptance as a stepping stone, we can then move forward because we understand and we trust ourselves a little bit more, bringing us ever closer to happiness. Enjoy the day, enjoy today.

Gratitude ~ by N.Jonhson

This text was written by Njari Jonhson. I chose to publish her post on gratitude because she writes it so simply and beautifully. Her deep connection and sensitivity to life is felt through her poems but she also writes about her travels and food. You can read more on her blog at http://siannaphey.wordpress.com/.

Gratitude  is

Thankfulness

Counting your blessings

Acknowledging all you receive

Noticing simple pleasures

Being aware of how much you have been given

Changing focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is present

Be grateful for what you have and where you are now

All you have is All you need – right now!

*

We are like a magnet, what you feel, be it love, fear, hurt, happiness, anger, resistance, joy etc, you are creating a force that attracts and draws you to events, circumstances and conditions in line with what you are feeling. In other words, our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, which include affirmations attract vibrationally what they are sending. When you sincerely express gratitude you draw to you more of what you are expressing gratitude for – your energy becomes harmonious and accepting – and it puts you in a resonance optimal for attracting those energies. When you resist, and not expressing gratitude, you attract that which you are not wanting – the polar opposite.

You choose your emotions and thoughts in every moment. So,choose to focus on thoughts of gratitude and you will in turn train your emotions and mind to respond with gratitude, and draw more abundance and things to be grateful for.”

Thank you for letting me share your inspiring words Njari.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: