Five-word Meditation

This morning I am sharing these with you. I wrote them at the beginning of June for myself and they became my Mantra over the weeks. In reading these over again today, I thought some of you may also appreciate them and perhaps make you reflect on your words.

Presence – by being the observer, the witness. I become present here and Now in everything that I say and do – walking, doing the dishes, making coffee, writing, breathing, talking, etc. I am also present in the sense that I am not projecting myself in the future, expecting, wishing, hoping, imagining. I am living here and Now. I am present.

Determination – by sticking with it. I follow my path, I continue moving forward, I move over and around obstacles that I face. I am determined to achieve my goal of being more happy, being Me and by not giving up. I have determination.

Courage – by keeping my eyes opened in the midst of the storm, by facing what I have come to see. I have courage to go through with my decisions, to face the conflict it may bring, leaving fears, guilt and the unknown aside. I have the courage to do what I know is necessary and I believe in myself. I have courage.

Patience – by not trying to force things to go faster than they should. In each situations, I have poise and balance and I am able to see the bigger picture. I do not jump to conclusions or make irrational, emotional decision based on fear or anger. I recognize the Ego in action, trying to hide the truth from me, trying to shield and protect itself. I have patience.

Faith – by believing that all is the way it should be. I know that Life has my back! I strongly believe that all happens for a reason : learning. I understand that to learn, I must be opened to change and not have fear to let go of the control I think I have over any situation. Instead, I simply go with the flow, letting it carry me as a stream carries a flower. I have faith.

Namaste.

External referencing and suffering

When we are born, we are pure and perfect, unconditioned by society, our reference points all found inwards. At a very young age, we learn that we own things and that we have to care for them, yet at the same time, we are told that we have to share our toys with others. You may agree with me there that this can get a bit confusing.

And so we grow up being told how to behave, learning to please others, making sure that what we are doing is acceptable for the rest of society. I think we can really see this conflict between the internal Self and the external references during the teenage years. While searching for who we are, we also want to distinguish ourselves from others. Is that so wrong?

I think there might be something here to explore, something here to learn. Let’s imagine this for example; you are at a party and someone asks who you are. What is the most common answer? I am so and so and I am a doctor, a school teacher, etc. But what if you were to lose your job the very next day, how would you identify yourself then?

We have become so accustomed to identifying ourselves by our titles, the things we own and the relationships we have, that we have lost touch with who we really are. My boyfriend, my house, my car, my job, these are not who you are, they do not define you, yet we let these define us. We hold on so tightly to these external references as if they were a part of us that when we lose them, we are ourselves lost.

Other than these things and relationship, and here is where it becomes more subtle, are our “wants” and our expectations. For example, if you are someone who’s received external gratification each time something was accomplished, later in life, when you find yourself in a situation where your accomplishments are not necessarily praised, you may start to blame others. The truth is, only you can truly be proud of your accomplishments, and you being proud should satisfy this “want”.

And so, by looking outside of us for encouragement, for gratification, for a “good job” pat on the back, we are only deceived and momentarily satisfied. By seeking others’ opinions and blessings about personal decisions we should make for ourselves, we are taking away our responsibility towards our own happiness, blaming others when things don’t work out.

Happiness is found inside us. There is great work, hard work to be done to face who we really are, but once we start doing so, there is no turning back. It may turn your world upside down, but it will have been worthwhile, because in the end, you will achieve such inner peace and you will make decision linking the heart to the mind and to the body, becoming whole again.

Take the time to recognize how you look to others to make you happy, how you expect certain things will be done or given to you. Notice how your material possessions seem to define you and start making steps towards releasing some of these external references. Redefine who you are by looking inside and be content, happy and satisfied by what you find for that is the only truth, the only reality. Beauty will shine from inside you and inspire others.

Namaste.

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

Conscious Abundance

Look around you, Spring is here, anything more beautiful than the whole world coming back to life?! Sure, I’ve got some nasty allergies, but I am so happy to see all this life, the leaves on the trees, my garden blooming and heck, even the mosquitos!! (well, only because they bring dragonflies and that I love dragonflies!)

Conscious abundance is about realizing all that surrounds you. Abundance is health, friendships, sharing beautiful moments with those you love, knowing that there is plenty more to come while just enjoying the Now. We live in a world of such abundance that if one cannot even get a glimpse of all that beauty, then perhaps it is time for an eye exam!

So many people around the world do not even have half of what you have – no food, no home, no running water, no shoes, no security, no health, you name it. Yet, many of those who live in “need”, well at least to our Western standard, have something many of us here are struggling to get. Can you guess what it is?! Yes, happiness. Simple happiness.

Happiness comes from acknowledging and being grateful for what you have, but it also stays with you much longer if you do not take it for granted (and this includes the people around you). So, take a moment here to be grateful and become conscious of the abundance around you. I hope you enjoyed this long weekend with friends and family.

Much Love.

Good Friends and Fresh Air

Spent the whole weekend in the woods, on a property set on a beautiful lake, surrounded by thousands of pine trees, the kind of place that you go too and that makes you let out a big *sigh*.  Top this with a bunch of good friends, lots of laugh and there you have it, one of my most favourite place to be, the ACC Hut at the Bon Echo Provincial Park. Needless to say, it felt pretty good to be back!

In the Ottawa region we are very lucky. Whether driving or biking, in only a few minutes one can access hundreds of acres of forest with kilometers of trails to walk on and cabins to get too. I had once heard an interview on CBC Radio about the beneficial effects of being in a forest. Diana Beresford-Kroeger, a botanist and biochemist based in Merrickville, Ontario, who also recently published “The Global Forest“, was saying that she had been conducting research and studies on the effects of breathing the air in a forest on humans.

She found that when walking in a pine forest on a warm day for example, trees release Alpha and Beta Pinene, volatile coumpounds that have a calming effect on the human’s nervous system. Research has also shown that simply looking out of the window at a green space is soothing. On the other hand, we can all agree that being stressed is not beneficial to our body and that it is the cause of many diseases and anger in the world. Based on fear of lacking, fear of not having, stress can be controlled and rationalized in many ways.

So get out there! Plan a day hike in the woods with friends or by yourself. Breath in this fresh air and release all that negativity and stress. It doesn’t have to be long, in fact studies show that a quick 20 minute walk in the woods is enough to have a relaxing effect. So breathe, smile and be happy!

Have a good day :)

Meeting the Dalai-Lama

Where do I start? As I walked down to my seat I was already moved by the simple fact of being there! What an amazing experience. You can find out more about this event at www.tibet.ca/2012 and read his Teachings on compassion (click here!), and the speech he made in Ottawa yesterday here.

As his Holiness the Dalai Lama made his way to the stage, the crowd stood up to welcome and greet him with the utmost respect. Fortunately, I had already taken out a tissue as a precautionary measure for uncontrollable eye wateriness!!

It is with great modesty and an attaching personality that the Dalai Lama delivered messages of peace and compassion. He emphasized on the demilitarization of the world and the use of these large monetary resources towards education and the eradication of poverty. He explained and suggested ideas on how to bring more compassion into our lives and the importance to make decisions based on everyone’s interests and well-being for the future of our planet.

Smiling and laughing throughout the Teachings he shared with us this weekend, he spoke about the fear and anxiety that arises from individualistic behaviors. When we decide to take on an attitude of self-centeredness, we become weary of the others around us, resulting in further isolation. And so, although some actions may seem advantageous at the time, they may not be beneficial to us in the long run. This is why intention is key: are we doing so only for our own personal advancement, or are we thinking of the impact this will have on others around us?

He spoke about the advances in technology and the interest of science in spirituality, looking at the effects of meditation on the neurones and the body’s health. He shared his opinion on our current education system, suggesting that it should focus more on the development of the mind and on human relationships than on acquiring material goods. Although money is necessary, it is the use we make of it that could have a greater social impact.

Environmental consciousness and the need to protect our planet and consume more responsibly was also discussed at length. He emphasized on the reality of the relationship we have with the Earth, the fact that by destroying it we are bringing harm to all living things. That we must recognize our oneness, our unity with all life.

Sitting down after sharing his thoughts with us, he answered questions sent in prior to this event. On a question about parenting, he reiterated the necessity for the presence and demonstration of affection by both parent’s in the child’s development, this affection being the seed of compassion. That in order to create a better world for tomorrow we must start now by teaching our children compassion, by showing them the importance of others and the necessity to respect them and to let go of our self-centeredness and fears.

In the end, it is hard to describe this encounter with words that appropriately reflect the feelings I felt, but I will start with these: moved, inspired, relieved, joyful, unity, peace, calm, at ease, and many more. It was a lot to take in and I am glad, honoured even, to have met such a remarkable human being.

Namaste.

Happiness is…

Sitting outside in a wicker chair,

Still comfortable in the warm air.

Sipping on some herbal tea,

Taking a few moments for me.

Watching the kids laugh & play,

Their passion for life on display.

Time no longer is relevant,

Importance is in the present.

As the lights start to flicker,

The night grows colder.

Good night, sleep tight, Don’t let the bed bugs bite!

 

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