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Showing posts from July, 2009

The River and the Dance of Opposites

The river was quiet this morning, and the water was clearer. I could see all the way to the bottom, and when I paddled upstream, the sun's reflection on the waves sparkled like the facets of a diamond. It was beautiful and peaceful for the short while that I spent there.

I reflected on the news I had received from so many this past week - a diagnosis of cancer here, advanced Lyme's disease here - and so forth - and I could not help but think of the fragility of life. I recalled a friend sharing an expression of deep gratitude for her life, despite the many challenges she was facing. This was a simple reminder that nothing truly, is forever in this life.

Yet, instead of being weighed down by all the somber news received, I could see the light contained within each experience and piece of news received, as I watched the golden reflections of sunlight skipping joyfully on the surface of the water.

I carefully reviewed the theme and lesson from my yoga class yesterday. My teacher…

The Breath Within the Breath

Yesterday on Twitter, I posted one of my favorite verses by Kabir the poet:

"Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath..."

This "tweet" or post got re-tweeted quite a bit, and one particular person on Facebook, wanted to see the whole poem it came from:

"Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in Indian shrine rooms,
not in synagogues, not in cathedrals,
not in masses nor sacred songs.
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me, you will see me instantly.
You will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says, “Student, tell me, what is God?”
He is the breath inside the breath."

I later recalled I wrote a poem some years ago that alludes to this verse from Kabir:

The Breath Within the Breath

Kabir wrote:

The Divine is found
In the Breath
Within the breath.

I experience Shakti,
In the Movement
Within the movement.

Just as the Sh…

Random Acts of Kindness

These wonderful suggestions come from the blog, "A Gutsy Guide for Getting Your Mojo Back," by Lissa Rankin.
Random Acts of Kindness1. Pay the toll for the car behind you. (Be sure you’re in a cash line, now that many cars have fee scanners.) I love watching in my rear view mirror for their reaction. It’s worth every penny.2. Return someone’s grocery cart from the parking lot so they don’t have to walk it back.3. Let someone go ahead of you in the check-out line. Always a crowd pleaser, and your halo may begin to show.4. Hand someone a Wet One who really needs it. Carry them in your purse and help out a frazzled Mom or a grown-up who just spilled something.5. Return a neighbor’s empty trash can after trash day. I’ve had neighbors do this for me several times since my husband died. How sweet, well maybe not sweet smelling but …..6. Deliver a neighbor’s paper to their door. It may save their slippers some tread. Do it for one entire week and you’ll have them r…

I am My Beloved's - Musings on the River

I can't even begin to describe how unpleasant the river is these days. It feels almost toxic. It smells pretty bad, and the surface of the water is covered with foam, debris, and remains of green algae and other invasive weeds and plants growing in the river. I hardly recognize this river that has sustained me, and truly realize that it is never the same river twice.

Though the river was somewhat repulsive to me when I visited it this morning, I still tried to see the beauty that had first drawn me to come inside this river. I thought of the river as somehow reflective of relationships in its various stages. There are times in our lives that our most cherished relationships suffer - and take incredibly different turns - heading down paths we might never have imagined - resulting in our greatest heartbreaks and disappointments.

This river has been beautiful - at times so very reminiscent of the springtime of a relationship. Sometimes it is in deep freeze, as it was this past winter,…

Awaken

This morning, I received a beautiful slide show with the following text, and it was the perfect thing to begin this day and week with...

Awaken
Robert S. Marston, Jr.
In your life
A new day is dawning
Awaken and touch the beautyWherever you've come from
Whatever you've been
New possibilities beckon
Right here and now
Awaken and make them real There was a time when you held in your heart
The most magnificent of dreams
A time when life seemed to carry
Endless promises and possibilities Those dreams are still with you
Awaken and bring them to life What you long for
Is longing for you
What you dream of
Is what you are meant to createThe doubts you have exist only in your mind
The anxieties that seem so burdensome are of your own making
Now is the moment to awaken,
and allow those doubts to melt away Awaken, and dive deeply into the beauty of this moment
Allow your spirit to fully experience the richness of it all Awaken
Allow peace to fill …

Loving Unconditionally

I had a very beautiful day yesterday, capped by an evening meditation with a wonderful group of like-minded souls.

The host of this meditation group that I have been attending now for a couple of years is a gifted therapist and friend. He always begins with a little talk on a particular topic, and then we meditate together. Those who come regularly, all follow and embrace the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, each in their own way.

The evening began when we were asked to share our experiences of loving unconditionally and how that felt to us.

Our host shared with us the experience of having recently met a well known and published author in the healing community, and noting how despite all his successes, there seemed to be a deep sadness in his eyes. He told us, how in that moment, he wanted nothing more than to convey God's unconditional love.

How do we love unconditionally? Very simply, when we behold the Presence of God in everyone that we meet. This may seem like a difficult and …

May You Weave

Today, in my yoga class, my teacher spoke of the meaning of the word "Tantra." She noted, that though the first part of the word - "tan" is often translated as "to weave," it really means to stretch and to accelerate as well.

Tantra is an invitation to stretch our consciousness, our perspectives - and our perceptions. It also gives us the opportunity to accelerate our personal growth and transformation.

The second part of the word, "tra" means technique or technology. Therefore, Tantra is a technology for transformation and growth. Anusara Yoga practitioners have a wonderful and elegant system that not only brings the body, mind, and spirit into alignment with the Divine - but is a vehicle for profound transformation on all of those levels as well.

As we began class, we were invited to set an intention for our practice. Perhaps we had a relationship that needed to heal, or perhaps we wanted to let go of something in our lives that was standing in t…

Solar Eclipse

Yesterday, the earth witnessed the longest solar eclipse of the last hundred years or so - and the next one will occur in about 124 years. Many of my friends were doing special meditations to honor the event.

From a "tweet" on Twitter:

"Scientifically, the Sun, the Earth, and the Moon are in straight link during a Solar Eclipse and the Sun seems to be "overshadowed." The New Moon occurring during the Vedic months of Aadi (July-August) is very special and signifies a divine time shift and is a perfect opportunity to connect with ancestors and get incredible blessings...

For all of us on a personal level, eclipses signify change. It is a time for new beginnings and our ability to adapt to change will be tested to the limits. Responding graciously and keeping a positive outlook to new events and relationships is most beneficial..."

I sent this information to one of two friends who were celebrating birthdays yesterday. She had spent most of the night in meditatio…

The Yoga Sutras and Meditation

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of teaching a class on the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali at Golden Heart Yoga in Annapolis, Maryland.

We spent quite a bit of time talking about meditation and the effects that that a meditation practice has on us.

For example, meditating for as little as 3 minutes will increase blood circulation and distribute endocrine secretions throughout the body.

Meditating for 7 minutes will begin to generate ALPHA waves in the brain which have a more calming effect on the mind. Long time meditators generate GAMMA waves which are even deeper and more elusive that the THETA waves that most advanced practitioners aspired to attain...

Meditating for 11 minutes enables the parasympathetic and sympathetic parts of the brain to become more energetic and balanced.

Meditating for 22 minutes relieves one of anxiety-producing thoughts and starts to bring one greater clarity.

Meditating for 31 minutes brings balance in the endocrine system in one's body - and this effect lasts the …

Open to Grace Once More

I re-visit the theme of "Opening to Grace" several more times this week, and I wake up with thoughts of grace embracing me...

I am off to teach a workshop on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali today, but I wanted to share both a poem and some quotes on grace, so that all who read this blog on this day may open to grace more deeply....

Open to Grace

I tell my students—
when you Open to Grace,
you say yes to the whole
river of life
in all its permutations

When you Open to Grace,
you open to all the opportunities,
the gifts and the challenges
that life brings you—
for each one contains the seed
for transformation,
each experience contributes
to making us who we are

I tell my students—
Open to Grace, and say yes!
To the whole river of life!

~ ~ ~ ~
"You are the proof of grace.
Grace is something you have become -
it made you."
~ Douglas Brooks

"Grace is always available -
but are you open to it?
Grace wants us to live fully
and feel the magic of life."
~ Todd Norian

"May you open y…

Inspirations From Cyberspace

This week has been a very busy one where I have spent a lot of my time out of my house - and therefore - not so much in front of the computer.

I managed to spend a little bit of time on the river on Friday, knowing it might be a few days before I would get the chance again. As always, the river did not disappoint, and the blue heron made his appearance as he usually does.

Still, even, though I haven't had the time I would like to write and share so many wonderful things that are happening, I have managed to be touched here and there by some quotes that I wish to share...

"The deep desire of a mystic
is to bring Eternity into Time."
~ Evelyn Underhill

"Who is this following me everywhere?
It is my ego self. My Lord, I am ashamed to come
to your door in his company."
~ R.Tagore

I saw my Lord with the eye of my heart,
and I said: "Who art Thou?"
He said: "Thou."
~ Mansur al-Hallaj

"When you become a blessing to others,
everyone becomes a blessi…

Highway to God

Yesterday, I spoke at length to a dear therapist friend who gave me a wonderful insight. We were discussing the nature of relationships and our experiences of meditation.

At one point he shared, that all longing we have in our most significant relationships is really a longing for God. Indeed, all of our relationships - whether they are ones we truly feel fulfilled in or not - are simply a highway to God.

In other words, when we love someone very deeply and yet feel estranged from that person - we should be able to look deeply into their eyes - and see past them to God - for that person is really showing us the way there, in their own unique way, and through the lessons they are in our lives to teach.

Even in relationships where we are totally happy and we feel totally satisfied - we still need to look into the eyes of that person - and realize that they too are a highway to God. For no human relationship can ever be an end in itself. We are not meant to find our total fulfillment in ano…

Open to Grace and the River of Life

Today, I taught my last class of the session and the last one at the studio I have been at, by inviting my students to open to grace and to the whole river of life.

When we open to grace we open to life and all its permutations, experiences, and all that we are presented with. We recognize that there is intrinsic goodness in everything, and even the challenges that life presents us with are invitations for us to grow.

I came home today after class wishing I had time to go see Ammachi - the hugging saint from India. It has been years since I have been able to do that and it would have been an excellent experience, but I knew I really couldn't fit it in between teaching my two classes.

So, instead, I headed out to the river - and then came home to finish my painting.

I seem to do both - paddle and paint - when I am in transition in life...

The Potomac River was low and overridden with algae and the hydrilla was starting to peak through the surface of the water. The river was also very fi…

Thoughts of the Seven Seas

I have spent the last two days painting my basement a beautiful light purple called the "Purpling Dawn" in preparation for teaching there once again. It is almost finished, except for touch ups and a few things here and there.

I had a friend come over and look at it yesterday, after I had finished painting somewhere between a half and three quarters of the space. I needed another set of creative eyes to look at that space and aid me in decorating it.

It has come together very beautifully. The color is exquisite - so much lighter than the rich purple of my Sacred Space which is where I spend most of my days when I am at home. This space is my own personal practice area - where I do my asanas and sit in meditation. It is also where I write - surrounded by many icons and murtis, and a huge collection of incredible crystals. It a room people enter and immediately are overcome by the vibrations it reflects. Those who are more intuitive, often pick up on the beings that inhabit the …

Guru Purnima: Night of Perfection

This week, on two consecutive days, I marked the sacred day of Guru Purnima. On the first day I observed the day in a private manner, by meditating for an extended amount of time, and walking the labyrinth. On the second day, I attended a Guru Purnima service led by my friend, MahaDevi, of the Sacha Lineage.

I first met MahaDevi when she was known as Sandy, and the Divine was inviting her to take a radical turn in her spiritual path. Our lives intersected during a workshop on yoga as body prayer, hosted by the magnificently gifted Iyengar Yoga teacher, Carolyn Bluemle.

When the invitation arrived in my inbox to attend this ceremony, MahaDevi's first public event as a teacher, I felt a strong desire to attend. We have companioned each other during major transitions in our lives - each one of us acting at times as teacher or student to the other...

In her email, MahaDevi invited the participants to consider why this day was important, and I will excerpt from that email:

"Guru means…

The River She is Calling You

This morning I had time to go down to the river for about 45 minutes before starting my day. It was peaceful and quiet, and for the first time I could see all the way down to the riverbed. But it was also messy. Days of hot sun had provided nourishment for the green algae and the hydrilla as well. I watched a camp of young teens take off in their kayaks about the time that I arrived, and I briefly bantered with their teacher.

Later in the day, I read this wonderful blog by Lisa Schrader, and wish to post a link to it here, because it so reminded me of my experiences on the river:

http://lisaschrader.blogspot.com/2009/06/river-she-is-calling-you.html

Here is the text to this blog entry:

"It is dusk when I arrive, over bleached rocks dry and white, at the river’s edge. Shadowy enough that I flinch when lizard scurries under brush and bat swoops across my path. Self-absorbed and squatting there under hypnosis of water rushing-its-hushing-by, instinct jerks my head toward the periphery a…

Love is All Around

There is so much I would like to write about today - but it has been full and rich - filled with writing, connecting, and processing an incredible experience from last night. So, it will wait...

I have been touched by some quotes today, so I will share some of those, hoping they will touch you as well:

"Lovers do not finally meet somewhere.
They are in each other all along."
- Rumi

"I have one small drop of knowing in my soul.
Let it dissolve in your ocean."
- Rumi

"Just to be is a blessing.
Just to live is holy."
~Abraham Heschel

"The road to enlightenment
will eventually take you to a point
where you remember
what you have always known."
- MythicRiver

"The things that happen to us do not matter;
what we become through them does."
- Sri Gyanamata

"Perfect love casts out all fear."
- Anthony de Mello

At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet."
- Plato

May you enjoy the rest of your day! It was simply exquisite here!

The River of Life

I receive a gift unexpectedly, from a radiant soul, in the form of a posting on Twitter - a song titled, "The River of Life," that I in turn pass on to other souls...The lyrics of this piece speak to me as if they had been birthed deep within my own soul...

I cannot sleep - too much is weighing deep down in my heart, so I head for the garage, pick up Grace, and I am in the water by 6:30 AM...

It is quiet down at the river. This is truly the the river of my life - mirroring every shade of color my soul reflects and every season I have known. I paddle straight into the mist that I see along the banks of the river on the Maryland side that seems to be fed by the shade of the trees.

The mist is delicate and fleeting. As soon as I approach it, it seems to disappear, and I realize it teaches me how the thoughts and perspectives I hold on to so strongly are just illusions - they too cannot be captured and are as fleeting as these thinly parting veils of swirling and dancing mist...

I d…

Guru Purnima

Today, on this day of the Full Moon in July, I arise early, even though I am tired from traveling, and sit in meditation and honor all of my teachers, past and present, and I give thanks for all that they have given to me. This is the day of Guru Purnima, a sacred day in which all teachers are remembered and honored...

I had planned to use a particular theme in my yoga class this morning, but decide to change it mid-stream during my meditation, and instead, I invite my students to honor their own teachers - and their teachers' teachers - for we are the sum total of all the people that have touched us. We have been formed by an intricate web of connections spanning back into antiquity. We are who we are - because of legions who came before us. We are the children of all of our spiritual guides as well - those known and unknown - seen and unseen...

I tell my students that we are teachers and students to one another. And every teacher truly knows - that we teach in order to learn more …

Ultimate Freedom

John Friend's 2009 Anusara Yoga Tour is called "Ultimate Freedom," and today is a day in which those of us who live in the United States and call it home, celebrate our nation's independence.

The readings in Paramahansa Yogananda's Spiritual Diary for the first week of July provide rich insights on this subject...

"Freedom means the power to act by soul guidance,
not by the compulsions of desires and habits.
Obeying the ego leads to bondage;
obeying the soul brings liberation."

"Before you act, you have freedom,
but after you act, the effect of that action
will follow you whether you want it or not.
That is the law of karma.
You are a free agent, but when you perform
a certain act, you will reap the results of that act."

"Man's freedom is final and immediate,
if he so wills; it depends nor on outer
but inner victories."

"The way to freedom is through service to others.
The way to happiness is through meditation
and being in tune with God...
B…

Waste Some Time

I spent 12 hours at the Chicago O'Hare Airport yesterday, en route to Des Moines. It turns out the computers were down at O'Hare, which meant my flight into the airport was delayed and then I missed my connection, as did thousands of people.

My husband continued on standby - but my son and I did not get on a flight until later that night. After having been up since 4 AM to meditate, I was exhausted.

I suppose some would look at that time spent in the airport and consider it wasted time. On the other hand - there was nowhere else I could go or be. So, my son and I enjoyed each others' company over margaritas and beer, and I was able to re-connect on the phone with a Chicago friend.

In many ways, yesterday was an invitation to live in the present moment. I found myself connecting to and talking to people in many lines I had to be in. I would never have met these people otherwise. Everyone was in the same boat, and most were simply making the most of it. People were friendly, an…

Treat Yourself With Wisdom and Love

This comes from today's issue of the newsletter Jewels in the Lotus, and I thought it is a perfect way to begin this month. Thank you Cathy for your words!
"Imagine living your life as your higher self all the time. Imagine being able to make choices from the heart quickly and easily. Imagine being able to allow others to be just as they are. You easily speak your truth without conflict or confrontation. Life flows along and you handle all the challenges with grace. There is great peace in your heart and you are in tune with your breath. Joy and peace are your natural state. Your vibration is high and love is all around you. Decisions come from a deep place and one that is steeped in unconditional love. Actions and words are combined with your radiant power and you own this power fully.

Sounds amazing? It is and at can be when you live life more fully as your higher self. When you access this state of being in your daily life, it changes the way life flows.

Many of us can reach …