Return to Self

Return to Self

Even the Black Eyed Peas  are telling me to meditate.

“ Madness is what you demonstrate

And that’s exactly how anger works and operates

Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight

Take control of your mind and meditate

Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all”

So I sit for 20 minutes in my return to sitting practice. It’s not meditation, it’s simply return to sitting – noticing what takes me away from being present. I took on this practice from the Summer Intensive Wisdom Course Leader training.

Then the Peace Angels cross my path again today. They have just returned from Salt Lake City on a tour to the Parliament of the Worlds Religions. People from all over the world and all religions were moved by their presence. Being in their presence really is a profoundly moving experience.

Best Yoga for when you’re not well

Best Yoga for when you’re not well

We think we’re not doing yoga if we’re not up on the mat bending and stretching. According to the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, asana, the physical practice of yoga, is only one of eight limbs of yoga. Asana is designed to give us the opportunity to sit for longer periods in meditation as well as remain well and vital.

If you have the flu, that’s not the time for vigorous asana. That’s the time for getting well. So often we force ourselves back to the mat before it’s time. This is not yoga.

So what else can we practice when our body is getting well?

Gentle pranayama, meditation, silent chanting or listening to chanting, study – or daydreaming…

What about restorative postures? Sure. One of the best ones might be the being horizontal in bed posture. Ever heard the expression, what you resist, persists? Whether or not that’s true, resistance to what’s actually happening creates tension in the body, cuts off our deep breathing and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system – our fight/flight/freeze response. Resistance can show up in a myriad of ways. That quiet voice saying, When am I gonna get better? I’m so annoyed I can’t go to yoga. I think I’m going stir crazy. You know, it really shouldn’t be this way… Or it might show up by being irritable with the people around us. Or sulking. I do my best whining when I’m not well.

Perhaps the best yoga practice when one is not well is to practice being happy. Observe the physical sensations going on in our bodies and return to the breath. Marjie is one of my committed listeners – someone who listens me bigger than I can see myself. Marjie is a walking miracle. She is 75 and two years ago, she had a stroke. Her husband Chuck, was told she would be a vegetable and never walk again. The future she created for herself as she came out of her coma was – All is Well and I’m happy. Two years later, she’s leading the Summer Intensive Wisdom Course Leader training I attended in New London, Connecticut in July. She laughs so much! I thought, well, if Marjie can create ‘All is Well and I’m happy’ in the face of the stroke and all of her symptoms, I can create ‘All is Well and I’m happy’ with whatever I’m faced with in my life.

It makes me wonder: how much happiness could I actually stand?

Photo credit: Zara Albion-Lawson

Edo & Jo

Edo & Jo

Every morning I wake from sleep to the sweet dulcet tones of Jo’s voice singing:

asato ma sadgamaya

tamaso ma jyotirgamaya

mrtyorma amrtam gamaya

Oh lead me to the truth

From darkness to the light

This body to eternal life

Oh lead me to you

Together with her beloved, the mantra music of Edo & Jo is the most peaceful re-awakening into daily life.

Last night she passed away, surrounded by loved ones. Jo is VAANI which means Goddess of Creativity and she has left a much loved legacy of recordings and touched the hearts of many people. As integral members of our spiritual community at Shanti Mission, Edo and Jo introduced our Guru, Shakti Durga to Sri Sakthi Amma in India who embodies the Divine Feminine.

Edo says:

I found this note she wrote on Sept 8 one of her last diary entries before the pain and weakness got too much…

Jo wrote: 
I asked Amma “how can the whole universe be within me? Please show me”. Amma took me on an astral travel moving from “me” to the city, to the country, world, universes, galaxies, where so many planets exist. We kept flying through space. “But Amma, how does this all exist within me?” I ask Her. Just then, the travel continues through the galaxies and then ends in my heart. “see Jo, there’s no separation, Jo is there “pointing to the origin where I am the size of a mustard seed. “and Jo is here too” – with the entire universe within me. She took me for a good ride that night…

[Full Facebook post here]

Listen to their music here

Om Namo Narayani