Category Archives: Inspiration

Find Stillness to Find Your Answers…

If you are still enough, the wild mind, the mind that isn’t preoccupied with oughts and shoulds and the minutiae of life, will approach you and make itself known.

Extraordinary Living…

By Stephen Cope, Senior Teacher at Kripalu Center

Kripalu Center is situated just across the street from Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. From early on in my tenure at Kripalu, I found myself wandering across the street, sometimes every night, to watch conductor Seiki Ozawa’s artistry and hear the genius of musicians like Yo-Yo Ma, Peter Serkin ad Kathleen Battle. What a treat!

Gradually, I began to notice something interesting – something that linked my daytime yoga practice with my nighttime revels at Tanglewood. These artists routinely entered into profound states of concentration. I recognized these states because they were precisely the same states cultivated in yoga and meditation – the same states I was cultivating in my own practice. What a surprise! I also noticed that the concentrated states into which the musicians entered affected not only themselves, but the audience as well. There was a profound “field effect” that extended to the thousands of people participating through listening.

All contemplative paths cultivate the mind’s natural capacity to focus awareness. Yoga and meditation systematically expand and deepen this ability. In highly concentrated states, attention becomes one-pointed. External, distracting sensory input is completely tuned out. As the mind penetrates the object of its attention, the very architecture of the mental process is transformed. The stream of thought becomes laser-like, narrowed but highly organized. All extraordinary human endeavors involve this same quality of concentration. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “what makes a man is great concentration of effort.” “Winners focus, losers scatter,” says Stephen Covey, author of the acclaimed Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Yogis have another way of saying this that better conveys the spirit lying behind most extraordinary achievements: When you bring all of your energy and commitment to the table, God shows up. When you fully commit to one path, to one endeavor, then the Universe somehow responds. Mysterious doors open. We discover powers we did not know we had. Unseen beings come to our aid. We experience unboundedness – a mystical connection with the whole field of mind and matter – and act not from the individual personality but a state of unified mind.

I believe everyone has the capacity for extraordinary living. All that is required is that we bring our focus, skill, and energy together to serve on purpose. If we do it, it can lead to astonishing powers of body, mind, and spirit – powers that are note “ours” in any sense of the word, but which we simply channel into worthy endeavors.

Expanding the Category of “Us”…

Inspired from Rick Hanson, P.H.D and Budda’s Brain – The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, & wisdom.

Loving Kindness

Let’s be mindful of the automatic mental processes that cause us to identify with a particular group (gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, political party, nation), and then regard members of different groups as others. Focus on similarities between “us” and “them,” not differences. Recognize that everything is connected to everything else, that “us” is the whole wide world – that, in a deep sense, the entire planet is our home and the people on it are our extended family. Deliberately create mental categories that include us along with people we usually regard as not-us. For example, when we see someone in a wheelchair, consider the fact that we are all disabled in one way or another.

Be particularly mindful of the default processes of valuing our own group while devaluing others. Notice how often that valuing actually has no rational basis. Be aware  of the little ways that our minds regard others as less of a person than our individual selves. Focus on the good things about people in other groups. Regard people more as individuals than as representatives of a group, which reduces prejudice.

Meditation on Loving Kindness

Find a posture that helps you remain relaxed and alert. Settle into your breath, establish some equanimity, some mental spaciousness and balance.

Be aware of the sensations of the breath in the region of your heart. Bring to mind the feeling of being with someone you love. Keep that feeling of love. Sense that love flowing through your heart, perhaps in a rhythm with your breath. Feel how that love has a life of its own, flowing through your heart, not specific to any one person.

Sense the love toward people you know, your friends and family. Feel that loving-kindness extending further out, to people you know who are neutral to you. With them the best, wish that they suffer less, and that they truly be happy.

You may feel loving-kindness like warmth or light or like a spreading pool, with gentle waves that extend further out to include more people. Feel this loving-kindness including even difficult people and people who may have harmed you. Wish that even they suffer less and be truly happy.

The peacefulness and strength of this loving-kindness flows outward even to people who you don’t know, whether you agree with them or not, whether you like them or not.

Keep feeling that flowing love as you watch your breath enter and leave your body.

 

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Be Led By YOUR Dreams…

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The World Is Yours To Use As Creatively As You Choose…

“Men grind and grind in the mill of truism, and nothing comes out but what was put in. But the moment they desert the tradition for a spontaneous thought, then poetry, wit, hope, virtue, learning anecdote, all flock to their aid.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What a beautiful thought. Stay with tradition and you ensure that you’ll always be the same, but toss it aside, and the world is yours to use as creatively as you choose. Become your own judge of your conduct and learn to rely on yourself/spirit to make present-moment decisions. Cease leafing through a lifetime of policies and traditions for an answer. Sing your own song of happiness in any way that you choose, oblivious to how it is supposed to be. – Dr. Wayne Dyer

The Energy of Full Locust Pose…

Full Locust Pose - Poorna-Salabhasana

 

 

 

You were born with potential.

You were born with goodness and trust.

You were born with ideals and dreams.

You were born with greatness.

You were born with wings.

You are not meant for crawling; so don’t.

You have wings.

Learn to use them and fly.

     – Rumi

 Yoga Journal’s Instruction for the Pose

 Physical Benefits:

  • Full Locust increases strength in the middle spine; it is good for scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylosis and slipped discs.
  • It opens up the rib cage and increases elasticity there.
  • It also firms the abdominal muscles, upper arms, hips and thighs.
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Seven Cardinal Rules in Life…

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Our World Is a Shared Experience…

Inspired from a video by Brian Miller

Acrylic, Paint, Lucite

Acrylic, Paint, Lucite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our world is a shared experience – fractured by individual perspective – imagine if we could all understand each other – and be open to taking in and understanding other people’s perspective. It is called perspective-taking. It seems easy enough to do, but in practice it is incredibly difficult.

It’s not enough to care about someone.

It’s not enough to understand them.

They have to feel understood.

They have to feel cared about.

Relationships are primarily about emotional perspective. How is the other person feeling about our interaction?

One of the simplest ways to understand how the other person is feeling is to ask – and too often we are afraid to do just that. We think they don’t want to share, but we completely underestimate people’s willingness to go into that “feeling” space.

And then it’s our responsibility to listen to understand, not listen to simply to reply – which we all get caught up in.

Life is about connecting. And connecting is about taking on other points of view. Our world is a shared experience – fractured by individual perspective – imagine if we could all feel understood.

I Have A LOVE For YOU…

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I have a love for YOU – and it has nothing to do with anything you can give me. By giving, I “get” or am nourished from something way more powerful than what any human can ever give to anyone anyway. It is amazing how much we get back when we simply love. I simply love. Or work towards unconditional loving every single flippin day. I’m human, of course, and fall into judging and selfish behavior…. BUT thank you for allowing me “in” to love you…..exactly for who you are and exactly how you show up in life in this moment…..and thanks for your unconditional love of me.

(check out this artist on Etsy by clicking the image above).

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The Beauty You See In Me….

the beauty you see in me