Monthly Archives: September 2012

Never Miss a Good Chance to Shut Up!


Will Rogers!  Remember him?  He was a popular figure in the 1920s and 30s.  He was a cowboy, an actor, a humorist, and social commentator.  If you’ve never heard of him, look him up, you young’uns. Will Rogers is quoted often for his acerbic sense of humor.  He said, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.”  I would vigorously nod my head in agreement!

His words should ring true for anyone looking for the chance to be silent, to go within, to let go of the ceaseless activity of the world.  A lot of us are so used to “chatting up” those around us, we measure ourselves by the perceived wisdom of our own words and fill the silence with something, with anything, even if it is drivel.  A lot of us think that only by thinking and then sharing those thoughts is anything at all accomplished.  We are immersed in sound and noise – the radio, the television, the traffic, our iPods playing, our cell phones texting — it is no wonder we have forgotten what it means to just be. Be still.  Be silent.

No thoughts, no action, no movement, total stillness:

only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things

from within and unconsciously, and at last,

become one with heaven and earth.

Lao Tzu

You may not think you want to become one with heaven and earth.  It may seem that you’ve come this far without letting your self rest in silence.  All of that is well and good.  Then, carry on, as they say.  You are free as a bird — maybe.  But manyof us are tired of the incessant activity and noise. If we take only a few minutes to quiet ourselves, most of us will find refreshment and comfort in those moments.  It is easy enough to do.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Just before falling asleep or getting into bed, try to rest your mind. Let go of the replay of the day.  Maybe focus on something small you enjoyed during the day, then quiet the mind.
  • Just before rising, take a minute or two to feel gratitude for a chance to sleep and rest.  Think of something that will be pleasant in the coming day, then rest the mind. Stop thinking. Just observe.
  • During the day, at any time, stop and clear your mind.  Try thinking “No thoughts. No words. Silence.” Then, do it.  Be silent.
  • Find a cue that works for you.  Perhaps each time you sip a beverage,stop and rest.  Whenever you pick up your cell phone, take one beat to stop.
  • Best of all, block a period of time to devote to being still, using a meditative practice or just feeling your breath flow in and out. Start with five minutes, then the sky is the limit.

It is the stillness that will save and transform the world.

Eckhart Tolle

You may think it is hyperbole to suggest that something as simple as stillness could actually transform, even save, the world.  But what if it were true?  What if a simple act of quieting could bring about such change?  It starts with you.  Forget, for now, about changing the world.  Change yourself — by the simple act of silence.  Why not?


We Are All Born For Love


We are all born for love.

It is the principle of existence, and its only purpose.

Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, expressed these words during the Victorian era in the 1800’s.  Imagine, if today, these words were part of the political dialogue in our present era.  Could you fathom a candidate standing at a podium talking so adamantly about love being our purpose for living?  Yet, when we cut through the puffery of the world and go to the core of our being, and, if we have the courage to speak  from the truth within our hearts, most of us will acknowledge that it is love that warms us, alters us and changes everything around us.

The poet, Robert Browning wrote:

Take away love and our earth becomes a tomb.

Without love, who are we and what are we?  Throughout history, we have seen how civilizations have been ruled from places of hate, self-righteous beliefs, and the harsh divisiveness of judging others as inferior or evil, thus proving that those espousing those sentiments can only be speaking from their own love deprived state.  Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to loving and caring for those in society who were the most likely to view themselves as unlovabe and unworthy, observed:

If you judge people you have no time to love them.

In an earlier post about love, I noted that all great spiritual paths hold love as a commonality.  As a yoga teacher, I know that love is the essence of yoga in its purest form.  We learn to “practice” methods that help us to remember to love ourselves.  Why is it a practice, like learning to do yoga postures and sitting in meditation?  Because it may not come naturally to us — even as it is, in the truest sense, innate within us, we forget just how worthy we are and that we are born with love intact — until we learn to unlearn it. 

Whether we actively embrace a religion or spiritual path or not, loving ourselves, at least to begin, requires changing the way we think. Louise Hay, the woman who is at the forefront of spiritual knowledge, as a best-selling author, speaker, and publisher, and Cheryl Richardson, another best-selling author and coach, have written a new book called You Can Create an Exceptional Life, which includes much insight into using affirmations to help bring change into your life.  At first glance, some might think these are just rote statements that never reach into the depth of our being, but the mind and body have a way of responding even when you don’t realize it.  You have to try using affirmations over a period of time to recognize their strength and potency.  As Louise Hay suggests, as you go about your day, you can say words like this:

I love my life.

I love this day.

Life loves me.

It is wonderful to feel the love in my heart.

Everything I do brings me joy.

Drop the skepticism.  Leave behind your judging , maybe cynical, mind.  Go ahead!  Try it. It can’t hurt.  It can only make you feel better.  Or you can make up your own expressions and affirmations. Just typing these statements puts a smile on my face.  I feel the love flowing from the words and out into the space around me.

Shakespeare wrote:

And when love speaks, the voices of all the gods

make heaven drowsy with its harmony.

We have the chance, in every single minute of our lives, to let love speak.  To ourselves.  To those around us.  And to everyone, circling the globe.

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Yoga Nidra — A Deeply Relaxing and Healing Sleep/Meditation


world love     Yoga Nidra could change your life!  Really change your life in the most positive ways! If you have never tried it, read on.  You may be surprised!

Yoga Nidra is not what many of us consider a “yoga” practice.  Anyone can participate!  No experience necessary! It is not about twisting the body into various postures.  It does not include extensive breathing exercises, like the breath of fire.  It is not a fitness class. Yoga Nidra is one of many varieties of yoga meditation yet does not require you to “sit” in meditation, on a cushion, with your back in alignment, controlling the thought waves of your mind.  What, then, is this powerfully transformative and deeply calming form of yoga?

Often called “yogic sleep,” Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation that carries you on a journey through your body into the breath, transporting you into an awareness of your senses and emotions, gently then moving your awareness through the energy centers (the chakras), then into the mind and a place where you feel the freedom to touch the deepest part of your being.  Yoga Nidra opens a space within you where intention lives and, as part of the practice, you choose your wish or intention (sankalpa), planting it in your mind where it is takes root, then is tenderly nurtured so it can grow and bear fruit..  You choose your sankalpa just as you enter into Yoga Nidra and again repeat it at the conclusion.  The feedback I receive shows great results for those placing their intentions.

Here is some information about Yoga Nidra:

  • If you can lie on the floor, you can do Yoga Nidra.  Only some gentle stretching may or may not be involved.
  • There is no effort in  the practice of Yoga Nidra.  To the contrary, you simply lie there, close your eyes and listen to the guidance.
  • You let go of analysing and judging yourself.  If you fall asleep, that’s okay.  If you snore a little, no one will mind.  A part of your “sleeping” consciousness will still imbibe the lessons.
  • Mostly you lie on the floor, or a reclining chair, and calmly listen to the instructor.  You may hear all or part of what is said.  No matter.
  • The idea is to do nothing, think nothing.  To just “be” is all that is required.

If that is all it takes, then how could something so simple be so transformative?  And that, with continued practice, you can actually see the changes in your life.  Yoga Nidra guides you into a place where you experience freedom and trust.  You come to see the transitory nature of events in the world and your own emotional responses to them.  It happens in the stillness. “Relax into Greatness,” is what happens in Yoga Nidra as described by Rod Stryker, who teaches this practice.

In Yoga Nidra, most people experience a depth of calm and relaxation that goes beyond anything  in routine sleep and in formal, sitting meditation.  It is said that Yoga Nidra can move the mind into what is the deepest and most restorative brain wave state called delta. Throughout our waking time, we are the beta wave where time and space are experienced, along with the five senses. In light meditation and in light sleep, time and space diminish and intuition increases; this is the alpha state. The theta emerges in deep meditation and deeper sleep.  But in Yoga Nidra the deepest rest and sleep appears, in the delta state, in sleeping awareness, where we are able to actually alter and transform our lives, where we can touch the essence of our being.

In Yoga Nidra, you learn to reach into the timeless wisdom

that lives within you and is always present

in every circumstance of your life.

     Yoga Nidra is being practiced in the fields of psychotherapy, for healing illness, in treating post traumatic stress syndrome, managing chronic pain, helping the military deal with everyday stress, and in other areas where transformation and healing are needed.  It is one of the most powerful means for releasing stress and for profound spiritual transformation.   It has even been suggested that one might reach the place of Divine Love as experienced by those who have dramatic near death experiences.  My own Yoga Nidra “script” is evolving and exploring this potential through various groundbreaking means.  Imagine knowing that level of Love on your own!  In truth, we are only now beginning to understand the multiple benefits of Yoga Nidra.

I offer Yoga Nidra classes on a regular basis.  You can access this information on my website. I hope you will have the opportunity to experience the life changing and peaceful healing that is Yoga Nidra.

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