Monthly Archives: January 2013

The 52: How Are You Breathing Right Now?

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Now to breath! If you have started monitoring and altering your breath, as described in the last post, you are already seeing how this simple awareness can make you lighter and happier.  That’s the promise of this 52 week course in spiritual teachings. 

Most of us take our breathing for granted.  We just do it, without any thought of how we do it.  Did you know that there is an entire science to breathing.  In fact, in my yoga training, one of the books we studied is titled Science of Breath. If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend this book.  It was written by the people who were my on site teachers in my studies of yoga.  It was a privilege to be surrounded by swamis and medical doctors and psychologists, all of them seasoned in yoga. What a multi-disciplinary approach to the “science” and philosophy of yoga!

Now for more breathing tips you might like to try:

  • While you are breathing, use this visualization:  Imagine that the in- breath is filled with bright healing light.  Feel it flow in through the nostrils, down into the lungs, then sense that it is spreading throughout your body.  You could visualise the light into every organ, tissue and cell — all the way out to the extremities.  Each cell is cleansed and bathed by the breath.
  • Now as you exhale, imagine the breath is carrying away anything you wish removed from your body — illness, pain, toxins, soreness.  Feel it flow out through the nostrils and flow completely away from your body.
  • Here is another:   Let each in-breath be bright with a golden light of love, bathing your entire body.  Then breathe out confusion, chaos, worry, sadness or any negative emotion.

These images can have potent power.  One time, a man was referred to me for special yoga practice.  He was suffering with intense back pain.  He had been advised to have surgery.  We engaged several of these breathing practices.  He described that his pain was totally gone.  Then, as often occurs, his ego and skepticism kicked in.  In a short time, I am sorry to say his pain returned.  He could not accept that something so simple could relieve his pain and that he had the power to do it. I never saw him again but was told that he decided on surgery. 

When the body, breath, and mind work in loving tandem, miracles can and do occur.  See what happens to YOU when you work with your breath.

In a few days, there will be more on the breathing.  Let me know how you are doing.  Remember, even though I have used these practices for a long time, I am following “the 52” right along with you and feeling results anew!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thoughts: www.deannemincer.com

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The 52: Lesson Five — Something You are Doing Right Now Can Change Your LIfe

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  • There is something you are always doing that affects your level of happiness and peace and has a great impact on your health. Take a look at the number of times you do this one thing that is so significant to your well-being:

16 times a minute , 960 times per hour, 23,040 per day, 8,409,600 times per year

Those are some of the numbers given for an average person.  If you have not already surmised, we are talking about breathing.  It is a given that we breathe all our lives, but the question becomes one of how we breathe.

As a yoga teacher, I learned this maxim: If you can control your breath, you can control your life.  That’s a pretty hefty statement.  In fact, there is an entire science devoted to breathing.  It is called pranayama, and we who practice yoga learn to do a myriad of breathing exercises.  What is important here is that, simply by learning some easy ways to alter your breathing, you can be less stressed and happier in your everyday life.  So here we go!

LESSON FIVE :  THE BREATH

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.

Conscious breathing is my anchor.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist monk who has written countless books, made this statement.  The breath is his anchor.  Think about that.  You can always return to the breath.  It is with you all the time. We can learn to use it as a tool to alter the quality of our lives.  None of this is difficult.  You simply have to be aware of it and use it.  You will feel and notice change.  I promise!  For beginners, here are a few pointers:

  • Pick a time when you can be quiet, even if only for a few minutes.  Pay attention to your breathing.
  • You want to be breathing in and out through your nose, not your mouth.
  • Is the breath steady — in other words, is it even?  Inhalation and exhalation?  If the exhalation is a bit longer, that is okay.
  • Do you pause and hold your breath between breaths?  Try to keep it going, like a constantly moving wheel.  Inhale, then exhale.
  • Is the breath jumpy, jerky, agitated?  Think of each breath as smooth and silky.  Flowing with ease.
  • Keep breathing this way whenever you think of it.

Those are some breathing basics.  You will find that doing this “practice” often will be calming to you. It will take you out of the world for a little while and put you into the present moment.  That is always good.

If you feel ready to add this next idea, see how it feels.

  • While you are breathing like this, repeat our first affirmation — I love myself completely NOW.  Coordinate it with the breath, as if it were swimming on the wave of the breath.
  • Take lesson two and do a little body scan.  I bet you will see that your body relaxed right along with the breathing .
  • Add lesson three, if you are focusing on the breath, you are unlikely to be worried about anything.
  • And you are being quiet, so lesson four is in effect.

How easy is that?  In a few days, I will make a few more suggestions.  Remember, you don’t have to spend much time on this, but you do need to start to change patterns of breathing for a more joyous life.  Let me know how it works for you.  Even seasoned yoga people could use this reminder from time to time.  We all can use a gentle reminder from time to time.

When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thoughts: www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Four –Blah! Blah! Blah! Turn Off the Chatter

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Never miss a good chance to shut up!

 That’s what Will Rogers had to say.  He was a humorist, actor and cowboy, popular in the 1920s and 30s.  Maybe before “your time.”  I like this quote so much, I used it in one of my earlier blog posts.  Now some of those quotes seem to fit right into these weekly lessons.

Think about this: If we are not actually talking or listening to some form of chatter, our minds are all too happy to fill in the space.  Tearing from subject to subject. Interjecting thoughts, judgments, and instant analysis of any old thing.  Playing the same tired tapes over and over.  Don’t we grow weary with all the activity? What a relief to “shut up” and take a break.

How are you doing with giving some time to silence?  Does it seem strange to you?  Does your mind object? Who is the one doing all that thinking, after all?  Who is there in the stillness?  Could there be someone who witnesses all the falderal?  Is it possible that you’ve been so busy with noise that you haven’t noticed that some one else is there?  Could it be YOU?  Maybe it is time to get acquainted with YOU, the silent one who is in every moment of your life – waking, sleeping, thinking, dreaming.

I am curious. Let me know if you are meeting another part of yourself as you dip into silence.  Or, if you have been meditating for a long time, maybe you can venture back into the time when you first noticed that someone – YOU – was watching.  I relish hearing these stories.

And now, for something completely different, let’s all be SILENT.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thoughts and information:  www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Four — Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh! We are Silent Now

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Now we are being quiet!  Now we are learning to be with ourselves, bathed in peace and love.  Now we are remembering who we really are, before we took on all those definitions from being in the world.  This is the practice of the heart.  This is where we find quiet, serenity, and peace.

On the tree of silence grows the fruit of peace.

Written by the Indian poet, Kabir, in the 1400s, the simplicity of the statement resonates today.

See what happens when you set aside some time for silence.  See who you become over time.  You might come to see that those quiet moments of your day are the ones you value the most.  You might see into the magnificense that dwells within you.  With in YOU, right now.  Perhaps lying dormant because you have never been quiet enough to know it.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  Listen to the silence!

A few more ideas:

  • Just before going to bed or falling asleep, take some time to rest your mind. Let go of the replay of the day or dwelling on a problem to be solved.  Put it all to “bed.”  Let your mind flow to something small you enjoyed during your day then rest in that moment of happiness.
  • Just before rising, take a moment to open with gratitude and kindness into the new day.  Think of something that will bring pleasure as the day begins, even if it is simply a cup of tea or coffee, the face of someone you love, the warmth of a shower.  Then rest in the stillness of that momentary thought.
  • Before going into the stillness, remind yourself — I love myself completely NOW.  You cannot say it often enough.

Snippets of silence help us to be calm in a different way than long periods of, say, meditation.  Both have great benefit.  See how it feels to you.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more words, go to www.deannemincer.com

                                              

The 52: Lesson Four — The Silence Within You, The Place of Truth

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To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.

These are the words of Lao Tsu, the venerable Chinese philosopher who lived in the fifth century, BCE. and is the author of the Tao Te Ching.  His wisdom has resonated through the ages and carries much commonality with other spiritual and religious paths.

Of all the topics I have covered, one has drawn the most readers and attention.  It is the easiest of all.  It is based on the above quote. This is it.

Be still and know

that I am God.

Psalm 46:10

Silencing the mind.  Being still.  Resting in the quiet.  Isn’t it an irony that this, the stillness, is the way to find peace and Truth? Especially as we live in a world ever more addicted to activity, noise, and interaction?  We have filled our lives with chaos, with traffic and cellphones, with texting and talking, with 24/7 news feeds, with headsets and busyness.  So you think this has made us lighter and happier?

In week one, we gave ourselves this reminder, to repeat over and over:  I love myself completely NOW.  For week two, we scanned our bodies to wipe away tension and stress. During week three, we targeted one of the thought habits that causes stress and discomfort: worrying.  Now we take this week to choose the wonder of silence. This will be taught in three lessons, all within this week.  Stay tuned for the postings.

LESSON FOUR

THE SILENCE WITHIN

How novel!  To do nothing.  To just be.  To let go of activity and thoughts.  To turn off the television, the radio, the phone, the conversation. To be by yourself as your Self.  You know, you have never had to do anything or become anything to be the Light of your own Soul.  You already are that Light.  All by yourself.  Just as you are right now.

There is profound power inside the heart of your own being.  If you are already used to this, you know what I mean.  If you meditate or commune with nature or pray, you know this.  For many of us, the idea of just being with ourselves is strange, uncommon, maybe even uncomfortable or frightening.  but it is worth the effort to go into silence, even if for only a minute or two.  Throughout this course, we will explore many different ways to bring this to fruition.

Remember that whatever you do, you will let go of judging.  You will be accepting and loving to yourself without exception.  You will be light and kind to yourself.  Everything will unfold in just the right way.  Count on it!

For this week, here are some ideas to explore;

  • Choose a time, anytime, today, to be quiet.  Let your body soften.  Feel your breath deepen and smooth out. Pay attention to a calming thought as you coordinate your breath with this thought.  It could be one of these:  I love myself completely NOW.  Or,  may I feel peace and be at ease. Or, pick a sound like Om or Amen or Shalom or Salaam.  Notice how they all have a common sound within them.  This is no accident.  The Sanskrit sound of Om or aum, is said to have enormous power within it.  Just be quiet for a minute or two or three.  Then go about your day.
  • Choose to do the above  a few times a day.  Go somewhere quiet.  Tell your family you are having quiet time. Perhaps they will want to try it out on their own.  Just remember, this is your quiet time.
  • If you already meditate (and good for you!), maybe you will take just a little more time this week. You can honor yourself for choosing to go within and love yourself even more.

So, for this week, all you have to do is enjoy a little peace and quiet.  That’s all.  In a day or two, I will lend support with more ideas.  Be sure to check these postings regularly.  Or pass them on to others.  In my mind, the more of us who feel lighter and happier and more loving in our lives, the better.  What do you think?

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to www.deannemincer.com.

The 52: Lesson Three — What’s the Use of Worrying? Try This!

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butterflyblueskyDo you think that worrying is a modern-day problem?  Here is what Ovid, born in 43 B.C. and  a Roman poet, had to say:

Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.

Can you imagine, giving up worrying, once and for all?  Especially now, in a world where we seem to dwell on subjects like these:  The undulating economy.  Terrorism and shootings. Health care programs.  Will we have enough money to put our children through college?  Enough money to support us into old age? Enough money to buy food for tomorrow? What is our future?  Can we find a job?  Is the planet over heating?  Why am I depressed?  On and on, more and more…

STOP!  Has your worrying level gone up just by reading these questions?  STOP!  Put them  in the box or slot them into worry time.  Worrying about all this is useless, non productive and dangerous.  STOP NOW!

LESSON THREE

WHAT’S THE USE OF WORRYING?

I like what William James, the psychologist/philosopher, had to say about worrying:

If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.

I think, at least for now, we all seem to be on the same planet.  The facts are in — worrying is wasted.  It is time to break the habit!  While loving yourself completely NOW and calming your body, you take the next step and stop worrying.  Let it go.  Give it up.  Trust in supreme consciousness. All this worrying stuff is out there, in another realm some of us call maya, (illusion).  But more on that later.  Right now we are being practical.

There is a song from World War I.  Part of it goes like this:

What’s the use of worrying?  It never was worthwhile, so

Pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and smile,smile, smile.

You may think these lines are simplistic, but they fall on the truth.  You CAN pack up your troubles and learn to place them in a healthier context.

Here’s an idea I got from a friend and wonderful meditation teacher.  Put one of those stretchy bracelets on your arm.  Whenever you have a worry thought, switch it to the other arm. Or take some object.  Place it to your left then move it to your right whenever a worry erupts. You will quickly become aware of how often you worry.  You might be moving it back and forth all day. At least you will know what you are thinking.  In fact, you can try this with any number of thought patterns. First you have to be made aware of your worrying habits.

Here are some suggestions you might try:

  • Become aware of your worry patterns.  Use the idea just suggested or just mentally note whenever you have a “worry” thought. Don’t be harsh with your self.  This is not a reason to feel guilt.  You are simply observing and learning.
  • Put your worries in your “worry box.”  Each time you note a worry thought, rather than immediately obsess about it and create anxiety, write it down on a piece of paper and put it, literally, in a box.  Then, when you are ready to address your worries, pull it out along with the others you have accumulated, and , go ahead, worry.  Limit the time you give to this.
  • Schedule a specific “worry time.” Take your worries, as they arise, and note them in your mind, but do not spend any time on them. Then, at your chosen time — maybe on the hour of the clock and for three or five minutes — go ahead and worry like crazy.  With wild abandon, worry.  When the “timer” goes off, put them away again. Or choose one or two times a day when you will worry.  Keep it contained so worrying is not running amuck throughout your day.
  • Honestly evaluate what the worrying has done for you and to you.  It won’t take long before you realize that it is wasted effort.
  • Do not mistake worrying for problem solving.  They are two different things.  One has a concrete outcome, the other does not.
  • Throughout this process, remember that you can always return to your affirmation, I LOVE MYSELF COMPLETELY NOW. Let it remind you that worrying (and nothing else) will ever take that love away.  It emanates from a source far too powerful to be set aside by our behaviors.

I hope that you will try some of these methods if worrying presents a challenge for you. And tell me know how you are doing.  I care!  Be assured of this.  And besides, you wouldn’t want me to be worrying about you, would you?

With love and namaste, Deanne

Read more at www.deannemincer.com and join me on Facebook where all this is often posted.

Pack Up Your Worries: More Thoughts on Lesson Three

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There is an old World War I song that goes like this:

What’s the use of worrying? It never was worthwhile, so

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.

I know this little dittie may seem simplistic, but there is something to it.  Worrying NEVER was or is worthwhile.  Taking action does something.  Worrying does nothing. 

How are you doing on the worry front?  I picked this lesson and, almost as soon as it was posted, I was put to the test when some serious issues came to light.  I told you that I am practicing these lessons right along with you, so life is giving me some pretty big opportunities to test myself.  I am currently a fan of the concept of putting worries into a time frame.  The clock is ticking, but I am tucking them away until the allotted time.  Mind you, this does not mean I don’t take action.  Worry and action are not synonyms.

I hope that the suggestions in the introduction to worrying post are helpful.  Please remember that wherever we are on one of the 52 weekly lessons , we must always go back to lesson number one, to love ourselves unconditionally and no matter what.  Our mantra is “I love myself completely NOW,” even if I spent an entire day tense and worried.  We just go from wherever we are.  Love is smiling on us and encircling us, whether we know it consciously or not.

We are all butterflies soaring toward the light — even as the light is soaring inside already.  Sometimes we just forgot it is there!  And you don’t have to feel you are soaring alone.  You never are. 

If I can help, let me know!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more thoughts, go to: www.deannemincer.com

Published January, 2013 by Deanne Mincer