Tag Archives: Buddhism

The 52: Lesson Thirty One – Are You YOU, Wherever You Go?

Standard

butterflyblueskyOkay.  I know I am paraphrasing Jon Kabat-Zinn, who famously said “Wherever you go, there you are.”  In fact he wrote an important book with this same title.  His words are wise.

Don’t we often think that WE would be different if something around us would be different? Oh, if only I lived in Paris (or New York or India or Montana — fill in the blank).  Or, if only I had a more understanding spouse, partner, mother, child (fill in again).  Or, if only I had the time to study meditation or get my M.B.A. or take a vacation.  You get the picture!  If only . . . The grass is always greener, isn’t it?

Or what about this?  I am my most authentic, honest self only under certain circumstances.  It emerges when I am with  like-minded people.  But are you the same one with your co-workers, your “superiors,”  your in-laws, your children, your parents, with all your friends?

LESSON THIRTY ONE

ARE YOU YOU, WHEREVER YOU GO ?

Many years ago, I was teaching a yoga class at a health club.  This how it was when yoga was not on every corner.  There were step classes next door and people gazing through the glass to see what this weird thing, yoga, was.  One of my students, who I now realize was actually, (how can I put it?) really realized, as in enlightened, arrived at class early.  I casually said to her, knowing that she had spent a lot of time in an ashram in India with a very famous guru, “Oh, it must have been so much easier to have peace and quiet and practice yoga in such a place.”  I remember that she laughed a kind but hearty (filled with heart) laugh and told me that it is the same everywhere.  I did not have a clue what she was talking about. How could that be? How could it be the same, in an ashram filled with silence, incense, meditating people as in a noisy, sweaty, muscle flexing health club?

But now I know it is true!

Some time ago, I returned from a weekend program at The Omega Institute in the rolling hills of Rhinebeck, New York.  In the United States, it is considered a venerable place for learning, a kind of spiritual summer camp.  The place overflows with synchronicity, with energies of past and present teachers of Divine Love, with cross-overs on all spiritual paths.  Hundreds of us were there to bask in the place and learn something new.

It was intriguing to hear one person after another say how happy they were to be with others who were open to whatever they were seeking.  Over and over I heard the comment: “When I am at home, I almost never talk to others about this” — or that (whatever their focus on the path of growing)  “They just wouldn’t understand.”  Such is the pity.  So they were different at home.  But at Omega, it was a safe environment.  They could simply BE.

Yet even there, just like the most sacred locations in any part of the world, emerged  the ego identities we hoped had we left behind.  There were those who complained, who brought their “baggage” with them, who found fault — they struggled to BE something new or different, but it was not so easy.  I don’t say this in judgement but as a witness.  I know to the depth of my being, that EVERYONE is the Divine Light of Truth and Love, steeped in compassion, gratitude,  and forgiveness.  That is the core that we can rely on, no matter where we are.

I don’t pretend that remembering this all the time is easy.  It takes a measure of trust and courage to be congruent at all times.  I try my best but do not always succeed.  I do see improvement however…

This helps me. I hope it will help you:

  • Is it possible for you to witness yourself, as if you could stand aside and watch your own behavior in an impartial yet kind and loving way? This can lead to a better awareness of who you are being at different times.
  • When you know in advance that you may be in situations that will challenge your sense of Self, can you take a few moments to settle into your core — taking a few breaths or meditating for a while or saying an affirmation like I love myself completely NOW?
  • Do you sometimes hear yourself say or do something that you know for sure is inauthentic?  Can you simply mentally put a check next to it to revisit the moment later, to see how and why you took that action?
  • Are you able to stay “light” regarding your behavior?  In other words, not replaying over and over again those times when you felt out of sync.
  • Finally, and only if this is not too astonishing to consider, can you believe that all unfolds with Divine Consciousness and that you are not the “doer?”  Is it possible for you to venture the thought that the world is actually a “play” or maya?

These lessons are meant to help us find ways to feel lighter and happier in the world.  When you operate from your own truth, you will feel better.  Your life will be more smooth and easy.

Imagine being able to say and be who you are wherever you go!  It may take a little time to get there, but it is worth it!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

Advertisements

The 52: Lesson Twenty Seven — Are YOU The Divine Self?

Standard

butterflyblueskyMarianne Williamson, the writer and popular spiritual teacher who was  inspired by one of the most life changing books ever written, A Course in Miracles, has shared these words:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us…

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

Why, oh, why, then is it so difficult for most of us to believe and acknowledge this?

In the yoga world, we talk a lot about the Self and the ego.  I used to think that I needed to work hard to recognize the Self (the divine presence) in myself.  That I might be the Light of Love and Truth and Divine in any way seemed a huge stretch. Me?  ME?  Flawed me? Unworthy me?  ME?  Who was I kidding?  It would be lifetimes, I would say to myself, before I could even approach something so wonderful and self loving as that. A few times, I thought, why even bother?

Guess who was telling me all this?  If you said , “the ego,” you would be right.  Of course, the ego is totally invested in bringing on guilt, shame, helplessness, and fear.  That shadow side was ever ready, cloaking itself in oozing sweet words, so I wouldn’t recognize it.  Hiding behind trees and jumping out in various costumes, to masquerade as a logical, reasoned voice.  When the ego wasn’t showing off in cunning words, it was shrieking words so full of fear, I just knew I was low-down and a hopeless loss.  At the time, I didn’t recognize that I didn’t have listen to that talk, entertain those notions, or spend even an iota of time analyzing whether or not they had merit.

The ego, that nasty voice of doubt and fear, relentlessly tries to convince us that we are less than The Divine Light of Love.  If we really, truly knew beyond doubt, just how wonderful and complete we are and how much we are loved, the ego would lose its job.  Imagine!  Banished forever!

LESSON TWENTY SEVEN

ARE YOU THE SELF OR THE EGO?

Many years ago, I thought it would be useful for my students (and for me) to draw up a list of what I considered some of the attributes of the Self.  This is the list:

DIVINE

ETERNAL

BLISSFUL

LOVING

NON-JUDGING

CONTENT

LIGHT

CALM

AT PEACE

TRUSTING

PERFECT

I told everyone that these words express who we are, at our core and that, for a quick glimpse of the ego, just apply the opposite of these words.  I felt as if too much attention was focused on destroying the ego attributes, that it was better to focus on the “good” in all of us.  One of my students memorized the words and repeated them as she took her daily walk, letting them sink into her consciousness.  She said it helped a lot. Another student dropped a copy of the list onto the backseat of her car as she left class.  Sometime later, her husband was in the car with her and spotted the sheet.  Reading it, he asked if these traits were something she aspired to.  She replied (and I love this), “No.  It is who I already AM.”  Would that we ALL knew that all the time.

Here is an exercise for the week:

  • Take any one or all of the words and see how they manifest within you.
  • When doubt arises, remember that it is only the ego throwing water on your parade, diminishing you.
  • The Divine Self is naturally perfect.  That is how you are seen by the Divine.  Don’t get mixed up in thinking the word “perfect” is “egocentric.”
  • Apply these characteristics to others in your life.  If you see them in this light, maybe it will be easier for them to experience this for themselves.
  • Be patient with yourself.  If your thoughts start running contrary to these attributes, try a little thought monitoring as described in an earlier lesson.
  • Whatever your success level with this exercise, always end it with repeating, I LOVE MYSELF COMPLETELY NOW!

Oh, by the way, it takes some practice to “get this.”  Be patient and kind to yourself.  You might have already spent most of your life thinking just the opposite.  It is never too late to change…

Let me know how you do with this.  See if you aren’t lighter and happier! I am here to help, seeing ALL those attributes in you all the time.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, fo to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Bhakti = Love: Was This the Message of Shyamdas?

Standard

butterflyblueskyI have been quite surprised and struck by the events of this week.

I had another blog written for this week.  It was all set to go. But I was driven to change it and instead wrote about Divine Love and Stephen/Shyamdas.    There seemed to be a dynamic energy pulsing at the Memorial/Celebration held for him last Saturday.  I felt compelled to share what I experienced as the bhakti lesson I wrote.

Anyway, I accept that I (me, Deanne) am not the “doer,” so if this is what unfolded, it was meant to be. And it came as a kind of gift.  It was not as if I knew Shyamdas very well.  Indeed, probably almost every one there knew him better than I, yet it felt like he spoke to me.  Call me goofy, if you like, but this is not an uncommon experience for me.  It has happened, always unexpectedly, on previous occasions, so I have come to recognize this sort of transmission/ mystical event when it happens.

Love is truly the message!  It is the reason we all gathered together, to share a love for Stephen/Shyamdas and/or for the family and friends who grieved for him.  Maybe that love was so great that the soul of Shyamdas could not contain himself.  After all, that is what bhaktis do, the love is so big it explodes in the heart.  Especially if you are a chanter, singer, musician, as Shyamdas was.  It becomes a living expression of that exuberant love.  I am familiar with this feeling — of tears of joy spontaneously falling, of feeling connected to everything and everyone with a purity of heart, and of feeling “home”  (as in hOMe) at last.

This then is a celebration of Love, of Divine Love.  Whatever brought that Love to a deeper and more vibrant level warrants my thankfulness and gratitude.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Now take a moment and look at the previous post. There are ideas you might try to enhance your own experience of Love  — for yourself and for all that it!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more on “The 52” and other writings, please go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Lesson Twenty Four — What Will YOU Hear in the Silence?

Standard

butterflyblueskyYou can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba spoke these words, to share with us the depth of power and the healing grace of engaging in silence.  Imagine the notion of being so close to the Presence, Divine Consciousness, to God?  We don’t have to be literal in interpreting Sai Baba’s words.  Even without belief, miracles can still occur.

We meditate to shut off the cacophony of the world and to go within. We turn off our iPods and computers, our televisions and radios so that we can be on our own, without the trappings of the world.  For anyone familiar with the practice of silence, it is well-known that the real adventure, the heroic exploring, is within us.  But, if we are addicted to the world and its busyness, we never experience or understand what is so special about resting in stillness.  If you try it, you might meet with some surprises — like touching the essence of your own Self, your own transcendent wisdom. Anything can happen…

LESSON TWENTY FOUR

SILENCE IS YOUR TRUE FRIEND

My favorite Sufi poet/mystic, Rumi, wrote this:

Now I will be quiet and let silence separate what is true and what is illusion,

as thrashing does.

“Thrashing ” may not be a familiar term to some of you.  It means to beat or hit repeatedly.  It is also a farming term.  Farmers thrash the seed from the husk, separating it from the hay.  This I see as Rumi’s intent in using the word – to find the “kernel” of wisdom while we are quiet.

You don’t have to go anywhere special to engage in silence.  Often we think it is necessary to go to a retreat, a meditation “cave,” a weekend seminar — somewhere other than our everyday life.  You don’t have to wait for a special occasion or event.  Right where you are you can start.

A weekly class I teach is called Meditation in Movement.  We settle ourselves into meditation and then, while meditating, we begin to slowly start moving through yoga postures.  It is paramount to recognize that the depth of meditation does not leave us and does not have to fit into a box or set period of time.

Here are some ideas that might prove useful:

  • Choose an activity,  usually something quite routine like riding a train or bus or drying dishes or eating lunch, when you will stop, for a moment, and remind yourself to be quiet.  Be in the present.
  • You might become super conscious of your “routine” activity and let it become an impetus to be present and silent.  At one time, during a period of upheaval, I made driving my car the practice.  I focused on every aspect of my driving — my hands on the steering wheel, my foot on the accelerator, watching for traffic — in truth, I was witnessing myself doing these things, but from a place of silence and acceptance.
  • If it suits you, pick a specific time to be still.  Early in the morning, before the world “kicks in” too much, just before dinner or bedtime.
  • Repeat the word “silence” whenever you feel the need.

We are learning, little by little, to “be.”  To hone our skills at altering our perception of who we are and what the world represents.

It is a worthwhile endeavor and can bring riches beyond our wildest dreams.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: How Kindness Sends Out Waves of Love

Standard

butterflyblueskyThe 14th Dalai Lama spokes these words:

When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for,

but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.

How simple and easy is this? When The 52 was launched, twenty-two weeks ago, my promise to you was to give varied, yet simple lessons and practices you could follow any day.  The overall goal is to move into a place where we feel lighter and happier, more present and calm.  To soar, like our recurring photo, the blue butterfly, towards the light of inner peace.

Some of our weekly lessons may resonate more fully for you than others.  We humans are so diverse — for one person, calming the body and breath has an immediate result.  For another, repeating an affirmation like “I love myself completely NOW.” will be most effective.  This one, on loving kindness, will guarantee results.  I have already, in the previous lesson this week, offered suggestions you might engage.  Have you tried any or all of them? If you did, you had to feel significant benefit.

This is the best part.  Whether you have made loving kindness a practice or not will never alter the innate core of your being — that you are already a being embraced in the truth of Divine Love.  You may not be aware of it, you may doubt it and scoff at this notion, or you may occasionally feel it, but it does not matter. It is who you are.

So I send this reminder to you.  Be kind and loving to yourself.  Let it spread around you.  It is a gift to yourself and to the world.  What are you waiting for?

I am sending loving kindness to you right now.

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more teachings, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: How About Embracing Non-Violence?

Standard

butterflyblueskyMahatma Gandhi is one of the persons most associated with practicing  nonviolence.  Against enormous odds, he led his Indian nation towards self determination.  He wrote:

We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word, and deed.

                                     But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it.

Yes, the Yoga Sutras ask us to follow the course of nonviolence in thought, word, and deed.  It is a tall order and one we must observe vigilantly.  Before my morning meditations, I made a habit of “running through” all of the ethical practices recommended in yoga.  Ahimsa was my first stop.  It was a big stop for me; too often I found myself noticing my lack of success.  It has taken years to be softer and kinder in my behavior, towards others and myself, to feel that I have made some progress.  But, in a flash of hurt or anger or seeing injustice, I can dive back into this most clever trick of the ego.  Luckily being nonviolent means showing forgiveness as well.

Several readers of my last post on this subject have wondered at the idea that the world could be changed by nonviolence and if this is just a vacuous thought — one impossible to imagine.  I am surely not original in this hope, but I am also objective.  There is a certain innocence — maybe even a childlike dream — in wishing for this.  Many spiritual beliefs speak of that child’s hopeful mind and what it conjures.  Of course, the child is still innocent, then something changes .  The duality of Self and ego emerges, “maturity” begins, and we “give up childish things.”  More is the pity in this.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

It is, after all, our projection of the world that we experience.  It is the dream of maya, illusion.  We can dream nonviolence and see what happens.

It’s up to you!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to http://www.deannemincer.com

The 52: Are You Lighter and Happier and More Patient?

Standard

butterflybluesky

Being patient may seem like a trivial thing, especially when we consider gratitude and love and so many other “virtues.” But, make no mistake, a lack of patience results in a lack of peace and wellbeing.  When we are impatient, we have given away the sense of calm and have replaced it with anxiety and “not right-ness.” We are agitated, and who wants that?

Our world, when we engage it too much and take it too seriously, sets us up to be permanently in a state of dis-comfort.  Think of the constancy of the 24/7 news cycle, usually filled with bad news rather than good.  Consider our propensity to compulsively “stay in touch” through texting, emails, and social media.  Everything is happening FAST and, to my way of thinking, this makes patience difficult to attain. 

How about taking some examples from nature?  The great poet, author, and, some would say, mystic, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote this:

Adopt the pace of nature.  Her secret is patience.

Where I live, in Connecticut, we have had a long winter and spring has taken its time to unfold.  Is nature saying, “Come on, you daffodils, get up and bloom!” or “What’s wrong with you trees?  Can’t you start budding and spreading your leaves out to the sky?”  Instead, we wait.  Being impatient will not make a difference in the course of nature.  There is a lesson to learn here.

In like manner, we may give thought to “time.”  Some things take time to evolve. William Shakespeare, in his great wisdom, wrote:

How poor are they that have not patience.  What wound did ever heal but by degrees?

When my mother passed away some years ago, I learned that some people believed that grieving had a time limit.  Someone said to me, after three months had passed and I was still sad and feeling loss — well, I just missed her — that I should just “get over it.”  but that is not the way healing occurs.  We all have our own way to heal, and we should relax, be patient, and let it unfold in due time.

Being patient is being kind to yourself and all that is around you.  Try it!

I am a little impatient to find out what you think of this.  Just kidding!

With love and namaste, Deanne

For more, go to www.deannemincer.com