Tag Archives: Buddhist

The 52: What is to Come Next? I Would Like Your Help!

Standard

butterflyblueskyLast week, Lesson 52 was completed.  Just as the 52 lessons began with Love, so they ended.  Love is the ultimate spiritual practice.  It holds everything within it.  My heart has felt opened and filled with Love in writing each post.

As I contemplate the future for this blog, I respectfully request your feedback.  Many have written asking that this course be offered in book form.  Others want it to be repeated, as a blog.  Some of you would like a means of communicating with others who are reading The 52.  Please let me know what you think.  I would also like to know more about you. In addition to my many readers across the U.S., The 52 has  developed a large following in several other countries including Ireland, China, The Netherlands, and  Russia.  All of you, and your thoughts, matter a great deal to me.  So I would value knowing which lessons resonated the most with you and if you found them easy to follow. You can respond to this blog or on Facebook or to my email addresses at deanne@deannemincer.com or dminc100@aol.com. Let me know what YOU would like.

A year ago, I rather spontaneously (and perhaps, audaciously) decided to put into print the many teachings I have shared with my students and learned, both  by study and reading and through mystical experiences, from many sources on my own spiritual journey.  These have brought together the classic teachings of yoga and the mystical branches of many religions.  The lessons have been informed by the teachings of Jesus, the Buddha, Rumi and other Sufi masters, native and aboriginal traditions, Judaic mystical writings, ancient Hindu texts and other forms of inspired spiritual lessons.  While certain themes have repeated themselves, I have sought to give bullet point suggestions for you to put into practice those ideas and to offer a multitude of guidelines.  Believing that all paths lead ultimately to the great Source, to the Light of Eternal Love, to Truth, to freedom, to God, each reader could choose what most resonated with them.

Years ago, I subscribed to a course provided by the Siddha lineage of yoga.  It was, at the time, called The Siddha Yoga Correspondence Course and was authored by Ram at the request of his guru, Muktananda.  In the very first lesson, I recall reading that it would contain everything we needed to know, all subsequent lessons would be different approaches to the same theme.  The lessons were surprisingly simple (as I have tried to make The 52 simple).  The Course requested only that the reader repeat reading the same two lessons throughout the month, reading the words and imbibing the energy therein, even if the words made no particular sense.  Just being present to the Divine Energy therein would be enough.  And it was!

Later I began the daily readings of A Course in Miracles. I have since read every word of the text and information for teachers and have repeated the workbook section more than once.  Repeated reading has brought more and more spiritual benefit and insight.

I hope that The 52 bears repeating and that your depth of understanding will increase with time. (Although I do not pretend to the high powers within A Course in Miracles.)  So, for now, I intend to re-edit and add some fresh material to the lessons begun last year.  Starting next week, the newer version of The 52 will begin.

And now — another request.  The opportunity to change people’s lives, to let them experience a lighter, happier life, and to recognize that they ARE Divine Love will increase exponentially when this message is shared.  If The 52 has been of benefit to you, I ask that you share it with others. Please forward the emails, share it on Facebook, let your friends bask in the Light of Eternal Love.  My one purpose in writing these words has been to be of service and to help others. Won’t you join me on this journey? I will be most grateful to you.

I thank you for your kindnesses and for your support and encouragement as I offered these sincere words from my heart.  My heart bonds with yours as we see that all of us are, indeed, one. You are the Light of Eternal Love.

Maybe you should know yourself for just one moment.

Maybe you should glimpse your most beautiful face.

Maybe you should sleep less deeply in your house of clay.

Maybe you should move into the house of joy, and shine in every crevice.

Maybe you are the bearer of hidden treasure.

Maybe you always have been.

RUMI

I think you already ARE!

With love and namaste, Deanne

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

Advertisements

The 52: Lesson Fifty Two — And Finally and Only — Love

Standard

butterflyblueskyLove surrounds you.  

Of this be sure.

You do not walk alone.

These words, from A Course in Miracles, form the essence of The 52.  It is first, last, and always, the only and most important Truth to know and believe. Recognize it at the core of your being.  It is the path to true freedom.  Love destroys fear and the insidious messages of the ego, which you may have mistakenly taken to be the truth.  But hatred, judgement, anger, and hostility have no power where Love resides.  The darkness has no power over the Light.  It never has and never will.

Don’t be mistaken, this is not some trivial, maudlin, sentimental kind of love — the kind you might find in typical movies and songs and romance novels.  It is beyond physical love and that between individuals, though this kind of love carries a seed of Divine Love.  This is big Love.  It is not dependent on fluctuations in temperament or on the way the world is evolving or on another person. It does not wax and wane. It is only about YOU and the Divine Consciousness within you.

LESSON FIFTY TWO

LOVE YOURSELF

The image of the blue butterfly soaring toward the light conveys what The 52 is meant to represent.  It reflects how we, as humans, seek to find freedom and peace and the ability to feel and express love.  Sometimes we are not aware of this longing, but, nonetheless, it is there. The butterfly transforms itself, from the caterpillar that crawls on the earth, to a beautiful creature with wings outspread, flying in freedom.  All of us, no matter how much we think we are tied to the earth, has the capacity and wisdom to take flight. We can experience metamorphosis, just like the butterfly.  Our wings may be folded now inside a cocoon, waiting.  But then Love will split the cocoon and we will all fly free into the Light of Eternal Love.  All of us!  No one is left behind!

Once this happens — when you have even a glimpse of this Light — you will never be the same again.  You will know, in the depth of your heart, who and what you are.  You will recognize that you are not alone in this journey.  This is my purpose in writing.  To tell you this and that I am with you as a fellow traveler.  Many others are with you.  We will all find each other, just as you have found this writing.

In the Chandogya Upanishad, an ancient book of spiritual writings from India, it is written:

There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.

This is the light that shines in our heart.

It isn’t out there, some where.  It isn’t beyond your grasp.  It doesn’t depend on who you are, your good deeds, your history, your “worthiness.” It is your “birthright,” given to you for all time.  It was there before you took birth.  It will be there when you take your last breath and depart this plane.  It is eternal.  And it is present in this very moment, as you read these words.  Even if you and your ego doubt it, Divine Love and Consciousness do not.  I believe in it now to the core of my being, even though there was a time when I would have laughed at the notion.  Others have found the same Truth and many may have expressed it with greater influence or more wisely, yet I believe that it is my purpose to share it.  It was illuminated to me as the greatest gift of my life. This gift is meant to be shared.

So, here I stand, firmly grounded and steadfast and soaring with this Truth.  You are Love.  Love is you.  Love is in everything you hear, see, taste, touch and smell.  Love is ever-present and a present to you. To deny this is tantamount to denying yourself and all that is.

“I love myself completely NOW.”  This was the affirmation of the first lesson of The 52.  And so it is also the last.  If you have embraced this, repeated it over and over, no matter the circumstances, you will, in fact be, lighter and happier than you were when you began.  I promised that, if you followed the course, you would be a lighter and happier you in 52 (weeks).  I hope that you are.

 These writings and my beliefs have been non-denominational and have been planted in the spiritual belief systems of all faiths, tribes, and philosophies, all of which, at the core, share Love as the common and most important center of teaching and knowing.  Here, from the Holy Bible, is a favorite of mine.  From I Corinthians 13:

Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

Believe in Love. Love never ends.  Not ever!

With love and namaste, Deanne

PLEASE STAY TUNED.  While this is the last of The 52, nest week’s post will bring a new announcement.

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

The 52: Lesson Forty Nine — The Courage to Surrender

Standard

butterflyblueskySurrender is the faith that the power of Love can accomplish anything

even when you cannot foresee the outcome.

Deepak Chopra

The idea of surrender is not easy for many of us.  We function in the belief that we must be in control at all times.  We make the false assumption that surrender implies weakness and passivity.  We have grown so attached to this incorrect notion that our egos (which IS us to most of us) is the only hope.  So we place our trust, not in the all-powerful Divine that is the eternal us (The Self) at the core of our being, and hook our belief to the ever-changing, never reliable ego.  Such is the pity.

If only we had the courage to surrender!  And, trust in this, not only do you have the courage, it is, in fact, the place of the greatest reliability.  Letting go is the starting point where a peaceful life begins. We might call it trust in God or any other concept you hold that expresses to you Eternal Light and Love.

LESSON FORTY EIGHT

SURRENDER

“Thy will be done.”  Years ago, Dr. Larry Dossey wrote about the power of prayer in several books including Healing Words.  His findings at the time were considered ground breaking. He cited many studies that showed that some kind of “non-local” thinking or prayer could be transferred out into the energy fields where tangible results were corroborated. When people said “My thoughts and prayers are with you,” they might not have known how much power they were conveying.  Prayers do make a difference, yet some were more powerful than others.  The “God as Santa Claus” prayers, (those which gave out a list of what was wanted, like a child’s list to Santa at Christmas) could not match those that implied surrender.  The most powerful prayer of all was “thy will be done.”  Surrender and trust!

As most religions speak of surrender, so too does yoga.  With The 52, I have sought to share the brilliance of the Yoga Sutras as a powerful guideline for all of us.  The wisdom transcends religion per se, and can be effectively embraced by all, atheists and those of any belief system.

We have, throughout this course, reviewed the first two “rungs” or limbs of Eight Limbed Yoga.  Within the Niyamas (ethical guidelines and inner practices), comes the final lesson of surrender.  It is called, in Sanskrit, Ishvara Pranidhana, and shows us how surrender is a virtue and a significant sacred shift that changes our  lives.  This shift has the power to reunite us with the True Self, the eternal being that defines us.  It can effectively empty the ego of its influences and align us with Universal Consciousness.

All this power!  But this doesn’t mean it is an easy lesson for many of us to learn.  It has been one of my biggest challenges.  And I had to learn it over and over again.  It took dire circumstances to wrestle me free of the ego’s powerful force and the misery I was experiencing.

Several years ago, my elderly mother moved into our home.  She was 95 years old at the time, had an active and lucid mind, but was faced with several medical conditions that limited her mobility.  I jumped to meet the challenges but I underestimated totally what it would take.  Being a full-time caregiver and juggling work was more than I could handle, even though I still taught yoga classes and meditated everyday.  I was not about to surrender and accept how hard it was.  Instead, I fought ever more to keep her healthy and safe while I was falling apart physically, mentally, and financially.  And then we ran out of options.  She was over 98 years old, her body was worn out and she was too tired to go on.  We called on hospice.  Even then, I held out hope that she would “pull through.”  What was I thinking?  But the day came when it was clear that all of us, my mother,my husband, and I had no choice.  We could not change anything.  We could only surrender and wait.  That’s when the miracles began in earnest.  We let go, and it became a sacred sharing for all three of us.  We finally surrendered at last.

Of course I know that learning to surrender does not have to be under such sad and dramatic circumstances.  But now I can see when I am resistant and when surrender is the path to take.  My favorite Sufi poet, Rumi has written:

They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.

A few ideas that might help:

  • When you’ve programmed your day and will never finish all your tasks, think about letting some of them go.  What’s the big deal?  Who is judging anyway?
  • When you know that you are feeling fatigue, give yourself a break.  Go within for a while, take some refreshing cleansing breathes.  Have a cup of tea.  Or even take a little nap.
  • Have you ever been at the airport and your flight is delayed or cancelled?  I used to rant. Now I check out my options and try to “go with the flow.”  I feel much better this way.
  • Say to yourself, “Relax!” While there was a time when saying it was anathema to me, I can now easily say, “Thy will be done.”

If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.

Anne Morrow Lindburgh

Go ahead.  Take the leap.  Let go.  Let the winds of surrender carry you higher and higher.  Now you will soar like an eagle! Or maybe an angel!

With love and namaste, Deanne

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

The 52: Lesson Forty Seven: Lighten Up! Laugh! It’s Good for You!

Standard

butterflyblueskyGo ahead.  Lighten up! Indulge yourself. Have a good laugh.  You will be doing more to benefit yourself than you might imagine!  Your body and mind will indeed feel lighter because you will be releasing “happy” hormones into your system.  You will be increasing the strength of your immune system.  The oxygen levels will be greater  in both your body and your brain. You will cast out anxiety and stress, all while having a good time doing it.  And you will increase the energy of light and joy and love all around you.  It sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

One of my favorite yoga classes has been on this very subject, of being light.  We focus on feeling our bodies growing lighter and more free.  We laugh freely throughout the class and sometimes sharing our favorite jokes.  One of mine is this:  What did the yogi say to the hot dog vendor?  “Make me one with everything.” Haha.  Then the yogi gave the hot dog vendor a $20 bill.  When no change was offered, the yogi said, “Hey, where’s the change?” The vendor said, “Change comes from within.” Hahahaha!

This class is not a trivial thing.  It offers important lessons about being the Light itself, about not taking ourselves or the world too seriously (an epidemic of seriousness and spiritual conceit has run rampant in the yoga community), and serves as a reminder that everything, including the goofy and wacky, is there for us as a gift of Divine Consciousness.

LESSON FORTY SEVEN

LIGHTEN UP!

What a perfect moment to lighten up!  As daylight hours diminish here in the Northeast United States, some of us feel starved for light.  Holidays arrive with the traditions of lighted candles and sparkling glitter.  But it is nice to know that we, you and I, carry the Light within us all the time, and we experience it in many ways.

Swami Muktananda, a Siddha Yoga guru who has inspired many of my teachings and who seemed to take me under his wing (though he had already left his body or, as we say, died) said this:

See the world as a divine play, as the light of your own soul, and enjoy it while still laughing happily.

I have fond memories of a video containing many clips of him laughing.  It was shown at a special ceremony at an ashram celebrating Muktananda’s life.  The laughter on the screen was contagious.  After that, and much to my surprise, it seemed that he took to manifesting some very funny objects into my yoga room, all with a lesson contained within.  He taught me the value of being light and of laughing.

I needed that lesson! It helped me to remember that Dr. Bernie Seigel, the author of many books about those facing life threatening diseases, always lauds the miraculous ability of laughter in the process of healing.  In recent years, a new kind of yoga has emerged.  It is called Laughter Yoga.  It encourages childlike playfulness (who wouldn’t like a return to this?) that results in bursts of natural laughter. It was begun in India by a medical doctor, Madan Kataria, seeking to learn if cancer patients who laughed (in this special class he invented) would be more likely to heal.  Proof was shown and, today, Laughter Yoga is circling the globe.

What about you?  Are you weighted down with so many serious responsibilities that there is no time to laugh?  Give yourself permission!  Let’s call it a prescription for good health and happiness.  The doctor orders that you prioritize laughter!  Here are some ideas:

  • Watch a funny movie.  Maybe something you have seen before or a new one.  Pick one that makes you laugh out loud.
  • Hang out with a friend with whom you can share some funny times, someone who makes you laugh and encourages this lightness within you. If you can’t see someone in person, call them on the telephone.  I have some friends who share my ludicrous and silly sense of humor and I always feel so much happier after talking with them. No one else understands our merriment, but we do.
  • Choose a book of cartoons or humorous writing.  I have favorites around the house.  The Far Side still makes me laugh and a big coffee table book of cartoons of The New Yorker is guaranteed to evoke humor, though not the same as the sillier books I have.
  • Remember moments in the past when you laughed uncontrollably.  You know the kind of laughter that can’t be suppressed but bubbles over. I have many to draw from.
  • Check out TV series, even old ones. We have the complete set of the Monty Python series.  One look at the “silly walks” and I will be laughing.
  • Seek out original and novel ways to laugh.  Put it on your schedule as a priority.

Remember that it is up to you to choose your form of humor.  Let it spring directly from your heart and soul.  Let it sustain you.  See how much lighter and happier your life will become — and how much healthier you will be, as a special side benefit.  I’m not kidding!

With love and namaste, Deanne

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

The 52: Lesson Forty Five — Finding the Gold Within Yourself

Standard

butterflyblueskyThe final mystery is oneself.

Oscar Wilde

Isn’t it odd that we are so hard on ourselves?  That we, the ones who live in this body and have a pretty good idea of our history and likes and dislikes seem to wrestle with knowing who we really are?  We get all mixed up in thinking false ideas. We hook ourselves up to the definitions made by the ego and go on our not-so-merry way.  We define ourselves by outward notions — things like our education level, our race, our appearance, our nationality, or income, our family, our possessions, our name, even our weight  — and wonder why happiness eludes us.

We are searching in all the wrong places.  We have to peel away the layers, as one might envision the thin layers of an onion.  In the Yoga Sutras, we refer to this as self-study.  We try to honestly and actively pursue the removing of these layers so our true and Divine Self can emerge into the Light.  This practice is called , in Sanskrit, svadhyaya.  Self reflection.

LESSON FORTY FIVE

SELF STUDY

Thomas Merton, an Anglo-American Catholic monk and mystic, has written:

The first step toward finding God, who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself.

There are many means to accomplish this task. Honestly observing our interactions with those around us is one way.  Another is by pursuing the reading of spiritual texts that enlighten us as to the traits of loving kindness.  For some, chanting a mantra, meditating, doing yoga poses, walking in nature, helping others are effective.  Showing genuine forgiveness and kindness to ourselves, perhaps for some by going to confession or following rituals that encourage self-examination.  As the external layers are removed, we are lighter and feel cleansed.

I have several times been in Bangkok, Thailand, and, each time, I have gone to The Temple of the Golden Buddha.  I never tire of the story.  I hope you will like it too.

Over 300 years ago, when then Siam was being attacked, a group of monks, wanting to protect their golden Buddha that was 10 feet tall and weighed at least 2 1/2 tons, covered it with 12 inches of clay.  They felt certain that it would be ignored and not taken.  They were right but, unfortunately, all the monks were slaughtered, and the secret was lost.  Then, in the mid 1950’s, the monastery that housed the statue had to be moved to another location.  A crane was brought in to raise the clay Buddha.  but the crane was not powerful enough as the Buddha was so heavy.  The Buddha was dropped and a small part of the clay cracked.  The head monk, taking a flashlight, saw something bright through the crack.  As he chipped away, he found what was enclosed inside — a solid gold Buddha that had been encased in clay.

This is like ourselves.  We mistake ourselves to be nothing but clay.  Common, ordinary clay.  But we too have a golden light so brilliant and a love so eternal that we fail to see what is inside of us. But when we look, with kindness and compassion, we will find the treasure and feel the elation.  We then know who we truly are and this surpasses the most rudimentary concepts of happiness.  It is bliss!

Some ideas:

  • Look honestly at yourself.  You will likely know if there are behaviors within yourself that trouble you.  Are you “short” with some people? Are you condescending?  Are you even cruel?  Begin peeling, little by little and count each change as a triumph.
  • Be grateful when you can see yourself more plainly.  There need be no fear.  They are only thoughts. Be grateful for inner wisdom.
  • Is there someone with whom to share your journey inward?  Maybe within a religious context?  Or a spiritual mentor?  Or a trusted friend?
  • Do not get lost in feeling guilt or shame.  It is easy to do this.  Forgiveness and compassion begins with YOU.
  • Watch as you become lighter and happier, more authentically you.
  • Be patient.  It could take some time.  Time does not matter.  You are on the path.
  • Keep saying “I love myself completely NOW,” throughout the process.

August Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize winning  playwright said:

Confront the dark parts of yourself and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness.

Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.

It might delight Wilson to think that we are all actors in a play.  The play of maya.  That gold at the core of our being remains the definition of who we are.  Perfect and the Light of Eternal Love, that’s who.  Nothing has changed. It is who we have always been!

With love and namaste, Deanne

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

The 52: Lesson Forty Three — Tapas: The Flame of Change

Standard

butterflyblueskyTapas.  Ah!  Spanish food!  But no, this is not the kind you eat at a Spanish restaurant — all those delicious “small” plates of food. But, in another way,  this kind of tapas is food too.  It is food for your soul and your eternal being.  In tapas, one might say we are “cooked” into something new.  We are “cracked open” so a greater understanding can emerge.

Tapas is a Sanskrit word that describes yet another of the niyamas, the ethical practices as set out in classic yoga philosophy.  It is a guideline to help us live in the world while still embracing the spiritual essence of our own being.  Most of us are not monks or hermits, living apart from everyday life.  We need systems of support along the way.  Thus, we have the eight limbs of yoga.  And, thus, we have tapas.

LESSON FORTY THREE

TAPAS —  THE FLAME OF CHANGE AND ENTHUSIASM

The word, tapas, has been described in a variety of ways.  Some say it is a fire that burns within and fosters wisdom, integrity, simplicity, and focus. Others laud its ability to trigger enthusiasm and excitement pushing us ever more to release all distractions and bring us through the flames to a place of deep balance and tranquility.  Others explain tapas as that which kindles the flame of the divine within us and burns away all impurities.  All of these describe the richness that is tapas.  

It is useful to think of the practice of tapas when we are in the midst of crisis, change, and pain.  When it seems that some sort of catharsis is occurring and pressing us into a sometimes dramatic change.  When something within us is being burned away so that a new version of ourselves may appear. For myself personally, a few years ago my path took me into a place of deep loss and fear, It was a falling away from what I thought I had been.  Something new was struggling to make itself known — a new “me” in effect.  It felt like being burned up until I could see the debris was melted away, and I was glad to see it go.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

Khalil Gibran

Pain and loss are not uncommon in the physical world and while we are residing there, even in it as a dream, our feathers get ruffled.  Staying steadfast in our beliefs is a powerful means of unearthing the “pearl” within the shell.  Sometimes we become so immersed in this play of grief, self-pity, anger, and other emotions, that it is hard to catch the spiritual drift.  Swami Muktananda wrote:

The secret to success in sadhana (spiritual practices) is to use everything to our advantage.

There are legions of stories about those who have turned tragedy into enlightened experiences.  Take, for example St. John of the Cross in his writings in The Dark Night of the Soul. His suffering carried him into the arms of the Divine.  Or consider the response of Ram Dass, a contemporary teacher on the spiritual path who, much to his surprise, “suffered” a stroke some years ago, leaving him quite debilitated physically.  Yet this experience of “fierce grace,” as he called it, resulted in his naming his experience as “being stroked” by God.

Don’t be mistaken, it is my wish that none of us are so “blessed” as to reach deep levels of pain, but perhaps we can begin to see that the fire that consumes the forest makes way for new shoots to spring from the soil.  It is a form of re-birth that allows the Divine within each of us to shine in the light of day.

These ideas may help you better understand tapas:

  • When you are confronted with levels of fear, pain, or loss, what might you do to “ground” yourself?  Would it help for you to take a walk, listen to some music, do yoga poses, watch your breath, meditate, read a book that makes you laugh?  What about praying, asking for guidance and strength?  Or reading some passages that help you remember who you are?
  • Using affirmations can bring a lift.  Saying “I love myself completely NOW,” can be helpful in giving something positive for the mind to give focus, and breaking a pattern of negative thinking.
  • Can you remember times when you felt lost and afraid?  Do you remember how long this lasted?  Did something else arise to replace that experience?  Can you recall in any way that those feelings and emotions were constantly changing, yet you, the real you, was still there, unchanging.  Are you able to see that you made it through and came out stronger?
  • Try thinking of ways that sustain you and keep you steady, when you are not in the eye of the storm.  If you devote more to those habits, like eating good, healthy food, caring for your body, finding coping mechanisms for stress, taking time to go inward, laughing, giving love and forgiveness to yourself and others, they will be “set” in your everyday life.  All of these build up strength for times of duress and flame the fires of joy and happiness within us.

Remember that tapas builds enthusiasm, and “fires us up” for confronting whatever may arrive in our lives.  So let the multiple meanings of tapas enrich your life in new and surprising ways.  We are all in this together, walking hand in hand, on the path that guides us to Eternal Love.

With love and namaste, Deanne

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

The 52: Lesson Forty — Can You Rest in Contentment?

Standard

butterflybluesky

Once you have tasted contentment and start to live in its beauty, you actually want this river to overflow its banks.

And that gives you the courage to move forward and make the most of this gift of life.

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda

Someone, in one of my classes, visually blanched when I mentioned the idea of contentment.  “But if we are content,” she exclaimed, “then we won’t strive to improve.  We won’t make an effort.  We won’t grow and learn.  We will just be content.”  Exactly, we will just be content.  But this doesn’t mean we become a bump on a log, that we are inert and lacking in vitality.  It means something far more important.  It means this:  If you start from a place of contentment with what is in the moment, you move forward without a sense of lack.  You are conscious of your value and worth while you move in whatever direction you might go.

How content are you, right now?  Can you rest in the place where you are in this moment?  Or do you feel lacking, desiring, and inadequate without this and that?  As part of this 52 week study, we are moving through the Yoga Sutras.  They contain enormous wisdom and are guides to aid us in everyday life.  One of the Niyamas is called santosha or contentment in English.  These are guide posts for living our lives in ways that direct us toward lightness and happiness and greater self-knowledge and, ultimately, to the great Light and Love that lives in each of us, to the Divine Self.

LESSON FORTY

CONTENTMENT — SANTOSHA

There was a time in my life when the idea of contentment would have been anathema to me.  I had so many lists of goals and plans and desires — from books I wanted to read, to destinations around the world where I wanted to travel, to languages I hoped I might learn to speak, and, well, blah, blah, blah, and on and on ad infinitum.  My tape deck in my car was full of ways to change my life, wasting no time while I drove from one location to another  — listening to lessons on how to improve myself, repeating French phrases or German or Chinese, learning something or other.  I set up the perfect arrangement to never, ever feel content and  finished in this lifetime and, probably, for many to come.  And worst of all, I felt pride in my list making and goal setting, like people who were content were lazy and lacked vision.  In the meantime, I was dancing as fast as I could, and never happy or fulfilled.  There was always more to add to the list.  Now I know better.

The Yoga Vasishtha is an ancient document which contains many of my favorite writings.  It says:

What is contentment?  To renounce all cravings for what is not obtained unsought

and to be satisfied with what comes unsought.

Without being elated or depressed even by them — this is contentment.

Think about it.  Are you always looking outside yourself for something to bring you peace and contentment?  To something you want?  To another person to accept and provide a sense of worth?  Seeking and avoiding — that is no way to feel fulfilled and content.  Ask me!  I have been an expert at this.  And I know what it brought me.  Nothing but pain, sadness, arrogance, and helplessness.

Here are some ideas that might be helpful:

  • Stop.  Right now.  In this moment.  Stop reading.  Are you content just sitting and reading?  Is this possible?  Maybe, in this moment, even if only for a fraction of “time,” you are content.  Don’t ask for more right now. How does this feel to you?
  • Do you really think that once you have that new BMW or that trip to Honolulu or that book published or that retirement fund built up, that this will ensure contentment?  Are you looking outside yourself?
  • Can you begin to imagine that there is already a treasure of wisdom that out ranks everything “out there” residing right there, in you?  Just knowing that you are worthy and loved without all the accoutrements, the add ons from the world is quite a gift.
  • Could you let go of desire and know that everything will unfold perfectly anyway, without your own effort?

Leading from a place of contentment opens up a whole new world.  But first you have to try it and then stay with it.

Through contentment, there is a world within my heart.

Rumi

With love and namaste, Deanne

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