Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Secret of Health

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly. 
                                                                            – The Buddha

Here is a wise and familiar tenet of life. Throughout my forty-odd years of practicing Yoga this returns again and again to remind me the present moment is all that is real.

Yesterday I discovered the freezer door had not securely closed the night before and food was thawing. My mind immediately began to ruminate about the cost of a new refrigerator, the time it would take to empty and clean the freezer, the waste of thawed food, the frustration of contacting someone to fix it, on and on.

But wait, maybe the door just wasn't completely closed. Perhaps simply securely closing it and waiting a few hours would reveal a different scenario. The bananas kept on the top shelf would need to be discarded, but the rest might yet be saved. Actually, I used the half-thawed bananas, along with strawberries, blueberries and mango to make a fantastic smoothie. But that's anothter story.

Sure enough, the refrigerator did not turn into a huge hassle. By evening the motor was purring softly and everything was frozen as it should be. Ice was popping from the ice maker. We smiled at our foolishness.

The point here is the mind could have taken me on quite an unpleasant ride, spending hours worrying about things not yet happening. This worry does effect health and well being, not to mention overriding the ability to simply be in the present moment.

Of course, this is a mundane example, but it illustrates the point. The amazing ability of the mind to create our reality is indeed a wonder. What an enormous responsibilty it is to stay awake and aware in order to command this powerful instrument to serve us rather than let it be our master.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unique Moments

Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the Universe, a moment that 
will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two 
and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also 
teach them what they are?

We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. 
You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another 
child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.

You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the 
capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you 
then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, 
to make the world worthy of its children.
                                                                                         ~ Pablo Picasso

When my children were small, I would often tell them how wonderful they were. Reminding them they are unique human beings is a responsibility I take very seriously. I mean really, it's my job to instill into their psyche confidence and a deep sense of self. Along with this is the idea that all life is sacred. Even those people we may not like or agree with ~ they are unique, sacred, and an essential part of the nature of the universe.

The major tenet of Yoga is Ahimsa, non-harming. Many great Yoga teachers and gurus proclaim it to be the basis for all other attributes. If we do no harm, we can co-create a place of harmony and joy. Of course, non-harming must begin with our self. Each act of kindness toward self or other will affect our perception of the world. It will transform how we experience the world. 

How do we "make the world worthy of its children"? It starts by practicing Ahimsa and recognizing we are all in this together. We are connected. We are ONE. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Perfect at Every Moment

The world is not imperfect or slowly
evolving along a long path to perfection.

No, it is perfect at every moment
It seems to me that everything that exists is good--
death as well as life,
sin as well as folly.

Everything is necessary,
everything needs only agreement,
my assent, my loving understanding;
then all is well with me
and nothing can harm me.

~~Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Lately, I have found myself vacillating between opposites, feeling as if my small boat is rocking madly on very rough water. This can be disconcerting, but fortunately, I have not remained too long in any one state. 

Several days last week old aches and pains revisited bringing some discomfort and psychological resistance. It was interesting to become the observer, watch the experience of my body and mind, and let go of all expectations. Nothing magical happened, but eventual the pain dissolved. 

I dreamed about the "painbody" Eckhart Tolle describes in his book, The Power of Now, and wondered how much of my discomfort might be attached to this energetic feature of my being. Tolle contends there is an energy form of emotional pain accumulated from life experiences not faced and accepted in the moment they happened. These old emotions can be triggered and new painful situations occur. So, I'll continue to be the observer and life will reveal its mysteries when the time is right.

I visited a friend who has been in the hospital for a couple of weeks and past memories of family members struggling with similar health issues began to haunt me. I recognized my attachment to wanting everything to be "okay" and I let go. Thoughts trickled into my consciousness like water slowly dripping from an old faucet.

This quote from Siddhartha reminds me that I am okay. Everything is as it is supposed to be. More than that "everything that exists is good." I just need to come into the understanding that the universe doesn't make mistakes. The universe is perfect in each moment.

Everything truly is necessary and perhaps, it is only our limited perceptions that bring doubt and judgment. As I look back on my life, it is clear that everything has its place and its time. All is well.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Unfolding with Ease...

This year, I am determined to be more unproductive. My goal is to do less and less – to move slower and slower until everything stops. I and the whole world will come to a sweet and silent stillness. And in this stillness, a great shout of joy will arise. We will all be free – free from the advice of ancient ages, free from the whining voices, free from the incessant objections of the responsible ones. 

In this new world, it will be abundantly clear that the bare branches of the winter trees are our teachers. In their daily dance of moving here and there, we will see once again the true meaning of our life. In the wind song of their being, we will hear God’s unmistakable voice. We will follow what appears before us – what had once been difficult will now unfold with ease.
                                                                                     ~ Hakuin Ekaku

I have been struggling with myself for sometime now. Part of me wants to write, part of me just lets go into the flow of each day. I wonder... If I take time to write, I love what I experience and I think it has value. Yet if I move through my day, moment by moment, enjoying whatever arises, I love that. And I know it has value.

Each day there are thoughts and feelings merging from the stillness and they long for expression. I brush them aside, using precious moments for other things. Who is to say which is more valuable? How do I determine in what way to spend my allotted time?

My writers' group encourages me to take time each day to write. This discipline of setting a time to put words to paper or a computer screen. I know how discipline works; I practice Yoga everyday. I meditate. In fact, if I don't, something just doesn't feel right.  

I tried to set a specific time to write and it feels so rigid and artificially imposed. But I recieved an email from a writer friend who is suggesting I make a date with myself ~ a specific day and time and place to go. I like that idea. It seems I need to allow this desire to write to become a practice like my Yoga and this may be the way for it to evolve. 

Maybe I just do it all and let whatever is here in this moment be as it is. Could is possibly be as simple as that? To follow whatever arises and "what has once been difficult will now unfold with ease."