The Adventure Continues

                                                     From Varanasi to New Delhi to Dehra Dun

 FullSizeRender (13)  

 I flew from New Delhi to Dehra Dun in an airplane that frankly I did not know was still in existence. I always thought that when you have big mountains to cross you better have a plane that can withstand being thrown around by the air pockets and wind currents. You get the drift of my flight into the foothills of the Himalayas. As if we weren’t getting tossed around enough I was totally unprepared for this small plane to pick up speed on its nose dive to touchdown AND gun it for the runway all the while sliding left to right.  I held on for dear life most of this trip. It wasn’t until we were a feet above the ground that all the turbulence just stopped. No wonder people suffer buses. I was so happy to be safely on the ground; that was……….

….until I got in the car the hotel sent to pick me up. At least in the air we were not dodging planes but on the ground there didn’t seem to be ANY lanes or any road space. It was more like wherever there is an opening, move in, never stop honking and keep going in the direction you want. Some of the things we westerners experience for the first time in India would have us thrown in jail, cost thousands of dollars to defend in our own countries and yet are considered normal standard practices here in India. Imagine if people in India were fined for littering? I’m not sure what the cows would eat! So everything has it’s place. Motorcycles don’t follow the same road protocol. They remind me of the Dr. Seuss characters in the book, ‘The Cat in the Hat’ going here, there and everywhere with whomever and whatever they can pile on and balance.  The road from the airport to the hotel was either under construction or typical of this area with concrete barriers springing up at the last minute that had to be dodged as well including the Holy Cows! Cows have the right away for anything and have one speed-BARELY!

FullSizeRender (25)

When we pulled up to the hotel, I wanted to tell the driver he should have been more mindful of the passenger but he got out of the car looking quite satisfied and not at all harried. I think the fact that we arrived safely at breakneck speed with little to no road available it was I who was suppose to be lavishing my praises on this driver for his superior skill. I was so happy to be ‘stopped’ and safely out of the car. The only problem looming was I would have to go back the same way I came!

Rishikesh! One word, HOT! Second word, CROWDED! Thankfully the hotel has air-conditioning. What a welcome I received. 5 staff to 1 of me including a welcome drink of some red flower juice, I think it was Rhododendron. They probably know all about the guests taxi ride and await in anticipation! The hotel owner is a delightful man, very informative and knew the area well. He spoke to me about the Ayurvedic Spa and consultations they had for whatever ailed me. Was there something I might be interested in? I couldn’t really think of anything ailing me but I thought they might have perhaps some ayurvedic valium or an equivalent that I could take with me for the return trip?

I listened keenly to the owner telling me about an elderly woman who came to the hotel for a vacation including use of the spa facilities when she actually ended up spending a good amount of time practicing meditation. In fact she did 2 full sessions every day under the guidance of this master practitioner. I read over the brochure fully and it spoke about the teachers’ 40 years of experience. He is addressed as ‘Swami’ and is part of the Osho Order.  I thought to myself,  “ok, why not, I’ll give it a try”. I decided to start the very next morning at 10 AM. I had just completed a 21 day Inner Awakening course, long days and late nights filled with intense energy processes with little sleep. I survived a stomach infection and a trip to the hospital in Varanasi travelling in a ‘tuk tuk’. Adventures come in all shapes and sizes.

I knew I would need some quiet time in Rishikesh and I wasn’t sure I wanted another daily schedule.  With so many coincidences happening on this trip I began to suspect I wasn’t the one making all these plans but was being nudged into agreeing with the ideas as they came to me and going along for the experiences I knew were bound to be pretty cool!  Keep celebrating!

Meditation follows Shivoham

 

FullSizeRender (22)

At 10 Am the next morning, I met my meditation teacher. He is Swami Prem Viren a Sanyas in the Osho order and an enlightened teacher. I thought I knew what meditation was but the experience was not what I was expecting. Osho has meditations that engage you in the process. It isn’t about sitting like a stone trying not to move or think, although that would help; not thinking. Meditation happens to you but the mind always feels like it has to “do” something. With music and movement it helps one to focus on something and let go into that and relaxation follows. It actually takes 45 minutes for the mind to NOT have any thoughts and If you are successful and have no thoughts after 45 minutes you will be enlightened. “No Mind”! Needless to say the hour really goes fast. And my mind ran with me the entire time so obviously I still have it or it has me?

What I was not expecting at all was the kundalini energy to activate during the meditation. It always leaves me feeling lifted up and out of myself-weightless! An enlightened being, one whose kundalini Shakti is fully alive can transfer the experience. Only from a lamp which is already lit can you catch the flame and only from someone whose Kundlini Shakti is fully alive, only from ‘That One’ the experience transmission can happen. I had my first experience of this in April 2012 attending my first Inner Awakening course with Sri Nithyananda Swamiji. The kundalini is the cosmic energy inside all of us coiled at the base of the spine represented symbolically as a serpent. The reproductive mechanism in both men and women can actually be reversed so   instead of this energy flowing “downward and outward” it can stream “inward and upward” causing amazing transformation in the cerebrospinal system leading to an explosion in consciousness leaving one with a sense of the infinite and immortal. It is an amazing experience. I had no idea this was what I would find and experience in Rishikesh but I knew this was exactly what I was suppose to be practicing and sitting with every single day-  “Yoga, meditation and satvik food, detoxing the body and mind in this space in the foothills of the Himalayas.” When it hits you between the eyeballs that you really are not the doer in your life, well, you don’t know what to do about that and you quit worrying ‘what to do’ and get on board with the flow of life.

Everyday gets better and better. I look forward to morning meditation. Even though I have always had problems sitting in a crossed legged position on the floor as mine tend to bend the other way, knees touching facing inward. This is how I sat as a child. It is absolutely excruciating to have to retrain the muscles as yoga postures express “outward”, open hips for the hip-hip hooray of life!

In the last seven years I have had to undo a lot of things I learned from childhood.  The moment my life turned to the East, I have been learning to let go of perfection and competition to be perfect. What fills that space now is RELIEF. Losing the awkwardness of feeling so awkward and uncomfortable in life because I can’t seem to reach “good enough” is what I have gained from going east. Whatever I have sacrificed along the way including giving up the security that routine and a life ‘on the grid’ offers, living a lifestyle my parents raised me to live has been worth the losses and the pain and the effort it has taken to not give up on my-self. These past many years have been an inward journey for me. It is not a place I can take someone with me. It is a space filled with spiritual gold that I wanted to understand. I find myself alone much of the time. It is a great adventure to learn the deeper truths of who I am and how “i” was formed. It has been the catalyst for me to gain a new perspective of the entire human family that we are each unique and express that in many ways. Life is an infinite creative process and when I remember this truth there can be no imperfection, no should have’s or if only. There is life happening, that’s all. The more layers that are removed from my conditioning the lighter I feel.

Everything in the universe is sound and light. Everything. Think of yourself as having access to the dimmer switch that controls your light. Actually, that’s really true. We are responsible for the shine of our light. We control the dimmer switch through experiences that begin with a thought that triggers a feeling and creates an emotional reaction that signals the chakras in such a way that either expands them or shrinks them. When we experience an imbalance in our energy system our light dims. Mind and body being one, disease is of the mind. The mind can heal us or kill us.

Meditation allows one the chance to drop it all. Drop the mind. “If you can do something with the breath you will suddenly turn to the present.” The music begins, the energy slowly moves in and begins to spread and starts filling up the space inside me. “If you can do something with breath you will attain to the source of life”. I begin to lose the heaviness, the thickness of body until it feels like I am sitting on a cloud and oh so peaceful. “If you can do something with breath, you can transcend time and space.” Who wouldn’t want to have this experience everyday? If you can do something with breath, you will be in the world and also beyond it.”

I use to think coffee was the best kick-start to my day! I loved the ritual of grinding the beans, inhaling the fresh smell and measuring out the perfect amount before pouring hot water over the coffee. I woke up for coffee. It has been more than 2 months since I have had coffee. I think about it sometimes but now I wake up for meditation and I wouldn’t trade my morning meditation for any artificial help.

“Meditation is an adventure into the unknown, the greatest adventure the human mind can take.

Meditation is just to be, not doing anything- no action, no thought, no emotion. You just are and it’s a sheer delight.

From where does this delight come when you are not doing anything?

It comes from nowhere, or it comes from everywhere. It is uncaused because existence is made of the stuff called joy.”

~from Osho, “Meditation”, The first and Last Freedom.

 

 

Celebrate Life

FullSizeRender (15)
Dewa Hotel in Rishikesh Facing the Himalayas

Greetings to all my friends. I have taken a long break from my weekly blogging and newsletter and it feels good to be back. I am writing from Rishikesh India from a beautiful setting, an ayurvedic spa and boutique hotel in the Himalayas, with the Ganges river just below me and to the right of  my balcony, the Patanjali yoga foundation. I am in awe. This is one of the most spiritually alive communities with more people in orange, the color of Swami’s and Sanyasi’s than any other. This vibrant space is an energetic powerhouse for transformation if you so choose. It is however just as easy to get caught up in the activity from the streets thronging with cows, fruit stands, clothes ware, deities and puja items, ice cream vendors and restaurants.  Rishikesh is known for its Ashrams, Yoga schools and teacher training centers. It is a very colorful, lively and friendly town. I decided to come here after 21 days of an intense Inner Awakening program in Varanasi to give the energy processes I experienced time to settle down in me. And I wanted to just chill out. So here I am with no expectations and not sure what to do.  I decided at the very least I would have a great adventure.

It all began in Varanasi.

On the last day of Inner Awakening, Varanasi, I silently asked my Guru for one word that would be a catchword for this entire course that I could remember and embody and  that would bring me back to the space that was created ‘here’ – in Varanasi.  It is one thing to participate in a spiritual course and feel so connected and then you go back home and your focus changes and you are not feeling the space that you experienced  halfway across the world. When we go back to our lives and the familiarity of routine, we may find ourselves slowly questioning whether anything has changed.  We are back in our old life with the same thoughts, people, conditioning and reactions.  Our minds have a way of distracting us and pulling our attention away from new experiences and ideas, resources, connections and new friends that really resonated with us and clicked.  For me, my wish came true on the last day of Inner Awakening when Swami said: “if I can leave you with one thing to take home from these 21 days it is to “Celebrate Shivoham”. That’s it!  That’s my catchword! “Celebrate”. I immediately thought, “just celebrate life wherever you are, wherever you go, carry that Mahadeva consciousness no matter what is happening outside.  “Click”! ‘Celebrate’! For me, celebrating is not just about the bustle on the outside, its about the explosive joyful feelings inside and being connected to life from that space.

What is Mahadeva consciousness. Spiritual traditions may use different forms and names for different concepts but that may resonate with other spiritualities so that both point to the ultimate truth.

In the Hindu Spiritual Tradition Lord Shiva  is the ”undying soul seated in the chambers of your heart, who is your in-dweller, your innermost self or ‘Atman’ and who is identical with the supreme ‘Brahman’, or God”. Lord Shiva, is also known as the destroyer of the ego through the shedding of old habits and material attachments. 

Most of us will describe who we are from the small “i”- an identity born from our root patterns and conditionings-ideas about ourself, who we believe ourself to be according to our  personality traits- our families and our history. The mind and the ego are part of this identity.

The highest truth of who we are is “Consciousness” the big “I”. Consciousness is both formless and form expressing as you and I and all content in time and space. It is eternal, alive and present forever. The first time I heard this idea was from a book written by Harry Palmer called “Avatar”. It was many years ago but I have never forgotten. The Hindu deity who expresses this purity of Consciousness within us is Mahadeva(an aspect of Shiva). This “I” is our peak potential for which the purpose of birth is taken. To be liberated from the small “i” and to awaken to our Divine self that is at the heart of our existence. 

 

FullSizeRender (16)
Early Morning on the Ganges in Varanasi India

The last morning in Varanasi, thanks to a 3:30 am wake up call four of us left the hotel by taxi to visit Maa Ganga, Goddess of the most holy river in India and Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi’s cremation ghat. We did not want to leave without seeing this oldest and most sacred Ghat. It is said that if you die in Varanasi you will be liberated. No more Births. So in pitch black our taxi drove us to a meeting point just before the Ganga where our guide met us and we would go by foot from there. We were very close so the walk was not too far. The entire waterfront was filled with men and women  bathing before the sunrise. This is a very sacred and auspicious ritual, not to mention extraordinarily colorful with beautiful music. We hired a boat and were rowed up the Ganges River. During this time we had a chance to offer Aarthi to Maa Ganga. It is a ritual of devotion using fire as an offering. We bought the candles and flowers from a water taxi selling various puja (devotional) items. Yes, even on the Ganges one can find floating shops with items for sale.

It was not too long after this we saw from the water the burning fires. It is said the fires have been lit continuously for 2,000 years. There was one body waiting for the cremation. Usually when the bodies are taken there is a waiting period and some ritual to be done before they can be cremated.

FullSizeRender-5
In Sanskrit, Linga means a ‘mark’ or a symbol, which points to an inference. Thus the Shiva Linga is a symbol of Lord Shiva – a mark that reminds of the Omnipotent Lord, which is formless.

After our tour by water we were dropped off at a place in town to get out and walk a little. We followed a path behind the buildings where the narrow alleyways are teeming with people, cows, sadhus, shrines to shiva lingas and all kinds of exotic smells. We actually sat down with a purveyor of fine silks in his “store” or perhaps it was some room in his house, which meant sitting on rugs with chai tea, oohing and aahing over beautiful woven designs. Eventually we left to come back to the hotel but not before passing a line of sadhus who sit along the concrete paths and ask for food or a little money. Their eyes are radiating and shining with such depth you wonder what they see and really know. One of them caught my eye. We both stared at each other and within seconds he threw his hands in the air and declared to me “Mahadeva”!  I smiled right back looking in his eyes, threw my arms in the air and declared “Mahadeva”, because that is the space I was given in “Shivoham, Inner Awakening Varanasi” and he saw it. That was the highlight of my trip and confirmation that it is possible to re-align our inner space that changes our vibration and energy to hold and express from higher consciousness.

I left Varanasi in high spirits ready to find my way to the Himalayas and see what secrets I might uncover there. As much as I tried to pre-plan, it all changed within days of my departure and so I let it unravel and watched it all unfold in the present moments without my interference.

 

 

A Change of Heart

morpho-butterfly-in-flight-costa-rica-pictures

 

It has been one week since my husband had open heart surgery, specifically- triple by pass. From the moment he was assigned his room on the 5th floor cardiology until this moment  life has done a 360. Let me refer back to the year 2012 as the year of the shift, the year which initiated awareness of change as the law of of life. I am quite sure everyone has had to deal with a major theme in their life that changed the course of their path, actions or heart in some way.  The practice of living change, not resisting each moment, daily, is radical, not always comfortable as it requires trusting and letting go. Psychologically, our identities are all wrapped up in the structures we place around us that give us a feeling of being-somebody, ownership, indispensable, control of and permanent . Death is not part of the inventory our identities readily acknowledge. Yet it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do or how many assets you have, when illness hits and your life is turbo boosted into the hands of another human being who is qualified for whatever you need to extend and or save your life. Initially we tend to clamp down. Fear and resistance  are common reactions when change is not initiated by something we decided first.

It was here on the fifth floor that many hearts began to experience a change of space. I noticed the fear acted out by  loved ones in taking control of decisions, loosen and morph into care and concern taking responsibility for details which alleviated their own worry and eased a Fathers burden. I witnessed for the first time consideration, kindness and gentleness as it overrode pride and resistance. I  witnessed  the impact each persons space played out in the relationship. At the hour when when one’s life hangs in the balance it all becomes trivial enough to be forgotten and forgiven and transformed, becomes the catalyst that transmutes anger, stubbornness and fear. When Jesus said “know thyself” he meant for all of us to know what life really is, what meanings we assign to it, how we perceive others and what filters we look through that determine how we make choices. Perception is human, knowledge is divine. When we allow our hearts to relax and our minds to unclutch, we grow and thrive on sacred ground.

AND….MEANWHILE……AT THE SAME TIME……HOBBLING FORWARD OR NOT……

images-19

In conjuction with everything that was happening for my husband, I had a chance to see  my own beliefs, thoughts and fears in a scenario that reaffirmed everything I KNOW and counsel others to help alleviate suffering and conflict. Early one morning while still at the hospital, I decided to visit the emergency room to have my knee checked out which I had previously fallen on ‘only’ three times;  the last fall happening here at the hospital day 1. X rays showed 2 possibilities, one of which looked like a fracture. I was given a full leg splint and crutches and an appointment to come back for a cat scan. Hobbling out of emergency I went promptly to my car to stow the splint and one crutch as I needed some normal mobility under the circumstances I was facing on fifth floor. Walking back with one crutch under my left arm so as not to put too much pressure on my right leg  I see a man coming down the ramp from the hospital on crutches as he has one full leg and the other leg amputated just below the knee where my own problem was occurring. I thought to myself, “God you must be joking”. I have been here a full week and have not seen ONE person on crutches let alone one with the same leg injured in  the same place as mine. In Hinduism it is believed that all life is a leela, a play and we are the characters. Shakespeare said, “all the worlds a stage and all the men and women are but actors and actresses, they have their entrances and exits…” so play your part well! What else could this be? As I now reached the hospital entrance and just inside the doors a young girl is walking towards me on crutches. From this point on, it seemed like everyone I saw was on crutches with various injuries.The point was made and well taken. My thoughts are images I have made. Whatever I see reflects my thoughts. You have probably heard the saying before that where we focus energy follows. The truth is all thoughts have power and cannot be without effect. The good news is we can change our thoughts to change our state of mind that creates a change in our hearts and brings us peace. We are all saviors in our own right. When we free ourself from fears, judgments and expectations we set all people free.

 

 

Love – Forgiveness – Completion

 

 images

                                                     Love Is! The rainbow after the thunderstorm.

 

Love is! It can not be grasped with words and mental concepts. It simply arises from an open heart. Love is an inside job and has nothing to do with anyone else. It comes from your own consciousness, from your own willingness to think loving thoughts and experience loving feelings; to act in love trusting and love inspired ways. Love is within your own heart. It is the only gift you can give yourself. Love does not try to fix or change others but accepts, affirms, reaches out, befriends and empowers others to find their own truth.


violet-flower-13

                        Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that crushed it. 

Forgiveness simply means that what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. Since we are all responsible for our scripts we are responsible for all the meanings we create and project. By forgiving it in another, what I am in effect doing is forgiving it in myself. The world is a mirror for everything. A projection of our minds. We don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are. Forgiveness is being able to look within and own the truth inside us and release the world from the thoughts and beliefs in our own minds, our guilt, self hatred, self denial and self doubt. Forgiveness is for those who are confident enough to stand on their own two legs and move on. In order to move on, you must know why you felt the way you did, and why you no longer need to feel that way. It’s about accepting yourself, accepting the past and letting it be and pushing your spirit forward with good intentions. Nothing empowers your ability to heal and grow as much as your love and forgiveness.

 

wholeness

                                                     Completion fosters peace! 

Completion is a state of wholeness. In a state of completion there is nothing from the past  impacting one’s life in the present moment. The context you make choices from is integrated and authentic which constitutes a powerful space. Our lives are a function of the space we individually carry for ‘it-life’ to show up inside of.  This makes us the source of and therefore responsible for all the happenings in and around us. The foundation for achieving ‘completion’ or ‘wholeness’ in every area of our life is based on having the right cognition or understanding about our past. Choosing authentically those thoughts and actions that align with our greatest capacity and capability is fulfilling and enriching while allowing for  spontaneous ‘self’ expression .  The decision made out of completion fulfills you and becomes reality in you. Decisions that are made from completion is the basis of conscious growth. Our success in life, our focus and point of attraction, mental health, physical health, psychological health and spiritual well being are all impacted by us being whole and alive, spontaneous, complete and liberated from past conflicting emotional charges. When we live from the truth of our empowered wholeness, we naturally radiate clarity, power and strength. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Love Who You Are

images-45

I recently wrote a short article on aligning our inner and outer worlds and how the brain wires pathways from sensory data and experiences. The outer environment actually programs our brain. Life can begin to feel like ‘here we  go loop-di-do, here we go loop-di-da’! On the one hand with such serious scientific data it feels like we are nothing but a programed microchip. That certainly might feel true for some.  Living at the level of one’s personality, the programs and patterns and learned behaviors can leave one feeling like their life is a continuous rerun. From the minute we wake up, automatic pilot goes on, senses activate, neuronal wires light up reinforcing the patterns inside us- this is what makes up our inner space.  “Oh no, not this again, I just went through the very same thing last week!” or “Why does this always happen to me?”. You might begin to hear yourself thinking, “this is nuts,there has to be something more”. And you would be right. I hit that ‘something-more’ wall in my late thirties not knowing what that something was so I changed the people in my life and my lifestyle thinking that would fix the problem. I found something ‘better’. Years later, ‘something better’ didn’t feel quite right either. This time I sat down beside the wall and looked at my story and eventually it showed me a side of myself and my life I had not been aware of until then.

I decided to learn how to channel for messages to see what I needed to do to heal my life and get on the right track.  I tried it one time and that was the extent of that. I heard a quick short impersonal message that said, “learning to love who you are”. It sounds so obvious doesnt it? Like I made it up! Truthfully though, I didn’t have a clue what loving myself meant. Every day I fell apart a little more not knowing who I really was until I accepted that I was out of my own ideas  and the real work began.

I believe everyone wants to have a life free of conflict and suffering. But I am not so sure many believe it is possible to live beyond the circumstances and conditions of ones life to attain this state of peace and presence.  How is it possible for any individual to have peace or find meaning when there are so many “things” that come up personally and collectively on a daily basis in fact and constantly challenge us in one way or another? Our minds are bombarded. I think it would be fair to say many of us have mental overload. Thinking our way out of suffering or using positive affirmations only sit on top of the memories and experiences that are stored in the bio-memory. Nothing really changes except we are a little smarter or more knowledgable and maybe we feel a little better about ourself until the next time. The mind is not the test for what is true but your body will always give you a truthful reflection.

images-35

Every Morning when I first wake up I do a meditation practice called Nithya Dhyaan Yoga. It is a sound technology created by Paramahamsa Sri Nithyananda, my teacher and Guru in India, to reproduce the experience of enlightenment in others. The essence of the entire inner world research he has done to date is formulated in this meditation technique. Each of the chakras is associated with a particular emotion. Lust, fear, worry, attention-need, jealousy, ego and discontent. Currently man only thinks and moves according to his emotions. There is nothing wrong with being driven by emotions but we should also experience the other higher dimensions like love as well. It is possible to function out of sheer energy not just out of emotions. Emotions impact our state of mind. With chaotic breathing, the first step in this dynamic yoga meditation we start releasing tension in the muscles and engraved memory patterns start getting expelled along with suppressed emotions.  We are released from the mental set-up of these emotions. Whatever identity your personality is now standing on, that idea will just melt and you will experience a new energy altogether. When our perspective has changed, we shift our energy center and start gathering like minded people around us. We can change the world we see.

Look in! Bliss is our essence. Happy for no reason does not depend on anything outside of us. Our power, possibility and potential depends on the patterns we are standing on or the authenticity and integrity we are living from. How we feel about ourself and who we believe ourself to be for ourself  will always determine how we see the world AND how we feel about others AND how life responds to US.  When our inner world aligns with our outer world we are Complete or Whole, there are no holes in our Whole; the energy flowing is pure, we radiate truth and our essence expresses as Love- Bliss.