I’m on my yoga mat; my head is resting on my outstretched legs. It’s very quiet - except for the last drops of the morning rain bouncing off the roof. Melanie’s soothing voice is guiding me and the rest of our small group to surrender into a “Caterpillar” - a classic Yin Yoga pose. “Find your edge...just be present with the sensation. Keep breathing...”
My hamstrings feel like they haven’t been stretched for decades, but as the minutes go by I feel how they begin to open up. My whole body is relaxing. My mind is becoming calm and serene. I love Yin Yoga.
When the class ends, I walk silently out of the yoga hall, to put my mat away. Breakfast is waiting for us. I’m relaxed, energized, and very grateful to know that fresh fruits, cereals, yogurt, eggs, and tortillas are waiting for me in the dining hall.
“Resolving your own personal conflicts is the first step to ending global conflict.”
- Joseph Eliezer
I appreciate this thought, and would expand it to say that:
Healing the addiction to conflict that lives in my mind is the only thing that will heal the conflict, that seems to be going on, out in the world.
I’ve thought about this often in the last few years. Two things that have brought it into focus for me are recent school shootings and the rise of Donald Trump’s popularity as a political candidate in the United States.
When I first started hearing about school shootings, they were far from home. I recognized
A nickel for your thoughts...
I was listening to a local radio station recently when a DJ brought up the hot topic of the day: there had been a study done in Finland by a woman named Salli Antonnen, focusing on why people hated Nickelback so much.
Apparently the author of the study wanted to figure out the root cause of the mass popularity of this peanut-gallery phenomenon by researching over 14 years of music reviews, given worldwide, over the course of the band’s career. The conclusions to the author’s study was that:
“Nickelback is too much of everything to be enough of something. They follow genre expectations too well, which is seen as empty imitation, but also not well enough, which is
I was talking with a friend on the phone recently, and the topic of computers came up. She had mentioned how she was going through a period where there seemed to be always something wrong with it, and was surprised over how much emotion was arising as a result--with anger being the predominant expression. This frustration inspired many a nick-name for the electronic box, none of which would be considered flattering. After some laughs, she then asked me directly, “Why do we do this?” [referring to the personification and projection of anger towards objects], and “Where does it come from?”
And it got me thinking...of all the times I have cursed my malfunctioning electronics, forswearing buyers-allegiance to their line of product in favour of their competitive
"The willingness to trust and follow your heart - not the reactive ego that is often interpreted to be the heart, but the heart that longs to know God - this is a tell-tale sign of whether or not one is reaching maturity".
(from The Way of Mastery)
This quote reminds me of the importance of distinguishing between the guidance of the ego and the guidance of Inner Wisdom. A few years ago it became popular to speak of being "guided" to certain decisions or actions. As I listened to my own mind, and the minds of others, it began to seem as if there was often a hefty dose of self-delusion involved. I saw how easy it was to simply follow the dictates and compulsions of the ego, and to believe that I was following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is an aspect of the spiritualized ego.
Conversely, sometimes people have told me they asked for guidance and received it, but
Last November I realized how tired I was of my grievance-filled relationship with Christmas. For many years, feelings of resentment, anger and despair would begin to surface around November 1, right about when Christmas music started playing as I stood in line at Starbucks for my short dark roast.
The approach of Christmas has been a cue for me to find ways of spending as much time as possible alone, away from the frantic activity and busy-ness, a mini-retreat from it all. Which would have been a wonderful experience, except that such a spiritual sounding idea was based on so much ill-will! I realized, with a sense of shock, that I had the option to participate in the season, and to enjoy every moment of it, the same as every other day of the year. This was welcome but it left me with a large gap.
My work with Choose Again began three years ago in April of 2012. I arrived at the center filled with fear, feeling defeated by life, crippled with old habits and generally miserable. Mine was a case of all or nothing, I had to find a better way of thinking and being or there was not much point in going on.
I had spent 25 years desperately seeking fulfillment in external things, drugs and alcohol, food, money, relationships – everything to try and fill up a kind of dull empty, “missing” feeling. I treated everyone in my life as though it was their responsibility to make me happy,
It’s 3 am on the night before my first badminton match of the Beijing Olympics. I’ve tossed and turned for four hours now and still no closer to falling asleep. My roommate in this tiny room snores peacefully beside me, which does nothing but increase my anxiety.
I imagine my family, sleeping soundly I’m sure, crammed into the small Beijing apartment they’ve rented for the week. Halfway around the world they’ve come to cheer me on. I must not disappoint.
Relax. Relax. Relax, damn it- I tell myself. But I can’t, my mind is racing and I have no control of where it’s going. I’m paralyzed, fear is running this show.
Finally, as the sun begins to rise, my mind tires and I’m able to sleep a few precious hours. The alarm goes and my mind jumps out of its temporary slumber, skips the warm up and goes straight back to full speed ahead.
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