Learning to observe internal dramas amid challenges

Can we embrace the challenges?  Can we observe emotions as internal events rather than being taken for roller coaster rides through the impulsive reactions and decisions that result from getting swept away by our emotions?

The yogasana practice is the practice-lab that gives ample opportunities to learn to breathe through challenges and observe internal drama without letting it hijack your mind.

Once we have this resilience, the challenges in life will propel us into spiritual growth spurts rather than tear us up inside and set us back.

Here’s my challenge to you to try right now: hold chaturunga dandasana (the asana in the photo above) for 4 slow smooth breaths.

Start in plank, learn to chill out here, with hands directly beneath shoulders, heels above toes, the whole body straight as an arrow, bend the elbows as close to 90 degrees that you can hold and keep your slow smooth breathing going!  To modify if the low back is straining, release knees on the floor creating a straight line from crown of head to knees.

Enjoy the challenge and feel your emotional resilience grow!

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It’s pretty funny to see the most magnificent rainbow over a power plant.  

Is it a sign that one day nature will overcome even the most inconsiderate exploitations of the planet that supports our lives? 

“Lacking a voice, the animals’ and the Earth’s wellbeing must be preserved and protected by ethical beings who strive to care for Others, particularly those Others whose voices have not been heard” (Ontological Anarchism essay within Igniting a Revolution, page 88). <<<I highly recommend reading this book by the way.

All Spiritual Paths Include Environmentalism

Here are a couple quotes inspiring this post from Igniting a Revolution edited by Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella, IIMany of us are going about our daily business while a mass-extinction is happening.  While we mind our own business, we choose to remain blind to the thousands of species that are dying for the sake of profit and technological “advancement.”  

Is it too painful too look at our mistakes in order to change our self-destructive choices?  Is it too embarrassing to realize how long we’ve been abusing our Mother Earth?

It’s not too late to mourn the losses and then choose differently.  We can choose to protect those without a voice.  

In kindergarten we learned what self-centered is and how hurtful it can be, we need to apply this beyond human to human interactions to all Beings who have a right to be respected and protected.

Going to the roots of all spiritual paths, environmentalism is natural.  Our spiritual success is measured by realizing and acting on the fact that we aren’t the center of the universe.  Let’s honor our Source and honor the sacred nature of each other and the millions of species whom we’ve silenced.

Brahmacharya: seeing and treating everything as sacred, a yogic principle that could save us from the grief of being responsible for millions of deaths, the ruin of millions of homes as ocean levels rise.  We are one with all of creation, and beneath the illusion of separation, the joy or pain another experiences resonates within our own hearts.

Now is the time to rejoice in the decisions you make that protect all Beings and to change the decisions that you can’t rejoice in.  Brahmacharya is profound spiritual practice that will give you myriad reasons to celebrate.

Magic of Tapas

I wanted to say the magic happens when we practice our sadhana.

The truth is magic is happening all the time,  but we can’t see it unless we maintain the tapas, the fire of motivation and discipline of daily sadhana.  The hustle of our lives blurs our vision of reality; we walk around and interact with skewed perception of what’s objectively happening.

I found this sundog when I pulled my mat outside for my sadhana of asana and japa.  I never would have noticed it had I not laid down on my mat to begin my practice.

The magic is waiting for us to connect to it, the problem is that most of us don’t have the tapas to keep returning again and again, which is what it takes to see it.  Don’t expect to find it the first time you choose to show up, or even the 50th time.  It will reveal itself when you’re ready, in other words when you’ve been purified through your regular sadhana.

The Bhagavad Gita states, “Thus practicing constant control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist, his mind regulated, attains to the kingdom of God by cessation of material existence… 

He(She) who is regulated in his(/her)habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.” (6.15-6.18)

Where’s your Heart?

What good does our yoga, meditation, or prayers do if it’s not from the heart?  If it’s not for the wellbeing of all?  Each day reconnect to your intention: who are you serving?  What are you here to offer?

Begin each day with some stillness to connect to your Source.  I like to chant japa and meditate each morning before I do anything.  Start the day with your Self and your divine Source.  Yogi Bhajan says this switches us from operating from 20% empowered to 100% empowered.  Many people are disempowered, feeling victimized by circumstances that is their elementary destiny, the samkaras, or impressions, that we inherited from a past life.  But once we practice our sadhana, we’re at 100% empowered; we switched to applied destiny where our intention, divine will, and our mind and actions all align.  In other words we master our destiny.

When we are living in samskaras we are controlled by the impressions, which makes us vulnerable to fall prey to the ego.  Once we are living from sadhana, we live from the heart, with our Source in mind.  Then everything we do becomes a living offering.
If you want to read Yogi Bhajan’s lecture go to: https://www.3ho.org/events/summer-solstice-sadhana/yogi-bhajan-lecture-summer-solstice-1992

Why we should eat wild

Yesterday I picked all the dandelion blooms, just as I had done the day before.  Every May I make one gallon of dandelion wine, but yesterday I also was taught that you can fry the dandelions!  The taste kind of like a sweet vegetable and are packed with vitamin C, plus when you eat them, their hundreds of seeds aren’t maturing and growing more dandelions!  You all should try picking and frying or fermenting some! (Recipe listed below).

After I removed as much of the green parts from the dandelions as I could, my partner Murray and I walked down by the river to collect ramps, stinging nettle, and a big dryad’s saddle mushroom.

We evolved to forage: to have a wild variety of nutrients, we didn’t evolve to eat the same tortillas or bread, the same peanut butter and jam, etc.  Our movement t is the same, we didn’t evolve to be still most of the day and then choose one “exercise” and stick to that forever, but rather we evolved walking and climbing trees, squatting down to dig or pick things!  See my last blog post of the Liberated Body podcast with Katy Bowman.

Besides all of these personal health reasons,   we regain a deep and spiritual connection to our food, a realiszation of the miraculous and divine energy that this planet just gives to us, which in my own life has led me to ask, how can I use the divine’s energy to serve the divine?

We also could look at all of the environmental benefits such as reducing our carbon footprint by the reduction of fossil fuels to grow and ship that particular meal’s ingredients, or to pick them up at the store, the way that food is usually not grown harmoniously with nature, and so harvesting food in nature makes us a little more in line with the Tao or the Way, or in flow with the universe.  

Anyways happy foraging-and if you’re looking for that shelf mushroom, dryad’s saddle, it smells like watermelon rind and you just eat the edges.

Here’s the recipe link for fried dandelions: http://www.thedailyspud.com/2010/05/14/dandelions-just-eat-em/

Katy Bowman’s Move Your DNA 

Here’s the description for a podcast that you HAVE to listen to if you’re interested in health or movement: “Katy Bowman is a biomechanist and the founder of Nutritious Movement. She is the author of several books including Move Your DNA, Whole Body Barefoot, and her most recent collection of essays, Movement Matters. In today’s conversation we’re talking about the ecology of movement. How does your movement affect not just your health but also humans everywhere, even ones you’ve never met, and how does it affect the health of the planet as a whole? We discuss the real impact of our sedentarism and our drive for convenience, and how movement can be a very profound and impactful form of activism.”  Here’s the link: https://www.liberatedbody.com/podcast/katy-bowman-lbp-064

Liberated Body is an awesome podcast: I highly recommend subscribing!