Friday, November 1, 2013

What's Wrong with the World?

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.” ― Marianne Williamson

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life

Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal, for the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever....
Alan Watts


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri Mantra is one of the most known and beneficial of the ancient Sanskrit mantras. Gayatri is a mantra of physical, emotional, and mental healing, purifying the subtle karmas, protection from the onslaught of obstacles, and of spiritual awakening or Self-realization.

The beautiful and soothing ancient sounds, the flowing rhythmic patterns, and the powerful intent make the Gayatri Mantra a wonderful part of one’s daily spiritual practice. Because it is an earnest and heartfelt appeal to the Supreme Being for enlightenment, it can be universally applied.  It really doesn’t matter what your religion, your color or your ethnicity is – what matters is your intent, and your authenticity, and your willingness to be moved.

The Vedas are widely considered to be the source of all true knowledge, the word "Veda" itself meaning "Knowledge". Gayatri Devi also gave to mankind the "Gayatri Mantra", also known as the "Guru Mantra" or the "Savitri Mantra". It is one of the oldest mantras, and generally thought of as being amongst the highest and most powerful mantras of all.

The ancient Hindu scriptures describe how the sage Vishwamitra was given the Gayatri mantra by the Supreme Being as a reward for his many years of deep penance and meditation. This was to be a gift for all humanity.

It is said that this sacred prayer spirals through the entire universe from the heart of the chanter, appealing for peace and divine wisdom for all.

The Gayatri Mantra inspires wisdom in us. In very basic but beautiful language, it says "May the divine light of the Supreme Being illuminate our intellect, to lead us along a path of righteousness". 

The Vedas say:
To chant the Gayatri Mantra
purifies the chanter.
To listen to the Gayatri Mantra
purifies the listener.

But the mantra does more. It opens up your heart. And how well we know, when both our minds and our hearts open, we open ourselves up for new possibilities.

For many devout Hindus, the Gayatri is seen as a Divine awakening of the individual mind and the individual soul – Atman -- and within it, a way to Union with the collective consciousness - Brahman. Understanding and simply loving the essence of the Gayatri Mantra is considered by many to be one of the most powerful ways to touching God.


One interpretation is that the word Gayatri is derived from the words:
  • gaya, meaning “vital energies” and
  • trâyate, meaning “preserves, protects, gives deliverance, grants liberation”. 
So, the two words "Gayatri Mantra" might be translated as “a prayer of praise that awakens the vital energies and gives liberation and deliverance from ignorance”.

By chanting this mantra, Divine spiritual light and power is infused in each of our seven chakras and connects them to these seven great spiritual realms of existence.


Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah 
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat

On the absolute reality and its plane,
On that finest spiritual light,
We meditate, as remover of obstacles
That it may inspire and enlighten us.


The ideal times for chanting the mantra are three times a day - at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas - morning, mid-day and evening. The maximum benefit of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Heavy or Light?

How do I know in which direction to go when I am at a cross-roads in life?

This is a way you can use your feelings to guide you. Look at your options and ask yourself if it makes you feel lighter or if it makes you feel heavier. I’m sure you have used the term “to be weighted down” or “it’s like a weight lifted off my shoulders” and in a way this is what I am referring to.

Bring the thought of what you wish to do your mind and look to the feeling that it brings. Feel its weight – if it makes you feel light, then it is right. – Kate Filmer


Monday, October 28, 2013

Yoga for You

“Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better your practice, the brighter the flame.”

The primary aim of yoga is to restore the mind to simplicity and peace, to free it from confusion and distress. This sense of calm comes from the practice of yogic asanas and pranayama. Unlike other forms of exercise which strain muscles and bones, yoga gently rejuvenates the body. By restoring the body, yoga frees the mind from the negative feelings caused by the fast pace of modern life. The practice of yoga fills up the reservoirs of hope and optimism within you. It helps you to overcome all obstacles on the path to perfect health and spiritual contentment. It is a rebirth. - B. K. S. Iyengar



Sunday, October 27, 2013

Love

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness, and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare. - Brené Brown




Saturday, October 26, 2013

Power Of Words


"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny." Frank Outlaw


Friday, October 25, 2013

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” ― Dalai Lama


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reflections

“The sun shines down, and its image reflects in a thousand different pots filled with water. The reflections are many, but they are each reflecting the same sun. Similarly, when we come to know who we truly are, we will see ourselves in all people.” - Amma


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sunflower

The Message of the Sunflowers: 
A Magic Symbol of Peace by Georgianna Moore

Dedicated to 
The Children of the World Who Will Sow the Sunflower Seeds of Peace

Once upon a time the earth was even more beautiful than it is today. The water was pure and deep, reflecting within itself the sunlight which gave life to all the creatures beneath the waves.

The earth was green with many kinds of trees and plants. These gave food and shelter to the birds, the animals, and to all mankind. At night the air was so clear that the starlight gave a glow almost as bright as the moon.

The people of the earth lived close to nature. They understood it and honored it and never took more than what they needed from it. The people lived in peace so they prospered and began to build many nations all around the world according to nature's climate.

But one day, a terrible thing happened. A strange spirit of greed entered the hearts of mankind. People began to be jealous of one another, and they were not satisfied will all the good things they already had. The nations wanted more and more of everything: more land, more water, more resources. They squeezed precious minerals from the earth to build terrible weapons to defend their nations from other greedier nations. They killed one another. They polluted the air and the water with poisons. Nature began to die. This is called war. War is ugly. It destroys love and hope and peace.
Then one day a magical thing occurred. The birds of the air, the animals of the land, and the creatures beneath the waters came to an agreement: if they were to survive, something would have to be done to stop these wars. Only through peace could their world survive.

We cannot speak the human language, they declared, and mankind 
can no longer understand ours. We must find among us a symbol of peace so brilliant that all who see it will stop and remember that peace and sharing are beautiful.

I am what you need, said a golden sunflower. I am tall and bright. My leaves are food for the animals, my yellow petals can turn plain cloth to gold, my seeds are many and are used for food by all living beings. Yet, the seeds I drop upon the ground can take root and I will grow again and again. I can be your symbol of peace.



All nature rejoiced, and it was decided that the birds would each take one sunflower seed and that they would fly over every nation and plant the seed in the earth as a gift. The seeds took root and grew, and the sunflowers multiplied.

Wherever the sunflowers grew, there seemed to be a special golden glow in the air. The people could not ignore such a magical sight.

Soon they began to understand the message of the sunflowers so they decided to destroy all of their terrible weapons and to put an end to the greed and to the fear of war. They chose the sunflower as a symbol of peace and new life for all the world to recognize and understand.

A ceremony was celebrated by planting a whole field of sunflowers. Artists painted pictures of the sunflowers, writers wrote about them, and the people of the world were asked to plant more sunflowers seeds as a symbol of remembrance.

All nature rejoiced once more as the golden sunflowers stood tall with their faces turned eastward to the rising sun, then following the sun until the setting in the west.

They gave their goodness to the world so that everyone who sees a sunflower will know that the golden light of peace is beautiful.

Sunflowers have become the symbol of a world free of nuclear weapons. After Ukraine gave up its last nuclear warhead, the Defense Ministers of the US, Russia and Ukraine met on a former Ukrainian missile base, June 4, 1996. They celebrated by scattering sunflower seeds and planting sunflowers. Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry said, Sunflowers instead of missiles in the soil will ensure peace for future generations.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sitting asanas

Sitting and meditation postures are generally calming nurturing, although some produce significant opening of the hip and require greater effort. They promote vitality when practiced with proper alignment of the spine and pelvis. They improve circulation, reduce fatigue, center the mind, and soothe the nervous system. Sitting and meditation poses can be done at any time. Meditation poses should be practiced daily with asana practice.

All sitting asanas bring elasticity to the hips, knees, ankles, and muscles of the groin. These poses remove tension and hardness in the diaphragm and throat, making breathing smoother and easier. They keep the spine steady, pacifying the mind and stretching the muscles of the heart. Blood circulation increases to all parts of the body.

Forward bends tone the abdominal organs and calm the nervous system. They counter the ill effects of stress. Folding yourself in a forward bend takes the mind to a more receptive and intuitive state. Then you can listen to your heart. With a quite mind, being fully supported by the floor during seated postures allows you to explore how you yield to a posture. Rather than force it, why not let yourself release into these postures?

Don't just do something - sit there! 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Real Yoga - Being Completely Here And Now



“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.” ― Alan Wilson Watts


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Feel

"You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.” - Johnny Depp.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mindfulness and Healing



“Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path exactly where you are meant to be right now. And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing, of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.” ~ by Caroline Adams


Friday, October 18, 2013

Ubuntu

An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So he decided to play a little game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree.

Then he called the children and suggested they play the game. When the anthropologist said “now”, the children had to run to the tree and the first one to get there could have all the candy to him/herself.

So the children all lined up waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now”, all of the children took each other by the hand ran together towards the tree. They all arrived at the same time divided up the candy, sat down and began to happily munch away.
The anthropologist went over to them and asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had the candy all to themselves.

The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?”

Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”

Bishop Desmond Tutu gave this explanation in 2008:

“One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.”

This is the true spirit of human development and cause of human evolution. Ubuntu. Once again, we are proud to say Ubuntu, I am what I am because of who we all are. This is not a story as such, but a feeling to be expressed.




Aparigraha is a sanskrit word which has been translated as “non-hoarding” or “non-possessiveness”. It is a principle widely promoted in Ayurveda and Yoga for right living.

Ayurveda promotes inter -connectedness, sharing and the health of everyone and the planet as a whole.

Eating and sharing your food is one way to take part in this inter-connectedness. Be kind and offer your food to guests or your family first. If you are eating alone, offer your food first to God, Mother Divine or your Spirit within.

Appreciate the food that you have and give thanks to those who harvested, prepared and served your food – even if that person is you. Also, give thanks to our planet for providing food for us.

Don’t take more than you need and always keep in the back of your mind that your goods, especially your food is meant to be shared and enjoyed by all.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Alternate nostril breathing

Yogis believe that each nostril is connected to a Nadi, which in Sanskrit literally translates to the word river, or flow. These channels are not nerves as we may imagine them in a gross sense, but far more subtle conduits of pranic energy that intersect at the chakras which lie along the length of the spine. Each nostril corresponds to a dominant activity that takes place in the opposite hemisphere of the brain.

Left Nostril : Ida Nadi, Left side of the body, Right Brain dominance, the feminine and creative principle.

The breath that is drawn in through the left nostril is known as Ida, the lunar channel.  It runs energetically down the left side of the spinal cord, and impacts the right hemisphere of the brain.  It is symbolically represented by the moon, and by the feminine aspect of energy known as Shakti.  Left nostril dominant breathing activates the Parasympathetic nervous system, the state that you enter during a great relaxing savasana or restorative portion of your yoga practice, or any activates where you find yourself in an effortless state of creative flow.

Right Nostril: Pingala Nadi, Right side of the body, Left Brain dominance, the masculine and analytical principle.

The right nostril breath is known as Pingala, and is the solar channel.  Not surprisingly this breath is heating in nature, and is associated with masculine energy through the archetype of Shiva.  When we draw breath in the through the right nostril, or more accurately when the breath is dominant through this channel it activates our left hemisphere of our brain.  This is the part of our brain which is associated with our Sympathetic Nervous System  – that elevated state of stress, or the ‘fight or flight response’ – a throwback from our primitive ancestors as a way of keeping us alive, and out of immediate danger.  The left hemisphere of the brain is more analytical in nature.

As you can well imagine, we have an incredible opportunity to develop an awareness of this in our yoga practice.  One of the most simple ways to start to become accustomed to this is to close one nostril, and check to see which one is dominant at varying times of the day.  When we are involved in activities such as art, dancing, and relaxation, it is almost certain that our left nostril is drawing in more oxygen than our right, thus activating our right hemisphere of our brain.  When we are crunching numbers, making strategic business decisions, or in times of elevated stress, our right nostrils will be dominant, thus activating our left hemisphere of our brains.  The yogis observed that the dominance of each nostril fluctuates often during the day according to the activities that we are undertaking.  Too much prana in the right nostril, may well be responsible for a noticeable decline in your creativity, and too much prana in the left nostril, may be the cause of a lack of concentration for more analytical tasks.

The ancient Indian yogis believe many diseases are connected to disturbed nasal breathing. A simple and effective technique for balancing the breath is through alternate nostril breathing.

Our noses are clever and directly link to the brain. Nadhi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing works to balance the inhale and exhale and importantly to balance the brain which allows us to access the nervous system. 

As well as using this technique to create balance, the opposite can be applied for certain situations.  Single nostril breathing can be used to activate one side of the brain. Exam preparation and high pressure environments require the left brain, encouraged by the right nostril and creative endeavours require the right brain,

Alternate nostril breathing:

  • Balances right and left brain hemispheres which balances creativity with logic, introversion with extroversion, masculine with feminine
  • Purifies blood of toxins and carbon dioxide
  • Induces tranquility, clarity of thought and concentration
  • Reduces stress, anxiety and headaches
  • Alleviates headaches and fatigue
  • Restores equilibrium

Those with blocked nostrils, colds and flu are advised to wait until the sinuses have cleared. Be mindful of any injury/tightness to the left shoulder, you may prefer to use the right hand. 

Alternative Nostril Breathing creates a relaxed, harmonious feeling, as it balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Practice before bed or when tense.

Breath: Sit in Easy Pose. Your left hand is in Gyan Mudra on your left knee.
Close your eyes and focus at your 3rd Eye. Breathe relaxed, deep, and full, as you practice the following sequence, for 3-5 minutes.

Inhale through the left nostril - Close your right nostril with your right thumb
Exhale through your right nostril - Close your left nostril with your right index or ring finger
Inhale through your right nostril - Close your left nostril with your right index or ring finger
Exhale through your left nostril - Close your right nostril with your thumb

“When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Heart



Life takes us far apart, to many places and many ways of being. Love brings us together again, realizing we never actually left. Distance is an illusion made true by those who believe it. The heart knows no distance, time, space, lack...it's language is love. And love is limitless.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Random acts of kindness

“If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” - William Penn

Don’t ever underestimate the power of kindness. "Random acts of kindness" may just be a slogan, but it has caught on all around the country and world for a reason. Doing lovely things for others for no reason has so many rewards. In an instant, the best of our humanity and heart comes forward. Acts of kindness connect our heart to the heart of another person and create bridges over which our love can flow.






Monday, October 14, 2013

Balance

Balancing postures require a great deal of focus, strength, and stamina. They develop poise, agility, coordination, and concentration. They require you to draw into your core muscles and thus, your inner awareness. They are strengthening poses in which muscle tone is created and precise alignment is essential. Regular practice of the balancing postures helps you develop increased control over your body.

Being out of balance is a huge source of stress and tends to create problems. Finding your balance in a yoga pose lets you practice re-balancing the rest of your life. Balancing postures develop self-sufficiency and give you confidence.

Arm balances, where your arms support the weight of your body, develop strength. As your upper body grows stronger, neck and shoulder tension tends to get dissipated. Balance poses increase stamina and unite the mind and body, which are encouraged to work together to hold you in place.

"Yoga is the study of balance, and balance is the aim of all living creatures: it is our home." - Rolf Gates


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The power of vulnerability


“Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades bumps and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. And have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect nothing is and no one is — and that’s OK.” - Katie Couric

Friday, October 11, 2013

Without music, life is a journey through a desert.


Condensed from Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, by Alan Weisman

World Bank president Felipe Herrara told of a tiny Indian village near Bolivia's Lake Titicaca, where he'd gone on a feasibility study for a proposed hydroelectric dam. Upon completing the visit, his team realized they hadn't used up their travel budget. Since the village lacked everything, they assembled the local chiefs and explained they had some money left. In gratitude for hospitality and assistance, they'd like to give it to the community as a gift. "What project would you like us to fund here in the name of the Bank?"
The Indian elders went off to discuss the offer. In just five minutes they returned.
"We know what we want to do with the money."
"Excellent. Whatever you want."
"We need new musical instruments for our band."
"Maybe," replied the Bank spokesman, "you didn't understand. What you need here are improvements like electricity. Running water. Sewers. Telephone and telegraph."

But the Indians had understood perfectly. "In our village," the eldest explained, "everyone plays a musical instrument. On Sundays after Mass, we all gather for la retreta, a concert in the church patio. First we make music together. After that, we can talk about problems in our community and how to resolve them. But our instruments are old and falling apart. Without music, so will we."


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Backbends

With a little practice, backbending can be one of the most therapuetic parts of yoga. Several studies show how backbends can stimulate the central nervous system, boost the immune system, helps counteract damage of bad posture by realigning the spine, relieves back pain, bronchial distress, scoliotic deformities, tennis elbow and frozen shoulder, to name a few. Aside from the tremendous physical benefits, there are also psychological and emotional benefits of backbending. They can help shift energy leaving the mind more clear and focused and they can help open the heart chakra and emotional center.

Backbends warm the system, increase energy, and invigorate us. They bring flexibility to our central axis of support and strengthen weak back muscles. Backbends counterpart the forward bending that dominates the day for many of us - sitting, driving, housework, and working at a desk. Back bends increase determination and willpower. Extending backward into the unknown helps you to confront your fears when life presents you with an unknown quantity. Backbends open the chest, do they are uplifting. Opening the chest promotes better breathing and the heart center expands to bring a joyful vitality into your life. 

Yoga Master B.K.S. Iyengar recommended backbending as a cure for depression. He further advised that backbends be used as a holistic alternative for heart patients. Because backbends stretch the heart, they relieve tensions stored in the muscles and help send off natural pain-killers. They may also cure depression and boost the immune system.

Backbends are rejuvenating, strengthening, and awakening. They are most effective at opening the upper back, chest, shoulders, and front groin, and increasing spinal flexibility. Backbends release held emotional energy better than any other class of asanas. They keep the spine supple while developing strength in the back, legs, and shoulders. Backbends should not be practiced close to the time for sleep as they are heating and invigorating. They should be followed be a series of cooling poses such as twist or forward bends to allow the spine to realign. 

Backbending often brings up strong emotions when you first begin to practice it more regularly and go deeper. It often does not really matter whether you are flexible or stiff in your spine if you are unfamiliar with the strength, stamina and flexibility needed for most backbending movements. It takes lots of practice before you will feel confident about integrating a full backbend sequence into your daily practice. Healthy technique and anatomical awareness is crucial to the longterm practice of backbends. Be aware that when learning how to safely bend your back you may experience rational and irrational emotions. Sometimes the most flexible people have the most troubling emotions arising when they start practicing backbends.

One of the deepest lessons in the yoga practice is about bringing the energy up the spine and cleansing the nervous system. Backbends thrust your full life force up through this central channel and burn through blockages along the way. When one of these blockages gets triggered it really does not matter whether you are doing a deep backbend or a beginner backbend because the emotional state that gets triggered is really of paramount importance. When things are difficult, scary and emotional it is hard to remain clam, breathe and think clearly.

Whether you feel anxiety, sadness, angst or physical pain when practicing backbends regularly the key is to learn how to stay with the difficult places and work through them.

"Asanas penetrate deep into each layer of the body and ultimately into the consciousness itself."


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Trashed


The movie makes such a visceral, dramatic argument that our wasteful, throwaway culture is really responsible for burying us, drowning us and choking us all, with no saviors in sight. And in the meantime, it is clear that whether garbage pickers in dumps or sea turtles, the first and most profoundly affected by our filth are the least powerful and privileged. If we don’t want to deal with reusing or re-purposing something, we toss it away out of sight (and out of mind). Ultimately, though, this solid waste ends up burned, buried or just dumped. Where the waste meets water or air, pollutants from our highly engineered and toxic effluvia spread there too. And the chemicals in question end up in all of our blood, the effects of which are still being determined.

It is a global conversation from Iceland to Indonesia between the film star Jeremy Irons and scientists, politicians and ordinary individuals whose health and livelihoods have been fundamentally affected by waste pollution. Visually and emotionally the film is both horrific and beautiful: an interplay of human interest and political wake-up call. But it ends on a message of hope: showing how the risks to our survival can easily be averted through sustainable approaches that provide far more employment than the current 'waste industry.'

"If you want things to change, you can really do it. We are responsible for the Earth, you and me. Not tomorrow, but today." - Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Legend of the Butterfly

Once as a child many years ago…
on a balmy summer’s eve.
I sat in the yard at my Mother’s side…
and a butterfly lit at my sleeve.

“It’s a sign of good luck”, my Mother said.
As the butterfly stayed at my arm…
“It’s a symbol of all the beauty in life.
Make sure you do it no harm.”

First butterflies are eggs and after they hatch…
they see that their life’s just beginning.
They’re content with their lot in life,
so, they go out on a limb and start spinning.

They stay out awhile in a magic cocoon….
then emerge like flowers in spring.
Then they share the story of their victory and success…
through each of the colors of their wings.

The gold in their wings is the ”Golden Rule”…
To follow that is a must.
The blue….That means true blue.
Always be someone people can trust.

The green of the tip of their wing
is saying Stay green, and you’ll always grow.
The silver is the lining in the clouds of doubt…
that you must look for as you go through life.

Butterflies bend with the wind, it’s true.
Still they get where they want to go.
They arrive by persistence through their own insistence…
A lesson more people should know.

Sought and valued by the whole human race…
For their beauty, tenacity and charm.
If a butterfly ever chances to stay at your sleeve…
remember, my friend, don’t fight it, but,
learn all you can from the butterfly clan.
And you too, may become a rare item.




Monday, October 7, 2013

Take Time

Take Time to THINK…
It is the source of power.

Take Time to PLAY…
It is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take Time to READ…
It is the fountain of wisdom.

Take Time to PRAY…
It is the greatest power on earth.

Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED…
It is God – given privilege.

Take Time to BE FRIENDLY…
It is the road to happiness.

Take TIME to LAUGH…
It is the music of the soul.

Take Time to GIVE…
It is too short a day to be selfish.

Take time to WORK…
It is the price of success.

Take Time to DO CHARITY…
It is the key to heaven.




Sunday, October 6, 2013

Go.......

Go beyond, farther beyond!
Do not limit yourself
By comparing yourself
With others,
Or even with your own self.

Sri Chinmoy


Saturday, October 5, 2013

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love.



“Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.” ― Maya Angelou


Friday, October 4, 2013

Wedding

This is an invitation to a very special ceremony. All the Hindu gods have been invited, and you - even as a mortal - are invited too. Would you like to come? Let me tell you all about it.

It is a wedding of deities, old as time itself, perhaps even the wedding of your very first ancestors. It is also a multiple marriage (downright polyamorous, you might say) - a marriage between chaos and order, mind and body, soul and spirit, anima and animus, as well as of many goddesses and gods, as all the goddesses are aspects of the divine mother, Mahadevi, who is the source of all. In this particular ceremony, however, the deities to marry will appear in the archetypal forms of Shakti and Shiva. Their love for each other is legendary, and their union brings peace, understanding, and exquisite bliss. It generates the full spectrum of existence, the ten thousand levels of manifestation.

Do not go to look for your calendar, because this ceremony can take place anytime. For those who are luckiest, it happens every day. Do not say that you cannot travel to distant and exotic lands, because it takes place wherever you are, deep within the Self, in the sacred realm of the heart. Do not say that you have no gift to bring, for the gift of the Self is gift enough, and it will be much renewed by your attendance.

Let me first tell you about Shakti, the bride. She is wondrous and She is everywhere! She dances in the life of the plants, She is the spark in the laugh of the child. She is present in the growing belly, the voice that sings, the heart that loves. She is the urge to grow, to move, to change, to awaken. She is pure energy, chaotically free, the fuel for all activity, infinite energy.

Her full name is Kundalini Shakti and sometimes She dresses like a serpent, coiled tightly around the four petaled lotus that grows at the base of your spine. Here is the bed where She sleeps, giving you grounding and stability, security and peace, with your roots buried deeply in the Earth. Her home at this level is called Muladhara, or root support. It is here that She binds together the physical world. Her instincts help you survive.

Oh, but sometimes She stirs, languidly ravishing in the sensuous movements of Her serpentine body, sinuously sliding through the liquid nectar of your cells, moving upward through the curves and organs of your flesh. She pierces the lotus of six petals, whose element is water, and in this form She may bring you intense desire. Hers is the longing that cries out for touch and sometimes brings forth Kama the Lord of Lust to awaken the cells within you to ecstatic pleasure. Here She may have many lovers, each one renewed in the glorious energy of Her distinct Goddess-nature. Her home at this level is called Swadhisthana, which means both sweetness and “one’s own place.” Her loving in the sacred space in sweet indeed.

Beware, though, because her movements may be chaotic when She first breaks out of Her slumber. She may be a wild dancer, robbing you of sleep. You may shake with her tremors, burn with her longing, ache with her movement upward, her search for her true love, Shiva himself. If she does not find him, She may get more and more agitated, burning even stronger with desire, until you think you will burst with the intensity of her presence.

Ah, but She knows it is not enough to merely dance suggestively to attract the likes of Shiva. No, She must have power to do that, rising to the third chakra of fire, the lustrous gem of manipura. Here She will find the strength and fierceness of a warrior Goddess, not merely the soft feminine sweetness of the young maiden. Shiva is a formidable force, and does not trifle with Maidens, but only with the raw stuff of life, the Goddess Herself. In this form, you may see her riding a tiger, as the goddess Durga, or dancing with Shiva as her Dark Sister, Mother Kali, who drips blood form her mouth to splatter upon her necklace of skulls.

Her power at this level is to break apart old forms, for once awakened, She hates constriction, and you may find nothing in your life is ever the same. In her search for her lover, she can be most intense, relentless, in fact, and there may be little you can hold onto if it gets in her way. You’d best cooperate with her and begin looking for her lover, for She will not stop until She finds him.

And who is this divine being? Who is the true love of our Shakti? He is the auspicious Lord Shiva, who comes in many forms. He is the Lord of Sleep, the undifferentiated bliss of meditation, unified with all that is. He is the wisdom of pure consciousness, the divine intelligence that shapes primordial chaos into order and form. His most familiar home is in the crown chakra, in the undifferentiated realm of limitless spirit, where he sees and knows ALL. But He is also a dark one, known as Rudra, the howler or weeping one, a Lord of Destruction, whose lightning bolt can destroy your attachments with but a single glance. As Rudra, He feeds on the corpses of men slain in battle, feeding their souls to his dark consort Kali.

He is also a god of healing and sacrifices, worshipped by many in the rising phallus, the Shiva Lingam, always erect and ever thrusting into the great mysteries of the feminine, never satisfied. It is said that long ago, his brother Brahma and Vishnu, gathered to compare their power, and while arguing, a towering lingam crowned with flame rose up between them and replaced their fighting with stunned amazement. Vishnu plunged downward, in the form of a boar, and Brahma flew upward, as a bird, but they could not, for all their searching find its beginning or its end, for as they flew, the lingam grew and grew. Finally the side of the phallus burst open and there stood Shiva, who proclaimed himself to be the origin of them both, thus encompassing the threefold principles of creation, preservation, and destruction.

Without His lover, however, Shiva is but a corpse, downright boring for the uninitiated. If you see him before the wedding, he may lay in perfect stillness, lost in meditation of the infinite wonders, enfolded in the bliss of perfect enlightenment, disembodied from the world of samsara, of birth and death. Here the Lord of Sleep may bring you dreams, or in waking states, visions of what is possible. As He descends into the two-petaled chakra lotus of the third eye, He is the illumination of limitless light, enabling us to see clearly through the illusions that bind us in the lower realms. He is the infinity of the imagination, the birthplace of dreams, the true seeing of the awakened One. And when He catches sight of his Beloved Goddess, He is luminescence everywhere, creating brilliant shining stars and bursting suns, glancing up Her jewels as She dances in splendor.

And the sounds He can make! As Lord of Song, He descends to the fifth chakra lotus of communication to call for His divine lover. For His is the sound of the primordial OM, the underlying sound of all creation. With His other consort Mother Kali, they control the sounds of the universe that are the basis of all creation. It is said that when Kali, whose name means times, wants to destroy the world, She only need remove the alphabet from the petals of each chakra, and all of creation will dissolve back into nothingness.

When Siva's sounds join the energy of Shakti, the music of their love is passionate and sweet, and there are few who attend this wedding who are not compelled to dance with an unknown fervor, free and aware of the divine realm within their heart.

So now it is time for their joining. Come and enter the Sacred Chamber. Ganesha, remover of obstacles will greet you at the door, his elephant trunk seeping away your fears of love, his ample belly quivering with laughter. As you enter the sacred temple, you find yourself sinking into a lotus of twelve petals, set in emerald green, (although the colors may vary according to the mood of the day.) Within the lotus, two triangles intersect in perfect balance, the descending triangle of spirit merging with the ascending triangle of matter. The sacred marriage of yoni and lingam are thus made on in this celestial six-pointed star.

In the center, Brahma sits deep in meditation, quietly generating all that you see and experience. He consort, Saraswati, Patroness of the Arts, has created the decor with elaborate tapestries of gold filigree, exotic plants and bouquets of flowers everywhere. She has hired the very best dancers and musicians for your entertainment. Soon they enter with sitars and tablas, accompanied by ornately costumed dancers of all kinds. Hanuman, who is keeper of the heart, jumps quickly from place to place, lithe monkey that He is, ushering in each guest and seating them among the petals. Agni, god of the primordial fires, is lighting the candles on the altar, fanning the sparks within your heart.

And what would a wedding be without a feast? Uma, the Corn Goddess has brought her first harvest to be shared. Laksmi, the goddess of earthly prosperity, clothed in red raiments, laced with gold, bedecked in perfumed sweetness, directs the preparation of a sumptuous feast of delightful curries and dahls, sweetmeats and fruits. Her consort, Vishnu, enters the court with Krishna, who smiles and dances with the Asparas, a group of heavenly and lascivious young nymphs, dressed in their laciest garments, tattooed with henna on the hands and feet, their hair bound with strands of pearls.

And now, at last, the ceremony is about to begin. Guests begin to chant, “Om nama Anahata” (in the name of the heart chakra) as rapt attention is stirred for the sacred event of their joining. Vayu, god of winds calls forth the divine breath of prana, and fills all with spaciousness. Agni, god of fire, sends forth sparks as the the divine polarities of the universe arc into a dynamic flow of power. Indra, god of the waters, fills all vessels with amrita, the nectar of enlightenment. Laksmi, as goddess of earthly treasures, bestows her immense wealth, and an island of jewels springs forth, with abundance enough for all living beings.

And now the bride and groom are to be joined, as the chanting softens into a deep primordial OM. First Shiva appears as a rising phallus of stone, piercing the center of the heart to probe its deepest mysteries. Shakti, who has been separated from him for some time, comes forward dancing in the form of Parvati. Her breasts are full like the round, white moon, Her hips supple, Her waist narrow, Her sari of gold lightly draped across Her dark lotus eyes. When She enters, each one present is filled with a radiant energy, a power so illustrious that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.

When She strokes the rising phallus, the drums and music play ever more forcefully, the dancers writhing feverishly to the rhythm. When the hall can no longer contain this passionate energy of creation, Shiva springs forth, grabbing his Shakti with one of his four great arms. His other arms hold a trident and a rosary, symbolizing his active and ascetic sides, while His remaining hand holds a lotus flower, complete with stalk, which he silently offers to the resplendent goddess, who glows with the radiance of love.

Shiva's hair is piled high upon His head, bound with stars and moons. As He begins to dance, the frenzy loosens His long tresses, cascading down across His great blue body, expanding into a halo of wings. His tresses, as they tumble are filled with little figures, the goddess Ganges, flowers of the datura, a skull, a crescent moon. The moon becomes a cup of nectar, which He offers to His sweet love for Her pleasure and enlightenment.

And now Shakti-parvati sits upon His left thigh, encircling Her arm about His shoulder. She carries a bow and arrow, a noose and a gourd, symbolizing the power of will, knowledge, and action, the essential principles of her power. The divine couple stare fixedly into each other’s eyes, lost in eternal rapture. Though appearing as two, they know that they have always been inseparably one, and their union is a return to the primordial unity from which all things spring forth.

The polarities of the universe combine, creating cascading multiplicities, dark and light, joining in a shower of rainbows, sparks and jewels explode across time and space in the ever generating and eternal sri yantra, symbol of endless creation and destruction.

Shakti has met Her match. With destruction as Her ally, She can now create endlessly to Her heart’s content, knowing that all of maya, all of the manifested universe is an endless cycle of creation and destruction. Shiva has found His sacred other, a feminine source of limitless energy. He can now move from static to dynamic dance, as Shiva Nataraj. And as they tumble into eternal ecstasy and divine union for the creation and destruction of all that is, all who are present to this divine and auspicious ritual are forever transformed.