3/20/09

Vacation Lesson Number 2: Your job is to want less, when you want less you have more.

This wasn’t a dream lesson, it was a phrase that spoke itself to me from the trees and the hillsides and the bluebirds on my walk this morning. I think many people would call these voices that I hear the voice of God. But it doesn’t sound like anyone else’s voice to me. The words come from my mind, from the people around me, from responding to the media and the global buzz, from the books I read, my history, our history and our culture. I imagine that Mohammad and Jesus heard a similar voice. I imagine that you do too, if you listen.

Lesson 2, part 1: Your job is to want less. When I want more my life revolves around acquiring what I want. I become focused on making money so I can purchase the things I want. I accumulate stuff. I judge my success relative to what other people have. So, my job is to want less. My job is to notice when my mind is focused on wanting stuff, wanting things I do not have. When I notice I am in ‘wanting mode’ I can choose to sort circuit that. There are certainly things that I need. I need to go to the grocery store this afternoon and pick up bread and milk. I need to quench my thirst, a glass of water will take care of that need. And that is all I truly need at the moment. The list of ‘wants’ might be large: new shoes, clean the car, chocolate. My job is to want less: a miracle happens and I am free.

I take a walk in the woods instead of going shopping. The mantra presents itself quietly in my mind at first: your job is to want less, when you want less you will have more. I begin to repeat the mantra. A deep freedom arises.

Lesson 2, part 2: I open myself up to seeing what I already have. A beautiful place to live. I walk on the paths at Bald Hill and watch the first bluebirds of the season flurry from the fence line to the still leafless oak tree. The chatter like crazy as they return home and prepare to roost. I stop to look at a small brown newt in the middle of the path. They like to sunbathe on these still coolish spring mornings. I hike deeper into the woods. A pair of nesting crows is disturbed by my dog Allee’s and my presence. The crows start to chatter a storm at us and I become quiet and listen to the great symphony of the forest. I restrain Allee from chasing a deer. We find a quiet off shoot of the path and set my pack down and do some yoga. Simple poses using downed trees as props. I breath deep and sit still for a few minutes then return to the path and my mantra. As we walk down the hill a Pileated Woodpecker flies right in front of us and lands on a tree. My body feels strong and healthy so I jog the rest of the way back to the car. This is wealth and abundance. My job is to want less, when I want less I have more.

3/19/09

Vacation Lesson Number 1: You have everything you need.

I awoke from a dream on Tuesday morning. I was teaching meditation to a group of martial artists. I was teaching the following mantra: you have all that you need. All wealth and contentment are yours.

You are the martial artist. You are being given a task, you are being presented with a battle in your life time. How will you step up to the challenges that are confronting you right now. Will you surrender to the Gods of Greed. Will you buy into the fear that is permeating our global psychological environment? If we surrender to the fear, we lose. If we surrender to the notion that money is wealth, we lose. If we surrender to the idea that status quo is the only ways our culture can survive, we lose. We have a battle before us, a battle of minds and wealth. The battle is being waged within us as surely as it is being waged without.

The first mantra of the battle: You have everything you need. Look around at your life. If you are reading this and live in the modern world the chances are you have everything you need. Did you sleep in a dry place last night? Do you have food to eat today? Do you have basic transportation (walking is basic transportation)? Do you have people in your life? If these needs are met, you have what you need. My guess is that you have well beyond this basic fare. And so my first invocation, the first tool of the battle, is to daily assess that you have everything you need. Be grateful every day that your basic needs are met: count them. It is here that you will find your wealth and contentment.

Look for the riches in your life as it is. The global culture (as writ on newsstands, business pages and check-out counter magazines) tells us that riches are measured in dollars and in goods consumed. But that is a poor measure of wealth. Look at those pages again: I see no evidence at the checkstand to convince me that more money leads to more happiness. In fact, it looks like just the opposite.

So, lesson number one: You have everything you need. Repeat those words to yourself, over and over again. Tell each cell in your body this truth. Rewire your brain so that it remembers: You have everything you need. Begin to notice how your body changes as it absorbs this information. Let the physical experience of fear drain away. There is a physical sensation to freedom that will replace the fear. More breath, more space in the body. Practice this lesson over and over again. When you feel the constriction of fear returning to your body, repeat the words again: You have everything you need.

3/16/09

yoga practice: shoulders and neck part 4

This is the final section of the yoga practice for shoulders and neck. This section includes anjanyasana (lunge) and setu bandhasana (bridge). If you want to begin at the beginning, scroll down to the first post and then click them in order. Let me know how it goes,


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yoga practice: shoulders and neck part 3

This is section three: vashistasana (side plank) enjoy


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3/15/09

yoga practice: shoulders and neck part 2

The warm up section of the practice starts in the previous post. This is the second section, with sun salutes, tree pose, hands and knees swimming. I'll get the third section up soon.

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