Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Don't Just Set a Resolution...Be Resolutionary!

Most of us have realized from painful experience that lasting change rarely occurs as a result of a New Year's Resolution. Why is it that we are so often incapable of becoming the person we want to be? Too often, resolutions are inspired by fear and are set up as self-imposed expectations that reinforce the gulf between who we think we are and who we think we want to be. It is time to establish our resolutions from a deeper place; 2010 is a year of deepening. People are beginning to understand the profound nature of the present moment and will begin taking action from this place. Rather than another New Year's Resolution, now is the time to become Resolutionary.

Reaction or Resolution?
In many cases our resolution is inspired by a negative self-image adopted from society or an influential voice in our lives. For example, we compare our bodies to those we see in the media and decide the way we look is bad. The pain from this comparison becomes the fuel for our change. The resolution is not sustainable and we end up in that familiar negative spiral that reinforces the unworthiness that inspired the resolution in the first place.

Gratitude: The Power of the Resolutionary
The resolutionary recognizes gratitude as the true power behind sustainable transformation. Chis Walker told me once "Don't leave anything until you love it." This is great advice rooted in the awareness that love is more empowering than fear. Love and gratitude are intertwined. The Resolutionary uses self-love as the inspiration behind this path of living transformation. The traditional resolution is based on fear and limitation and lacks fundamental acceptance. Be grateful for the miracle of your body and and allow the spontaneous gratitude for this sacred mystery to fuel your growth and expansion in 2010.

From Expectation to Anticipation
The old-school resolution is a self-imposed expectation and expectation is the root of all evil. OK, that may be dramatic but spend some time contemplating the possibility the expectations you put on yourself and those you place on others are the heart of the suffering that creeps into your life day by day. Expectation states that we will be "happy when...". Expectation is one of the root problems with the New Year's resolution. Let me introduce a new word to replace the thorny and insidious seed of suffering known as expectation. This word frees us from the dependence on some future event to be OK with ourselves and instead brings us back to the present moment. To access the present moment there is a requirement for a deep sense of acceptance and honesty, this is the starting point for a life-altering New Year's Resolution. This new word that holds the seed of freedom and guides the Resolutionary back to the moment of now is ANTICIPATION. The official definition describes anticipation as "pre-sentiment or pre-knowledge". Anticipation brings us immediately into the experience of our resolution rather than emphasizing the gulf between where we are now and where we hope to be as is the case with expectation.

A Resolutionary Practice
In order to anticipate we must make the experience of fulfillment real in our minds and bodies. Consider this an invitation to imagine the greatest version of yourself for 2010. The Resolutionary takes time to sit in silence and practice gratitude. Give yourself the gift of 5 minutes per day to sit and breathe with awareness and simply be grateful. Let gratitude flood your body soaking every cell with liquid light. Even now, you can simply breathe with awareness, relax the body, allow the mind to be and reconnect with the Source of life, with your Beloved. Gratitude is the mystical power that fuels authentic transformation and is the direct experience of your own essence. Gratitude is the fuel of the Resolutionary, fill up every single day and soon you will be filling up with every single breath.

Don't wait for some future moment to be the highest version of yourself. The future is a fantasy and the past is over; the Resolutionary realizes their transformation here and now. May this year be full of transformative moments and big-time gratitude. To all the Resolutionaries out there, I wish you a very HAPPY NOW YEAR!!




Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Condensation of Thought

Hello All,

Condensation is the bonding of molecules of a substance to form a larger denser molecule and often with the release of simpler substances like water. As we pay more and more attention to the thoughts that form in our minds and the emotions those thoughts trigger let's consider the process behind thought formation.

We must first break through the Western idea that thought has no substance. Our ability to detach from thought is impeded by our ignorance as to the substance of thought. The science of yoga has a word to describe the substance of thought called Chitta. Imagine thoughts as having characteristics of both a wave and particle much like light. Thoughts may travel like a wave but can also accumulate and increase in density like a particle. A "bad mood", for example, may be considered a condensation of thought. Thoughts of similar quality are attracted to one another and may condense. The same way condensation releases water, the condensation of thought releases emotion.

By observing these processes in your mind-body system you will be empowered to be somewhat detached from the ebb and flow of thought and emotion. The energy you conserve in stepping outside of the thought-emotion ping-pong match you can use to consciously design your life. The purification that results from our yoga classes releases toxins that increase thought condensation and resulting moodiness. Taking steps to release toxins is even more important this time of year. Stay tuned for a workshop targeted at cleansing mind and body early in the New Year.

We are entering the season where we tend to eat and drink too much which increases toxicity and increases moodiness. Be aware of the choices you are making and if you indulge be present for the consequences. Take responsibility for your thoughts and emotions and be vigilant about how you express them with others. We will be detoxifying our mind-body systems at the Milo Boathouse at 7 pm and then going even deeper in our meditation practice at 8 pm. Hope to see you there.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, December 14, 2009

Subjective Serenity

Hello All,

I was reading a commentary of the Yoga Sutras recently and came across a translation of one line that related to both a fundamental intention of yoga and the result of our practice; Subjective Serenity.

One of the great misconceptions of yoga is that as we practice the mind will stop and with it the emotions and reactions that are an everyday part of our human life. My experience is that the Serenity that is the subject of this line goes far deeper than our mental modifications (thoughts) and their physiological counterpart (emotions). The process of yoga is like diving into the ocean. We pass through the waves at the surface like thoughts and emotions, then we pass through deeper currents that are like subconscious tendencies that move us in behavioral patterns of which we may not be aware and finally we arrive at a profound stillness that has no end. This is the serenity of yoga.

Everybody has this depth and everybody has the waves and currents of mind and emotion. The ocean may be rough or calm at different times of day and in different seasons but the stillness at its depth is always present. Similarly, your depth of stillness is always accessible and so too will the modifications of mind and emotions be present and dependent on the passage of time. The stillness and serenity at your depth is timeless. To choose to experience this serenity through discipline and practice is the "subjective" part of the equation. Every moment during the day we have the choice to be jostled in the waves of the mind, to be unconsciously moved towards addictive behaviors or to choose to be in our depth, our stillness, our serenity. That is your choice and one that is yours to make moment to moment.

On the yoga mat, we practice subjective serenity in the face of physical exertion as we lengthen and strengthen the body. In our conscious relating to others we can practice subjective serenity as we observe our own reactions and take responsibility for all of them as we choose subjective serenity. This is a powerful and life-altering practice that leads us to eliminate our tendency to blame another for what we are feeling or experiencing.

Tonight at the Boathouse we will practice Subjective Serenity, we will choose peace even as we bear witness to muscles burning.

Dive in to your depth often, it is the greatest gift you could give to yourself and those you love.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interiority

Hello All,

I am back to Canada with family in tow and Yarmouth has never felt more like home than now. We will be getting together tonight at the Boathouse to celebrate the present moment with our bodies and breath. As the winter season descends upon us we may also notice a slowing down and gentle movement within. As the trees and foliage let go of the blossoms of the past so too may we let go of that which was and in that letting go make room for the emptiness and interiority of the winter season.

This is a perfect season to explore the mystery and simplicity of meditation. If you have not experienced meditation in a group format you may find the practice offers a deep relaxation for the mind the way yoga provides relaxation for the body. Regardless, this is the season of interiority. Take a moment today, maybe right now, to reflect on your own interiority. We all have an interior life in which we are always participating and may rarely reveal aspects of it to others. Reveal yourself to yourself by witnessing your interiority with great compassion. Be present for the inner dialogue that is on-going, for the reactions and the sensations that weave the fabric of your interior person. In our meditation group tonight we will set fire to that fabric with the power of concentration and reveal the spaciousness and the vastness of our interiority.

I hope you have a wonderful day and as you bear witness to your own interiority realize that every person you meet also has that complexity, depth and internal reality you may rarely have been present to.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Edge

Hello All,

My trip to the United States continues as does all of our trips. Mine is moving through Maine with three generations, very different ways of approaching challenges and opportunities. The spiritual path has been termed the Razor's Edge because the path of authenticity and compassion is such an infinitely fine line. Integrating the concepts of intention and surrender may also be termed the Razor's Edge. On the one hand we have the planning of details based on our best concept of how things will proceed. On the other hand we have the allowing of whatever comes our way.

There is a story of a great yogi who was sitting in meditation having achieved absolute control over his senses to the point where he conquered all his desires. His body was emaciated and skin was like leather after living in the forest for many years practicing intense austerities. In his younger life, he spent years giving in to all of his desires and realizing that path did not bring a lasting peace or happiness. In this moment a boat was passing in a nearby river and a woman was playing a stringed instrument. In that moment the yogi realized, like the stringed instrument, if we are too tight attached to our plans, the simple joy of being will elude us; if we are too loose and without focussed intention we will be forced to endure unnecessary hardships for lack of preparation and grounding. This realization lead the yogi to practice the "middle way" and he eventually became the Buddha.

I have existed on both extremes in fairly dramatic fashion; I have been the Type A "plan and execute" and expect everyone around me to perform at the highest level. I have also been the free flowing individual devoid of intention altogether except to be aware of the breath and the simple presence of life. Neither was sustainable. A regular yoga practice gives us the chance to live on this Edge balancing alignment and force with presence and relaxation.

The path is not easy but the dynamic interplay of planning and allowing comes up again and again so there is no shortage of opportunity to practice your response. I can't wait to be on the Edge with each of you at our next yoga class.

Enjoy the Edge.

Namaste,

Steve
Yogi Jayanta