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Up-level Your Performance with Tantric Meditation

 

Your identity is your foundation of existence. Too often we tend to identify with things that don’t support the truth of what we are, our beingness. Too often we get caught up as human doings rather than human beings. Too often we equate our value on what we can do rather than the fact that we simply are. 

 

Photo by Rudy and Peter Skitterains

Tantra is a school of eastern thought. One of the many facets to Tantra is its emphasis on non-dualism or all things belonging to a larger whole. When you can expand your Awareness from being either this or that, you tap into what I call your Both And Nature. This Both And Nature speaks to your higher beingness and embraces all the elements of you for optimal expression. 

 

Ironically, the person who doesn’t know their Both And Nature, identifies only as body or with their actions, equates their existence with only what they can do. Ability and doing is by nature volatile and changeable so their sense of identity lacks a real foundation. This lack of existential foundation invariably affects performance because each act becomes a desperate grope for identity when there’s none to be had merely by performing an action. 

 

Photo by Seneca Moore

During my career, I’ve taught yoga and meditation to dozens of world-class athletes and performers. Often when these performers retire, still quite young, they sometimes go into an existential crisis if their entire identity was wrapped up in solely what they could do. Now that they can no longer perform at the level they felt defined them, they have no idea who they are. 

 

By contrast, the person who is identified as a Being rather than a doer knows their Both And Nature and can act invincibly from that place because they realize that they and each of their actions are an expression of their Being, of Source. The person connected to their Being through practices like the Yoga Nidra, graduate from a level of merely doing an action to Being it. 

 

Photo by David Newkirk

Yoga Nidra is a form of Tantric guided meditation that is both relaxing and very useful to reinforce your sense of your own Being. The aim in Yoga Nidra is to disidentify from anything in the realm of the changeable, like body or thoughts, and learn to identify as Awareness itself. Typically, a Yoga Nidra session will last anywhere from 15–40 minutes where you simply lie down, close your eyes, and listen to a facilitator (or recording) lead you through paying attention to things like your body, your breath, energy, thoughts, etc. This process leads you deeper and deeper both into relaxation as well as into Awareness. 

 

Since it’s also true that while you cannot identify solely as body, your body is an important (though changeable) part of who you are. It also exists as one of the greatest tools you possess to open yourself to the experience of Awareness. As you learn to inhabit your body with deeper Awareness, you tune into your Both And Nature and from that place of embodied Awareness, you can go out and perform at your best. 

Click here to hear a free Yoga Nidra recording and experience for yourself the transformative of your own Both And Nature.

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




New Study Finds Meditation Creates A Distinct Network Of Genes (Possibly Anti-Aging) & Improves Cellular Health

By Kalee Brown | New Paradigm

Science is now catching up to the knowledge outlined in the Vedas, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and other ancient texts. For approximately 5,000 years people have been practicing meditation, proving the positive impact it can have on the body and mind. Science has now accepted that meditation can have powerful effects on human health, as more research is exposing these mind-blowing benefits. Some experienced meditators have even been referred to as “superhumans” because of how their practice has affected them (check out our article here). A study recently published in Translational Psychiatry proved just how beneficial meditation can be for human health, as the molecular signature of meditators was found to be significantly different from those who don’t meditate on a regular basis.

How Meditation Can Improve Your Cellular Health

A group of American researchers performed a study on participants at a 5-day retreat offered regularly by Deepak Chopra’s infamous Chopra Center for Wellbeing (Carlsbad, CA, USA) at the vacation resort OMNI La Costa Resort and Spa. Researchers invited women between the ages of 30 and 60 who did not have experience meditating to participate in the study and then divided them into two groups: those who would participate in the retreat (“novice meditators”) and those who would simply stay at the resort (“vacationers”). Researchers compared their results against each other and also to those of women already enrolled in the retreat who were in the same age bracket and meditated regularly (“regular meditators”). The participants’ health was examined before and after five days of staying at the resort and then maintenance assessments were completed one month and 10 months later.

Related Article: Study: How Yoga, Meditation Boosts Gut Health By Altering Genetic Signals

Standard psychological measures were used to determine participants’ depression symptoms and perceived levels of stress, mindfulness, and vitality. Participants also had their blood drawn on days one and five of the study. For more information on specifics of the blood draw, processing, biomarker assays, and RNA sequencing of blood samples, click here.

Although all three groups experienced significant improvements in mental health, novice meditators showed much greater improvements in regards to depression in comparison to the vacationers, especially at the 10-month marker. It is clear from these findings that short-term vacation effects improve well-being; however, it is evident that there are long-term benefits from learning meditation as well.

While on vacation, genes that are typically required for dealing with stress wound healing, and injury are down-regulated. Among the ones that were down-regulated post-retreat/vacation were MME and FOXO3, both of which are referred to as stress-related genes. This study is believed to be the first documentation that a stress reduction intervention can decrease FOXO3 expression.

Researchers also identified what they referred to as a “meditation effect,” whereby the regular meditators were found to have a distinct network of genes with cellular functions that may be associated with anti-aging. Even though a vacation often benefits the expression of gene networks in regards to well-being, the “vacation effect” cannot be sustained throughout life because you cannot go on vacations all of the time. In contrast, the “meditation effect” can actually be sustained if you’re practicing meditation regularly, so you can continuously reap the rewards.

You can read the full study here.

More Studies Proving Meditation Can Better Your Body and Mind

study conducted by Harvard University determined that meditation rebuilds the brain’s grey matter in only eight weeks. This incredible discovery was made by taking magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of the 16 participants’ brains both two weeks before the study and after it was completed.

Another Harvard study found that meditation can even mitigate symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and improve gut health. The study showed that by inducing the “relaxation response,” which is essentially the scientific term for meditation, participants showed reduced symptoms of IBS as well as decreased anxiety and overall better quality of life.

You can read more about these two studies in our article here, and read how meditation drastically improved a CE team member’s IBS here.

If you’re unfamiliar with meditation, keep an open mind and know that it truly is a practice meant for everyone. There is no skill involved, it is simply the act of silencing the mind and finding inner peace. Remember, it is not about stopping thoughts from happening in the first place; it is about letting them pass, without judgment or attachment.

Related Article: This School Replaced Detention with Meditation – and the Results are Amazing!

It is said that Buddha was once asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” To which he responded, “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I lost: anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death.”

You too can free yourself from these emotions and attachments. If you’re looking for further guidance, you can check out the following articles:

Meditation For Beginners: 20 Tips To Help Quiet The Mind

Meditation For People Who Don’t Meditate (A Simple Guide)

Discouraged With Meditation? Here Are Some Great Tips

It Works: New Study Outlines What Meditation, Yoga, & Prayer Can Do To The Human Body

Picture Source

Read more great articles at New Paradigm.




Yoga With A Knife

Ingredients

There are many ingredients to this soup. Read like a mantra, there is zucchini and summer squash from mom and dad’s garden. There are carrots, sprouts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, veggie broth, Bragg’s, oregano, parsley, and salt and pepper. And, of course, a knife–to cut through what was once solid. And fire–to cook it up so I can assimilate it.
 
Another essential ingredient to this practice is breath. I breathe in deeply and smell the aromatic cauldron of veggies boiling on the stove; a scent so pure and strong, it reaches each room with misty tendrils, filling the entire apartment. The broth has turned an orange-brown color and juggles the bits of veggies—orange, green, and yellow—with its rolling boil. Each breath fills me with calm satisfaction, a sensual comfort of work close to Earth.
 
Like many rituals, this one has a costume. Instead of tight lycra, here I don my bulky, heavy-cotton chef shirt; a now-dirty white, the sleeves rolled up to the wrists, the chef shirt boasts two columns of buttons on either side, with my jazz moniker “SP Train” sewn into the correct place, over my heart. The jazz reference seems fitting. After all, cooking is a performance of sorts. The kitchen is my venue, my Village Vanguard. The other players are the stove on bass, the cutting board on drums, and the sink on piano. It’s a concert. It’s like jazz and yoga, both: equal parts recipe and improvisation.
 
Music is part of the ritual. Usually it’s Chet Baker or Miles Davis (the trumpet sounds so good in the kitchen). But today, it’s Lee Morgan’s Sidewinder. My good friend just gave me this album as a thank-you gift for letting him stay crash at my house last week. I let the sounds waft through the kitchen on repeat so I can digest all of it: the album, the memory of my friend, the ingredients, the time at home, and the opportunity to savor a moment lost in my own thoughts and designs. I can’t help but think how “tasty” this music is, how easy on the ears.
 
Of course, there is an order, an alignment, to this practice. In the same way I’d align my body in yoga practice, I align all the members of my kitchen. I boil the carrots before the squash to get the texture right. I cut and cook before I clean. At the end, this knife goes here, this plate there. I stretch and reach to put away the tall glasses in the top of the cupboard. I squat to put away the heavy pot in the drawer beneath the stove. My body knows what to do next, accustomed to this ritual.

The Practice of Washing Dishes


My life changed the day I realized that I would be doing dishes every day, sometimes a couple times a day, for the rest of my life. This realization was not  resignation but realization. Regardless of any other important mental, spiritual, or physical work I may do in this lifetime, one of my most fundamental tasks will be dish washing. It is something simple and ordinary but grounding and essential. Like breathing, I guess. Like moving my body through the same sun salutations. In this way, I get new lessons from old teachers.
 
There is contentment and ease in this practice. I love the sensation of the warm water and suds over my hands, the stable feel of my feet planted into the kitchen floor. Celeste is in the other room reading; her peaceful pleasure is palpable throughout the apartment, like a sigh and a slow, beating heart. I can feel she’s as content as I am, happy to have the comfort of both of us at home, me creating a meal for us in my favorite practice in the kitchen.

Enlightenment

Eventually comes the moment of enlightenment: eating. I struggle not to analyze the food. What if I would have added some fennel while the veggies were cooking?  I decide in time before I’ve spoiled the magic that it’s good enough, that there’s nothing else to do. But eat. This is the moment for enjoyment, nourishing body and soul. I savor it slowly and eat just enough, not too much, like we practice with yoga postures, finding the balance—so we’re satiated but not uncomfortable.
 
This practice starts with me directing the kitchen into chaos: pots boiling, utensils strewn on counters, something dribbling over the stove onto the floor, the molten hot contents of the blender exploding into a veggie volcano when I hit the pulse button… Then calmly, happily, I use a little bit of muscle and bring it all back into order, one sponge wipe at a time. I towel off the last bit of the silverware and put it back into the drawer. I bask in the clean, clear quiet at the end, and then, finally, take off my chef shirt and hang it on its familiar peg as I walk out the door. Only to do it again tomorrow.
 
As the old Zen adage, “Cut wood. Carry water,” teaches us, if we don’t find enlightenment, meaning, and purpose in life’s everyday tasks, we are moving too fast and missing the bigger picture. Slow down, and find a way to enjoy it. This daily life is the practice. Eat it up!

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program


 

 




Surprising Benefits Of Meditation That Are Scientifically Proven

More and more people are doing meditation these days, and there are some pretty fabulous reasons for doing so. Those who start meditating regularly see the benefits in a short amount of time. Those who develop a habit of meditating cannot stop because how good it makes them feel and how much it improves the quality of their life.

It is a great form of self-discipline and it is not just a gimmick. Meditation has been scientifically proven to help with a lot of things. It has been proven time and time again that it helps with so many diseases and reduces anxiety and other mental stressors.

We will tell you all about the benefits of meditation that are scientifically proven to help you. There are many more benefits than listed here, but the ones discussed below are some of the most important.

Better Emotional Health:

Health is wealth, you have heard this phrase before but you should also know that emotional health is just as important as physical health. Science may have taken its time to acknowledge this fact but it did not that long ago.

A study claims that meditation can decree the growth of inflammatory hormones that make you sad and depressed. Various studies conclude that people who are depressed and practice meditation see major decrees in their depression than those who don’t.

Some studies also conclude that meditation release oxytocin the happy hormone. It makes you happy and promotes a positive outlook on life. Thus, improving your emotional health.

Improves Attention Span:

The way meditation helps with lengthening attention is span is by removing those stray thoughts out of your mind. Let’s say you are in class physically but mentally your mind is somewhere else because you are worried about something.

Meditating lifts that weight off your shoulder and makes sure that you can concentrate on things that matter. Various studies prove that those who meditate for 8 weeks or longer have a better attention span than those who don’t

One study also concludes that HR workers who practice meditation can focus on task better than HR workers who don’t meditate. If you are someone who struggles with small attention span or some who has ADHD you should meditate and you will see a significant increase in your attention span.

Controls and Reduces Pain:

Studies show that those who meditate have a better pain tolerance than those who don’t. Some studies also prove that it can also reduce pain, especially chronic pain. For example, if you have recently had a neck injury. Meditation coupled with other exercises can really help you.

It has really been proven to reduce chronic pain and even chronic migraine and other kinds of headaches. Also, if you are someone who is looking to increase their pain tolerance than you should meditate. In these studies, patients had only been meditating for four days. Which proves meditation gives results in a short amount of time.

Helps in Fighting Addiction:

Meditation has been known to help with addictions of all kinds, whether it is smoking addiction or any other heavy drug like coke and even alcohol.

Meditation is known to divert your brain towards more productive things, it also helps with controlling your emotional impulses and understand what fuels their addiction and addicts can think clearly.

Meditation also helps with self-control. Studies show that meditation has helped to recover alcoholics and people who are trying to quit smoking.

Know that it is not a direct cure, first, your body needs detox mediation can help with controlling the urge to drink or smoke.

Helps with Sharpening the Memory:

Meditation has been proven to help with age-related memory loss, that is common in older folks. If you start meditating from a young age you can prevent it all together but many studies show that older folks who meditate can remember tasks easily than those who don’t

It can also help people who have dementia which is a form of permanent memory loss. In extreme cases, people forget their family members and even children. Meditation can even help with that.

Memory loss is painful for both those who experience it and their relatives so it is best to get your loved treated at the meditation center.

Improves Sleep:

Who can confidently say that they have never struggled with insomnia? Very few people in fact. In this fast pace life sleep hardly comes to people and that is why we can’t stay active all day. Quality of sleep is more important than the quantity of sleep those who don’t suffer from insomnia face irregular and disturbed sleep. All of which affects our day to day performance.

Various studies show that those who meditate sleep longer and experience uninterrupted sleep than who don’t meditate. Those meditate also sleep better and are more active the next day and can perform better than those who don’t. Meditation relaxes you and keeps your stress free which helps you sleep better.

Helps with Anxiety and Depression:

We already know that meditation relaxes you and keeps you stress-free. Less stress ultimately means less anxiety. Many studies show that meditation triggers positive thoughts and you start becoming more optimistic rather than being pessimistic.

A study done on humans show that participants who meditated for eight weeks or more experience less anxiety than those don’t meditate at all. Some studies even show that meditation reduces depression by triggering happy thoughts in your brain. It is all science. As more research happens, we continue to see the extraordinary benefits of meditation. If you are someone who suffers from stress, anxiety or depression try meditation.

Meditation is a lifestyle, even though it can give results in a short span of time. You should make it a habit. If you leave it you won’t see the full effects and benefits of meditation. So, our only advice is don’t forget to meditate.




Walking The Line

Whether we are new or seasoned practitioners, our objective in practice is always the same: to step up to the comfortable relationship with our edge. That invitation to step to our edge is so provocative! It suggests leaving the comfort of what we know and move toward our yet unknown greatness.

Living On The Frontier

I like the word “frontier.” In my mind, it conjures images of rugged people working with the land and wrestling with the unknown, growing and learning and being present with a life that is bigger than them but in which they play a part. The word “frontier” suggests perhaps our edge, our limit of experience or ability. It is the place which we have never been.

I think that whether you are working at a frontier of mindfulness, spirituality, or physicality, to place yourself at that edge of your experience is to truly live. Being at the edge isn’t always easy but it is always real.

Simply being at our edge, we become stronger, literally in the case of asanas, but in every aspect of living, we find ourselves more and more able to sit in the heat of our own growth and the inevitable unfolding of the unknown. Because we have to be observant at that edge, we will notice the miracle of what we’ve created by being there. It’s the miracle of watching our frontier, limitations we thought were so fixed and immovable, recede away from us. So that where we find ourselves is no longer the limit of our experience or ability. I could only touch my knees when I began practice, now I can touch my toes. I could only focus for a few seconds when I started, now I can stay in rapt attention for several moments. I barely understood myself before, now I see a divine creature unfolding.

Transform to Self-Knowledge

In yoga, the work involved in our growth is called Tapas. According to yoga philosophy, Tapas is  the pre-qualifier for Swadyaya or self-knowledge. Being at our edge is a great example of experiencing Tapas that will inevitably lead us to understanding ourselves better.

As this edge recedes, we are again provoked by our own potential to take another step closer toward that edge. And again we find ourselves at the familiar relationship and distance with our frontier. Periodically, we may look back to see all the ground we’ve covered. That growth is a nice reminder that we’re moving in the direction of our intention but ultimately secondary to what’s real and present and constant—our commitment to be at the frontier. Our commitment to growth.

Home At The Edge

One day we will realize that this is where we’ve set down our roots, in the paradox of constant movement as we chase our frontier, the eternal growth toward our highest self. We have arrived as we witness our own evolution.

I used to roll around town with a 1″ sticker stuck to the back of my car. It was a nod to the frontier that I hope to arrive at one day, one spoken of by poet Wendell Berry.

 

A Spiritual Journey by Wendell Berry

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




Meditation is a Radical Act of Love | Jon Kabat-Zinn [90-sec Video]

Video Source: Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

How can sitting in mindfulness meditation create social change? In this short video, mindfulness pioneer Jon Kabat-Zinn explains why sitting in meditation is not only a political statement, but a radical act of love.



“F*ck That” Is The Hilarious Guided Meditation Realists Everywhere Need

By Amanda Froelich | True Activist

Did you know? There are numerous benefits to meditating. In fact, True Activist compiled a list of 76 benefits of meditating a while back. Some positive effects that result from taking the time to quiet the mind, as well as allowing the stresses and frustrations of daily life to fade away, include:

  • A decrease in depression
  • Improved feelings of self-confidence
  • Regulation of mood and anxiety disorders
  • A reduction in stress
  • An increase of grey matter in the brain
  • Improvement in processing and decision-making
  • An improvement of one’s pain tolerance
  • A pain reduction that works better than morphine
  • Improvement of learning and self-awareness

… and much, much more!

However, sometimes sitting for 10-15 minutes and “quieting one’s mind” is easier said than done. In this case, the guided meditation below might be the perfect go-to for those who are tired of conjuring false platitudes about the world.

Warning: If you are easily offended by strong language, this may not be the meditation for you…

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this article!


This article (“F*ck That” Is The Hilarious Guided Meditation Realists Everywhere Need) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com

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How to Overcome the 4 Most Common Thoughts that Create Mental Agitation

Mental aggression-compressed

By Christina Sarich | Waking Times

Your mind is always busy. You really notice just how busy it is when you finally sit down to meditate. Those racing thoughts are perfectly normal. In fact, Eastern teachings liken the mind to a monkey that has been bitten by a scorpion jumping from tree to tree. It won’t stop no matter how much you try to make it. The good news, though, is that in order to meditate, you don’t have to. That’s the secret. There are usually four different types of mental agitation, and the way to slow the discourse of your incessant thoughts is simply by observing them without judgment.

What All Forms of Meditation Have in Common

There are many types of meditation. You can utilize methods from around the globe, steeped in the traditions of many cultures. From prayerful meditation to insight, to meditation, and even concentration on a Zen koans, there is one thing all of these tools have in common – they will cause you to become aware of just how you think.

We are constantly trying to name our experience. We quantify it, ruminate upon it, and then re-hash it, yet again. This is human nature. So, what do you do to calm this rushing tide of thinking when all you want to do is achieve a state of blissful Nirvana already?

4 Types of Thoughts that Arise During Meditation

The first step is to identify the types of thoughts that will arise when we meditate and know from whence they come psychologically so that we can just acknowledge them and dismiss them – allow them to pass over like clouds over our head. We see them, we are aware that they are there, but we give ourselves permission not to get caught up in them.

  1. Painful Memories
  2. Worrying About the Future
  3. Background Noise
  4. Thoughts About Present Commitments

The easiest type of thought to calm concerns the last type – the thoughts about our commitments. Most of us are over-scheduled and over-committed in our lives, so it is no wonder that we are always thinking about what we have to do next, and for whom. One of the easiest ways to lessen these types of thoughts in our meditations is to simply let go of some of those commitments. We all want to be productive and contribute to society and our families, but ask yourself how many of those commitments are really necessary. Then get rid of the ones that are not vital to your well-being.

Background noise refers to the sounds we use to try to calm our minds, but that usually does the opposite. This means the noise on the radio when you are driving home from work or the television that you turn on the minute you walk in the door. This is the second easiest type of meditative noise to quiet. Many esoteric teachings ask meditation students to go into caves or other quiet spaces, simply because it lessens background noise that might interfere with achieving higher states of consciousness. The sounds of nature, for example, are proven to be much more soothing and calming than those created by man. If you can’t turn off the background noise because you live in a busy city, or your office pipes in talk radio nine hours a day, consider walking in nature or using noise-canceling earphones for your next meditative journey.

Thoughts about painful experiences from our past and worry about the future tend to be the most difficult thoughts to calm. They often persist in meditative sessions, and sometimes even get worse before they get better, but with diligence they do subside, and even disappear, making your mind calmer in the process. Trauma experienced in childhood, or even from another lifetime, often creates very deep grooves in our minds. We tend to think of the pain we experienced, again and again, making it difficult to let go. This is why the practice of forgiveness is so important for achieving higher states of consciousness.

Even Gandhi said that it takes a strong person to forgive. This is one of the highest forms of love. The sense of peace and happiness that you get in return for forgiving someone who has wronged you is profound. It also cleans the mind, allowing peace and, yes, even bliss to be a more attainable experience.

What if You Still Haven’t Experienced Meditative Bliss?

When we are thinking, we are still in our rational mind – the conscious plane. When we dream, we are a bit closer to a meditative state, as we enter the subconscious mind. Sometimes we can finally enter the blissful experience of the super-consciousness, as our thoughts dissolve and become centered on the energy that courses up to the spine. Not everyone encounters this experience – not the first time they meditate, and sometimes not after meditating for years. We shouldn’t become frustrated, though. Rest assured that with practice, you are getting closer to tuning your consciousness to a finer melody.

Paramahansa Yogananda has some great advice for those of us expecting certain outcomes from our meditative practice, but who have yet to experience them. He states:

“Do not be anxious if you don’t have meditative experiences. The path to God is not a circus! Don’t even be anxious about such fruits of meditation as inner joy and peace. Everything will come in God’s time. Meanwhile, consider meditation, too, as a form of karma yoga: an action without desire for the fruits of action. Meditate above all to please God, not yourself.”

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire. Her thousands of articles can be found all over the Internet, and her insights also appear in magazines as diverse as Weston A. Price, NexusAtlantis Rising, and the Cuyamungue Institute, among others. She was recently a featured author in the Journal, “Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and Healing Arts,” and her commentary on healing, ascension, and human potential inform a large body of the alternative news lexicon. She has been invited to appear on numerous radio shows, including Health Conspiracy Radio, Dr. Gregory Smith’s Show, and dozens more. The second edition of her book, Pharma Sutra, will be released soon.

This article (How to Overcome the 4 Most Common Thoughts that Create Mental Agitation) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement. Please contact WakingTimes@gmail.com for more info.

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Straight Talk With Time

Ravana, the 10-headed demon (Image: Wikipedia)

The ancient and epic poem The Ramayana says that long ago there was a powerful Demon king named Ravana. His power blinded him with pride, deceived him into thinking he was larger than Dharma or Truth. Ravana stole a princess, Sita, Rama’s wife, and a war was waged to get her back.

Blinded By Pride


And though Ravana was often blinded by pride, he was not completely blind to profound understanding. There was a moment before Ravana was to go into battle when in the night, he went up to a great tower, onto the roof of his palace, and suddenly had a great insight regarding time. With this understanding, he felt great freedom, like a band had broken from his chest. He danced for all of the heavens looking on and with his last step felt as though he’d crushed the tight hold with which time had him.

Straight Talk with Time

On his way down the stairs Ravana is confronted by Kala, the god of time. Kala is old and decrepit and wasted like a skeleton. He tells Ravana that soon he will be in time’s power and that Ravana will have to spend the rest of time paying for the sins of his lifetime. 

Ravana listens for a moment then scoffs, “You little liar!”

Kala retorts,”What? You stole Sita and you’ll pay-”

“You are the thief and not I,” said Ravana. “For a few moments’ pleasure you take whole lives in payment. And whatever you give you steal back, by fraud, from hiding, when you’re not watched. Death and misery are your good friends-but you are yourself unreal: you do not exist; you cannot steal from me.”

“Do you know who I am?” cried Kala.

“A marketplace of sorrows,” Replied Ravana

Kala said, “. . . your home is empty your friends have died and all the good times are long gone . . . all must change and die . . . .”


 “We know better than that,” said the Demon King, “Love is eternal and we are beyond your reach. . .  But I must be on my way now, I can’t be late, and my time is far too valuable to waste on anything but daydreams. . . Good love never dies.”
(Buck, pp. 334-9)

What We Need is Here


Despite his faults, Ravana still has the clarity to expose a startling truth: the past has dissolved, the future is an abstraction (has never been, really). All we have is now. We are always in the present. But despite the unreal natures of past and future, we seem to spend a lot of time there. Pining or regretting the past, biding time or biting our nails waiting for the future. What we need is here. What we have is now. I think what we really practice in yoga is presence. Presence with our breath. Presence with our muscles and bones in postures. Presence with other practitioner’s in class. What we pay for when we go to a yoga class isn’t the space, isn’t the time to do yoga, isn’t even necessarily instruction. What we get when we do yoga is a reminder to look inside and experience the timeless, the result of living continuously in the present.


A good friend of mine was sitting one morning in Small Town Coffee House in Kapa’a, Kauai soaking up the morning sun, feeling the tropical sweetness, and savoring a cup of jo when she looked over to the clock on the wall and instead of numbers pointing to the hour, each hour mark read, “Now. Now. Now.” I believe clocks are mostly misunderstood: they only point to now but translate what we read into what has or hasn’t happened, into past or future.


I invite you to enter into the realm of the timeless by being present with something, whether that’s a yoga class, a meditation, a Yoga Nidra meditation or spending the time(less) with your favorite people. We can practice presence at any moment of the day.
 

Poems


 
(Untitled)
 
The birds’ broken cadences through the glass remind me I am here. This moment, tender and fragile, potential for pleasure and loss. This moment, this life, is enough.
 
Celeste Keele
 

What We Need Is Here
 
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.
 
Wendell Berry
 

Works Cited:
Buck, William. Ramayana. Berkley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1976

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

 




Something In The Tea

I lived in Korea for a year teaching English and studying meditation. I loved to explore the locals-only part of this fascinating country.

One day a few friends and I wandered into a tea shop in the old part of town. At the back of the shop was a man, dressed in the Han Bok, the traditional Korean habit, who noticed us enter the shop.

Without a word he began to prepare tea. By the time we had swooned over the beautiful tea sets and had made our way to the back of the shop, the water was hot. It wasn’t until we arrived at the back of the narrow shop that we noticed the man sitting on the floor behind a small wooden table.

He motioned for us to join him. Taken aback, yet delighted, we sat on a few cushions lying on the floor in front of the low table.

The man poured the hot water into an ancient pot, its tea-stained cracks shone like the creased face of an elder.

We did not speak each other’s language and sat in a generous pocket of silence as the tea steeped.

After a few minutes, he laid out a few delicate tea cups and performed the proper ceremony to serve us all tea. His concentration and ceremony around pouring the tea felt like he was putting his heart into the tea.

We drank tea.

Small talk was impossible and would have been superfluous. We didn’t even attempt charades.

Several long minutes passed.

After the tea, its taste lingering on our tongues, we rose and humbly bowed to the tea master. He smiled and bowed humbly back.

We left the shop but he has never left our hearts.  

There was something in the tea.

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




Easy Practices That Can Help Improve Your Mindfulness

Nowadays, the world is getting faster: we get news in a matter of seconds; every year, we have to adapt to new technologies; everything now seems to be uncertain. No wonder, so many people feel constantly stressed.

The only way to deal with all this is to practice mindfulness. It is considered the basic human ability to be fully present at the moment, aware of what’s happening and where you are going. Mindfulness can help you get to know yourself better, deal with stress, and overcome fear and anxiety. More than that, it can also remodel the physical structure of your brain. Here is a list of practices that can help you wake up to the inner workings of your emotional, physical, and mental processes:

Meditation

Research suggests that mindfulness benefits our bodies, not just our minds.

Meditation is the fastest way to steady your mind when the world is falling apart around you. However, not everyone can do it – some people can’t relax; others just don’t understand how it works.

Meditation is a practice that can help you focus on what’s really important. To hear your inner voice, you need to press the pause button on your life and get rid of all thoughts. To prepare for meditation, find a quiet, comfortable place. Make sure to turn off your phone and ask your flatmates not to disturb you for at least half an hour.

It is crucial to set an intention before you start meditating. Ask yourself what worries you and what you want to improve at the moment. It is easier to find answers when you have formulated questions. If it is your first time, consider listening to a guided meditation. You can also put on some relaxing music, light aroma candles, or make a cup of tea with red maeng da leaves.

To activate the parasympathetic nervous system, close your eyes, and imagine that every time you exhale, tension and negativity go away; repeat it at least ten times in a row. Also, you can scan your body during meditation. Listen to the beat of your heart and try to visualize how blood flows through your veins. Body scanning can help you improve your sleep and combat tiredness.

You can repeat this practice every day in the morning or before going to sleep. Once you feel comfortable enough, practice meditation outside your room whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Write a story

People who have strong imagination can apply writing practice in order to improve their mindfulness. It can help to stop panic attacks, determine your problems, and find creative solutions. Every time you feel stressed but don’t understand the roots of the problem, open your diary or laptop (whatever you prefer more) and write your story down. You can write your story in the third person – describe yourself, your intentions, dreams, and fears. Build a new habit of writing down your thoughts every day.

Live in the present moment

Funny enough, adults create their fears on their own. Have you ever been anxious about your future? Or about something you have done wrong in the past? To break this pattern, practice living in the present moment. Every time you start thinking about your future or the past, look around. Tell yourself where you are and what you are doing at the moment. Once you list things that you see and feel, think how you can improve your well-being at this point. There is no need to worry about your future since you can’t predict it. Also, sometimes the worst is not as bad as you think; you have the strength to overcome everything that will stand in your way.

Take your mind off

Sometimes we can’t think of anything else except for our problems. If you can’t sleep well and quiet your mind, try to concentrate on something else. For instance, you can start reading novels. Watching television or Netflix won’t help since you it doesn’t require using your imagination as much as the reading process.

Reading helps get distracted for a while. The most interesting thing is that your mind subconsciously will still be looking for a solution to your problem. Have you ever heard someone saying ‘Oh, I find that book at the right time of my life’?

Once you distract your mind, you can find brilliant solutions or inspiration. This method was also described by an American psychologist and author Adam Grant.

Mindfulness is a skill that everyone can gain. The first and most important is to admit that there is something you want to improve in your life. Many people don’t understand what’s happening; they go with the flow and feel incomplete. If you want to get to know yourself, and live in harmony with other people, apply these easy practices on a daily basis. Keep asking yourself questions in order to understand why you feel and behave in a certain way.




9 Simple Ways You Can Tune In Spiritually Throughout Your Day for More Connection & Bliss

woman drives car

By Derek Rydall | Huffington Post

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can access Derek Rydall’s replay (on how to create Awakened Wealth) when you sign Up for our FREE CLN Speaker Series here. When you do, you’ll also get 11 amazing transformational downloads (worth $333!) as a bonus. 

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for the spiritual seeker is meditation. For the new initiate, it can be a frustrating, even painful, experience. And for many already on the path, there’s often still resistance to meditating consistently.

But meditation isn’t a chore; it’s a state of being that sets you free. It’s not about the technique — the technique is not meditation. The state of relaxed, undistractable attention — that moment you “shoot the gap” between thoughts and touch the timeless dimension of being — that is meditation.

Related Article: The Importance of Blending Surrender with Willpower on Your Spiritual Path

And there are as many paths to this connection as people.

In that light, I want to offer a practice that doesn’t require you to join a monastery or sit in lotus for hours. Using simple, one-minute sessions during the day, you can strengthen focus, lengthen attention, dissolve blocks, and increase connection — and still have time to live life fully.

In this way, you become what I call the “One-Minute Mystic.”

These practices are deceptively simple; most authentic spiritual practices are because they’re not about ego, which tends to need complex processes to make it feel important. So don’t brush them off or take their power for granted.

When you use them consistently — the key to their effectiveness — they will result in a transformational shift in consciousness.

Practices of the One-Minute Mystic:

1) Before you get out of bed, take a minute to connect with your breath. Watch it breathing itself. If your mind kicks in, assure it you’ll be with it shortly, then bring attention back to the breath. Instead of “Good God, it’s morning!” try, “Good morning, God” Give thanks for everything in your life — including life itself — then put your feet on the floor.

2) As you take your bath or shower, take a minute to become conscious of the water against your skin, the sensations, the sounds. Stay in your body, instead of drifting into the future, planning your day or fantasizing that you won that argument! As your body is cleansed, affirm that mental and emotional debris is being washed away as well.

3) At breakfast, take a minute to smell the aromas, taste the food, and give thanks that it’s fueling your body. For a longer contemplation, trace back the origins of your meal. Those eggs were delivered by a truck driver, stocked by a grocer, gathered on a farm. Someone fed the chicken, delivered the feed, harvested the grain, and planted the seed. Millions of people went into making that breakfast possible — not to mention the animals, sun, rain, and the whole cosmic dance of the universe.

4) In your car (or on mass transit), when you reach a stop, take a minute to watch your breath, give thanks for the perfect harmony in the universe, and how it’s reflected in the way the traffic lights and streets organize and order the chaos.

Related Article: 30 Simple Mindfulness Practices to Help You Focus and Be Present

5) At work, before beginning, take one minute to give thanks for your job, bless everyone there, everyone it touches on the planet, and intend this to be the most inspired day of your life. If you’re ‘unemployed,’ give thanks for all the abilities you have, and the extra time for contemplation and connection with loved ones. If negativity arises, breathe, watch it, then focus on what you’re grateful for. This cultivates a mindset of abundance.

6) When you use the restroom, take a minute to give thanks for how your body eliminates what no longer serves — and affirm that your heart and mind are doing the same. If you’re having physical problems, focus on a healthy area. Feel the well-being there, give thanks for it. This cultivates the inner conditions for greater health to emerge.

7) Every hour or so, stop for one minute to check in, breathe, re-connect, give thanks for your life, and go back to work. This is the foundational practice of the One-Minute Mystic. If you do nothing else, this practice alone will have a significant impact.

8) At night, if you watch TV, pause during commercials and re-connect. Market your own life-enhancing images to your mind, rather than letting someone else do it.

9) As you fall asleep, affirm that your mind and body are renewed while you rest and that you will awaken more inspired than ever before.

As you practice being a One-Minute Mystic, it might feel mechanical and require discipline. But after a while, you’ll notice yourself turning within to re-connect automatically — even with your eyes open, in the midst of conversation or activity.

Related Article: 8 Methods of Grounding and Connecting to the Earth’s Frequencies

The key is consistency. As you stop, for just a minute, several times throughout your busy schedule, you’ll not only have more energy and creativity — you’ll literally create new neuropathways that eventually allow you to feel centered, tapped in, and turned on all day long!

Stay Inspired,

Derek

Access awesome Awakened Wealth audio by Derek Rydall when you sign up for our FREE CLASS Speaker Series here (plus get $333 in bonuses).

Read more great articles at Huffington Post.



Going Home

What if our soul is, as poet Mary Oliver says, “pure light that shines where no one is”?

In her poem (conveniently titled Poem), Mary Oliver speaks to the notion of the soul like this: “Airy and shapeless thing,/ it needs/ the metaphor of the body. . . to be understood/ to be more than pure light /that burns/ where no one is.”

But the body, metaphor or not, isn’t an obstacle to transcend on the way to something higher, something deeper. Rather it is both the avenue to know the True Self, as well as a knowing in and of itself. Truly the marriage of the form and what animates it, the True Self, is the full picture of the human experience.

I’ve always said that poets are yogis with a pen and wield the same searing awareness as sages. Mary Oliver’s inquiry into the nature of the soul is perfectly aligned with Vedanta, ancient yoga philosophy, which states that we all have several layers or sheaths called kosahs which shroud our True Nature and by practicing awareness to these layers, we come to know what lies beneath. The body isn’t the only metaphor for our True Self. Other koshas, or layers, include our energy body, our thought and emotional body, our subconscious beliefs body, etc.

Vedanta philosophy says that what is real is the True Self and what is false is the koshas. All the koshas, feel very real because we can see, feel, think, or otherwise substantiate them, right?Vedanta says that when we really get down to it, anything that is changeable doesn’t qualify to be the True Self, the part of us that by definition can’t change because it always is.

And here’s the tricky part, even though koshas, the changeable parts of us, aren’t the True Self,  they are the most easily accessible parts to be aware of, and therefore are perhaps the only way in which we can experience and come to know the “pure light” which is awareness itself.

And how does one substantiate that concept? We come to know ourselves through practices like meditation and yoga, dance and love. Practice to listen. Listen to practice.

These koshas are like mummy wrappings. And while not the most “real” part of our being, give us clues at least to what’s underneath, to what is real. For me, yoga is the dance between that pure light True Self and the mummy wrapping outer self. Yoga is finding where those two realms meet and converse. Sometimes we get small glimpses at our pure light and understand the rest of the world with astounding clarity, or at least can appreciate our bodies, emotions, etc.

The hardest work is not to mistake the wrappings for the light, nor detest the wrappings because they aren’t the light. Eventually we stop seeing the mummy’s wrappings and start seeing simultaneously the wrappings and the light.

Then something really magical happens: we look at someone else and see or sense the same light beneath their wrappings of pain, ego, cynicism, or whatever, even if they neither see us or themselves in that same way. This vision into someone else’s light is compassion at its lowest form and Oneness at it’s highest. When we’ve seen ourselves and others from this deeper vantage point, we won’t/can’t go back to not seeing or knowing.

Plus, with this new vision into things as they truly are, we wake up to a beautiful awareness and find heaven in the most ordinary of things, like the breeze on our skin, the smell of garden, or the sound of the music. We become astoundingly and exquisitely aware because that is what we are the pure light of awareness.

One of the oldest mantras is the world is The Gayatri mantra which states, “Everything in the heavens and in the earth and in between is arising from one effulgent source. If my thoughts, words and deeds reflected a complete understanding of this unity, I would be the peace I am seeking in this moment.” It’s just sometimes we forget. We forget our true nature. We forget our source.

Yoga means union and is a practice that literally helps us to re-member, to come back together, body and soul, both individually and collectively, until we realize we are all part of the same big source of vital aliveness. We come to realize that this work is never ending that we will always have to work and continue to refine our ability to see.

When we see a lifetime of work ahead of us, it can sometimes feel a bit daunting.  But here’s the good news: IT FEELS GOOD! It feels good to practice. It feels good to see. It feels good to experience the world with this kind of clarity, especially when balanced with yoga’s two tempering qualities of sukam sthirim, of ease and steadiness.  

 

In her other poem, Bone, Mary Oliver says this:

and what the soul is, also

I believe I will never quite know.

Though I play at the edges of knowing,

truly I know

our part is not knowing,

but looking, and touching, and loving,

which is the way I walked on,

softly,

through the pale-pink morning light.

She says that we will never know. Not truly. But the degree to which we do know is the ability to simply practice of awareness which can happen while looking, touching, loving. This is the essence of our practice, the practice of every-day living.

The conscious crooner Leonard Cohen so eloquently addresses this topic in only the best Leonard Cohen fashion possible. Quirky factoid: from a young age Leonard Cohen has always felt most comfortable wearing a suit. I’m talkin’ full-on jacket and tie 365 days a year. I think his dad was a tailor. In his song Going Home, recorded at 78 years old just a few years before he died, you get the sense that he understands his own imminent mortality as he drops these poetically poignant lines:

I’d like to speak to Leonard

he’s a sportsman and a shepherd.

He’s a lazy bastard living in a suit. . . .

He will speak these words of wisdom

Like a sage, a man of vision

Though he knows he’s really nothing

But the brief elaboration of a tube

Going home

Without my sorrow

Going home

Sometime tomorrow

To where it’s better

Than before

Going home

Without my burden

Going home

Behind the curtain

Going home

Without the costume

That I wore

Leonard Cohen is talking about finally taking off that 3-piece suit but of course is simultaneously talking about shedding the small self, the old rags if you will—body, ego and all that—to see the radiant Self beneath. There’s also a tacit teaching that it’s through the body that we learn to ultimately understand beyond the body. This shedding of the costume could be the enlightenment after a lifetime of lyrical contemplation (in this case set to iambic pentameter none the less!) or perhaps the radical change that happens when we die.

After all, like he notes of himself, aren’t we all physically reduced to the brief elaboration of a tube? Check out this song. Leave it to L.C. to speak to the most sublime holy and eternal part in all of us directly and bluntly while his raspy voice poetically paints the perfect picture with his concise lyrics. Such clarity in vision can only be express with equally clear words, after all language is a philosophy, an art, and a practice in itself.

I invite you to practice dancing between the realm of self and Self. Perhaps this will help us see ourselves and our world more clearly.

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program




Under What Circumstances Can Mindfulness Be Unhelpful?

By Stanley M. Goodman

Mindfulness and meditation are buzzwords in the modern age in which mental illness has been thrust under the spotlight. Mindfulness, mental wellness and all of the rest of these ideas of pseudo-medicative measures are constantly touted as being key solutions to the increasingly alarming statistics about mental health at home, in schools and in the workplace. One of the most appealing aspects to ‘mindfulness’ is how inoffensive it seems. It’s not like medication with all sorts of controversy and potentially unexpected side-effects, or like the potentially tedious and old school solution of therapy. It’s current and easy to understand with plenty of vagaries surrounding it which helps it to be suitable for just about anyone. However, one of the other things intrinsic to its nature is the fact that mindfulness is not fully understood in terms of potentially negative externalities. So, without further ado, here is a brief exploration of the negative sides to mindfulness.

Adversity Amongst Positivity

Though it seems a somewhat redundant thing to say, difficulties feel more difficult in the context of happiness and with the assumption of success hanging over it. This is relevant when thinking about mindfulness in the following way. People who attempt casual meditation or mindfulness may find that the process upsets them more than helps them. Or, in a milder sense, they might just feel that the process hasn’t made any difference to them at all. The problem with both of these results is their context. “Mindfulness practices are so obviously geared towards positivity and are so widely embraced as life changing that if you have a bad experience with them or even just a neutral response it is likely to be made even more negative as a result of seeming like you’ve failed”, says Mercedes Foster-Ramirez, lifestyle blogger at Writinity and LastMinuteWriting. It can be isolating for anyone who tries it and doesn’t get what is supposed to be received from it.

Freeform And Unregulated

Again, we have one of the major benefits to mindfulness proving that it has a darker side with some major potential issues at play. The ease with which mindfulness can be completed and the fact in which there is no need for a professional coach, doctor or other sort of authority figure about that to do when. The benefits to this are clear: it’s convenient and cheap and can be done at home or in the office, really anywhere. But the problems are also clear: “There’s no degree opportunities for people to train in this field. There is an awful lot of making it up as you go along and relying on people to intuit how it works, which can leave people vulnerable to mistakes and to long term issues”, writes Jacqueline Mourelle, mindfulness writer at DraftBeyond and ResearchPapersUK. Any of these uncertainties are a breeding ground for difficulty for all sorts of people.

Serious Psychological Consequences

Ax harmless and almost pointless it seems to be, mindfulness exercises can actually have some major issues for people who have underlying issues. In particular, this includes people with latent issues, life things like PTSD. Mindfulness usually involves some degree of attempting relax your active thoughts and empty your head. For some people this act in of itself is really difficult and may cause unwanted thoughts to seep into their minds as the process goes on leaving them greatly affected by the experience moving forward. Couple this with the point bout adversity amongst positivity and you have a potent recipe for damaging mental health rather than helping it and a process which may be better off being left alone rather than embraced.

Conclusion

With no experts in the field but instead an overwhelming victory in the people’s vote, mindfulness can seem easy to adopt. It often serves as a corporate get out of jail free card, whereby companies embrace it as the quick fix to workplace stress. But, carried out with no regard for potential risks, mindfulness can be really tough on certain types of people and leave anyone who doesn’t immediately subscribe to the feelgood factor, feeling incredibly isolated and hopeless. So, take a careful look at the practice before engaging and make your choices based on the facts, not speculation.

Stanley M. Goodman is an e-learning consultant at GumEssays.com, as well as a health entrepreneur from Fullerton, USA. He helps his clients develop professional and personal brands relating to healthcare. He enjoys writing for LuckyAssignments.com about his own experience in entrepreneurship and marketing.




A Mantra That Stings Like A Bee

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

And so he did. This was Muhammad Ali’s mantra. Perhaps yoga and mindfulness isn’t often associated with Muhammad Ali, yoga’s first principle of non-harming and all that, but he was someone who was particularly adroit in his use of the yogic principle of mantra and visualization. His iconic mantra has become synonymous with a champion. What is the power of mantra and visualization and how can they be used to mold reality like they did for  Muhammad Ali, and how can we use these tools to achieve our dreams?

 

Writing the Script on Reality

Although his mantra practically became his sonic name tag, it wasn’t just a pithy phrase he liked to throw around because it was catchy; it wasn’t his slogan or his attempt at branding himself. Maybe few understood that Ali’s mantra was his access point into his deep inner-source that believed he would be the boxing heavyweight champion of the world. Saying it over and over again was his craft, the practice of helping the logical part of his mind both believe and expect this belief to become reality.

In addition to using his mantra, Muhammad Ali visualized over and over his fight with Sonny Liston where he would win the heavyweight championship. He saw himself win the title thousands of times in his head before ever stepping into the ring. By the time he stepped into the ring, all that was left to do was the final step, the physical practice of what he already knew was true. And Muhammad Ali isn’t alone. It was like he theatre of life—he knew the script and on opening night he simply needed to go on stage and perform the play.

It reminds me of a story in the Hindu scripture, The Bhagavad Gita, where the God-turned-mortal Krishna is instructing the warrior prince Arjuna about his duty to fight in an epic battle. At Arjuna’s reluctance, Krishna pulls him aside and informs him that truth and time is not so linear and that the battle has already been fought and won. Knowing this, Krishna told Arujuna that the important thing is that he must go out there and fulfill his dharma, his destiny. Similar to what Ali told himself through visualization and mantra, Krishna told Arjuna to tap into the source of belief of what was already true.

 

Thought Precedes Form

Many psychologists and neuroscientists will affirm that despite our trust in it, our mind isn’t necessarily the best preceptor of reality; it’s readily subject to prejudice, interpretations, and misapprehension. In yoga philosophy the name for this misapprehension is Avidya, the opposite of clear seeing. Like modern brain science suggests, two people might see the same facts and both have wildly different beliefs about translating those facts. They might even debate what is real. Thus our mind is subject to our own personal beliefs and prejudices. Our mind creates a “reality” from a dizzying array of options suggested by our perceptions, interpretations, and desires. This subjectivity tugs at the very fabric the notion of reality.

Yoga suggests that since our beliefs are so powerful in contributing to our reality, we can use things like mantras and visualization to help us create our reality, perhaps like Muhammad Ali and Arjuna, a reality that somehow in our hearts what we know is already true. We have a bigger part to play in creating our reality than we think. Mantra and visualizations can help.

Beliefs change all the time. One minute you believe in the Tooth Fairy and the next you don’t.  In Vedanta, a school of yogic philosophy, the sheath or layer of our being that negotiates beliefs, both conscious and subconscious, is called the Vignana Mayakosha. Yeah, it’s a crazy name this part of our being is perhaps more powerful than we sometimes give it credit.

Dr. Bruce Lipton, an internationally recognized biologist and author who works to bridge science and spirit, says that 95% of our decision making comes from our subconscious. If we can learn to source and even manipulate our subconscious, there’s no telling what power we might have over our own world. Visualizations and mantra are two very effective and powerful ways of shaping our world. Muhammad  Ali powerfully demonstrated his ability mold his reality of being the heavyweight champion of the world using mantra and visualization. 

 

The Power of Words

Words are powerful. Religious texts like The Bible even says that “In the beginning was the Word  . . . and the Word was God.” In the Hindu scripture, The Yoga Sutras, the principle of Satya or truth is the second highest principle behind non-harming because of the power of words. For longer than recorded history, magic, mythic, and religious traditions have regarded certain words, whether vocalized or thought, as both sacred and powerful. I heard one of my yoga teachers, Judeth Lasater, say, “What is worrying but praying for what you don’t want.” Thus is the power of thoughts and words.

So put words to the test. I invite you to choose those words that, like Muhammad Ali, like Arjuna, will manifest your sacred destiny. And I invite you to find a way of reciting them to manifest their power in your life. Maybe you know already your mantra, what words you need to evoke for you to live into your true destiny. Perhaps words like: Power, Clarity, Forgiveness, Strength, etc. Maybe you need to discover what your mantra is.

I invite you to do a meditation in order to distill your clarity on which words are right for you. This meditation doesn’t have to come by spending months in the desert in deep contemplation. Rather, maybe 10 minutes concentrating on clearly answering a few questions for yourself. You’ll know it when it comes. Maybe it will take a few days of meditating for a few minutes each day.

Here’s the mantra-finding process: First, ask yourself what has been reoccurring in your life recently as a theme that you need to pay attention to. Another way to answer this question is to think about what ways the Universe is asking you to grow right now—what challenges are presenting themselves to you now, asking you to grow? Next, don’t allow your thinking mind to take over, here, but rather let the answer to this next question be instinct, the first thing that comes to mind: What does your heart know is your purpose for this world? Distill the answer to these questions down to a phrase or maybe even one word (don’t worry, you can change it if you need to, you don’t have to marry that word for life) but allow yourself to use that word or phrase as your powerful catalyst forward to what you already believe about yourself.

Then, if you’re inclined, grab a mala (you can get these at any crystal and incese, dragon and rainbows shop). They are beaded necklaces with 108 beads on them. The Mala’s will usually have a tassel on them representing the beginning and the end. Hold the mala on the first bead between your right thumb and middle finger, just beyond the tassel. In your mind or aloud, repeat your word or phrase then move to the next bead. Do this over and over again until you come to the end of the mala. If it’s short and you’d like a longer meditation, turn the mala around and repeat the mantra going the other way on the mala until you come back to the tassel. After your meditation watch to see how you see the world differently and how you live into the beliefs that you bring to your mind through mantra.

In addition to discovering your mantra, create a visualization where you see yourself perform what you’d like to arrive for yourself over and over. Remember to use all of your senses and think about it happening in the moment, instead of dreaming for a future. The part of our brain and the part of our consciousness that we are accessing only understand now. Spend a few minutes in visualization to see yourself succeed and just like Muhammad Ali, become the champion of your world.

If you’re interested in a free relaxing Beach Paradise visualization, please visit my website.

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Tuscany and France , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program