Meditation: Observe Without Identifying With Change


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In this meditation, we are going to centre in that inner posture, that holds us in the witness consciousness, observing mode, without judgement, without labelling, without like and dislike. Just learn to observe. The only aspect that does not change is that witness conscious aspect of being, where you observe all that changes; mind changes, emotion changes, body changes. Observe everything from that centre of being, where you do not identify with the change. The goal is not to identify with the change, just to observe the change from that centre of peacefulness.

The goal is to observe how we quickly identify with change. A thought comes, and we become carried away by it. An emotion comes, and we get carried away by it. The body’s vitality changes, and we become carried away by it. Is it possible that we can observe everything without being carried away, without losing that centre of consciousness where we are constantly in present moment observation?

A good practice here, as you stay observing without judgement, is to focus on your breathing – breath awareness. Just allow the breath to gracefully and naturally flow as you breathe out completely and breathe in deeply. A rhythmic breath allows us to become more peaceful, more stable in the consciousness. Observe the human experience.

Observe the physical body without judgement. Observe how the belly breathes when you relax the belly. Observe how the chest opens up as you fill the lungs. Observe how the shoulders move to allow for a deeper breath. Observe how the breath flows out as you push the breath out completely. Just observe, and in a very natural way, breathe.

Clear the mind of thoughts that you will stay fully in the present moment, observing that mental experience of being. If a thought comes, gently push it away. If many thoughts come, take a remote view; allow them to come, allow them to go. Just witness them. And learn how to observe the human experience. If emotions come, again observe them, do not be carried away by them, and come into a place of equanimous being; just observing the duality from that space of acceptance and lovingness. Sustain that awareness. That is learning how to go deeper into the reality.

Excerpt of guided meditation by Sri Vasudeva, for more go to  www. blue-star.org

The Way of the Flower


Today I would like to bring your awareness to who  you are and how you influence the world.  We’re all striving to create a better world and one of the best ways of doing it is simply the way a beautiful little flower influences its environment.  If you think of why you are drawn to a little flower in a garden,  you’re attracted to its fragrance and its beauty.  A flower doesn’t say anything to you directly, yet it draws everyone to its beauty and it can transform its environment.  Its mere presence changes the environment.  If you take the lesson of a simple flower, you can see  how you can be a positive influence on your environment without saying anything.  Sometimes too much speech is unnecessary. When you keep on saying the same things, people don’t hear it anymore,  they automatically tune out.  Through the fragrance and the beauty of your divine Self, can you influence the environment in a very positive way?

Take responsibility by observing your actions

It calls for being the Witness, the observer in every moment.  Can you be watchful today and see how you are influencing your environment by what you think, what you say and what you do?  That’s a way of taking responsibility for our environment, our world.  

Sometimes we just do as we feel.  Sometimes in our weakness, we do things that create disharmony and conflict around us.  Sometimes we want to teach lessons to those around us and we take the way of force and fear and creating pressure.   Can we think of a gentle way?   Can we think of a very powerful and effective way just as a flower influences its environment by its being?  Can we manifest what we would like to see around us?  Can we be the example?

 If we love to see silence, can we be powerfully silent,  lovingly silent, unaffected by anything around us and unaffected by anyone?  Can our silence be so powerful that those around us will be drawn into silence, automatically?  Can you see the power of it?  Can you work in your environment in such a way, that people can’t help but are drawn in to look at you:  “How marvelously she works!  How in the moment she is!  How spontaneous is her smile!  How kind is her look!  How gentle are her words!”  Can we do that?  Can our silence, our beautiful actions, our wonderful thoughts be so apparent in its beauty that people can’t help but be attentive to and experience a transforming effect?  Can your kindness be so felt that people can’t help but notice it?  Not that you want them to notice, but it’s so beautiful to look at, to observe.  

This is a way that we can really transform our world, not in the preaching of many words, not in creating guilt and pressure because of what we want to see in others.   We can become the beautiful example, so powerful in our expressions that they begin to see the beauty of what we’re doing and automatically begin to be influenced by it.  That’s the way of the flower.  That’s how the flower transforms its environment.  

May your peacefulness, your love, your silence, your kindness, your compassion be so resonant today that we can’t help but notice it and be transformed by it.  Sri Vasudeva

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Stay In The Fundamental Awareness of “I Am”


Excerpt from Sri Vasudeva’s Morning Talk, November 10th 2016

Observe the energy of the ego in its drives, in its actions and reactions, in its inflation and deflation. But not only that, observe the root consciousness of the “I” that takes us right back to the Source: “I exist.” Not “I am this, I am that, I want this, I want that, I feel this, I feel that.” No, just “I am.” Go back to the root consciousness of the “I” and just observe. That is where you begin to feel that at that root, there is peace, power, potential, possibilities.

When engaged in the world, stay in that fundamental awareness of “I exist in this space, and this is what is happening in the space around me.” Begin to experience the space from that centre of being, that “I am” that is peaceful. Begin to experience the world from there and see how anger, jealousy, pride, lust may arise in you. See the qualities of goodness as well; peace, unity, harmony, charity and kindness. See how they play without judging them; “I am bad because a negative quality arises in me.” Say “This is interesting.” Change it from judgement to being interesting. “I want to understand how I become inflated, deflated, how I become judgemental, how I become caught.” Then you begin to see the process of how you engage in a very unconscious, compulsive, reactive way.

The more you can come back to that “I”  that fundamental space and observe, you can learn so much about what happens inside of you and how you react to things and how conditioned we become from the years of choices we have made and experiences we have had. And that is where real change begins; where you are able to see differently. If you cannot see differently, then you are caught; you react to people, you react to the world. But the moment you can see it clearly, then you see that you can choose differently, and that is where the transformation can be. So coming back to that root awareness of self brings you into a place where you can see more, and that seeing is important.

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Dropping The Baggage


I have been observing my mind’s tendency to create stories and trying to arrest that habit.

The first time I discovered a story I was really so surprised, because I was treating this story as if it was the “truth” not realizing it was something made up by the mind. I took the story and attempted to delete my interpretations, bias, feelings… trying to find the core idea. I kept simplifying the idea until it was expressed in one or two short sentences.

In this way I dropped the baggage associated with the idea and it was easier to decide what to do with it. In a very natural way the idea fell away if it didn’t serve me and if it was useful, new information came to me, now that the field was cleared of the clutter.

As you would guess the more I engaged in this practice, the lighter I felt and more peace seemed to fill my being.

There is lots more I want to tell you about this practice but I want to give you a chance first to try this practice yourself, so that we can explore it in an experiential way together. You see once I did this practice a few times I found I didn’t have to do it every time because in the process I learned about why the mind was creating those stories but that is for the next time we chat.

Two Attitudes To “I Don’t Know”


I’ve been exploring consciousness expansion practices with the key element of remaining open to all possibilities. I set out with the intention of finding out what observing from an open space would be like. A natural progression was wondering what happens when the observing takes place in a closed space.
There were a number of situations that occurred these past few days where I had to make a decision or take some action and I didn’t know what to do and from what I can see they fell into two categories. I’ll give you an example of each.
When I am creating a new workshop or writing teaching materials I often don’t have a starting point. There is stress as I look for inspiration to get started. As the deadline for submission draws near, the stress builds up. But deep inside me I feel that some idea will come and I keep looking. Indeed once the inspiration starts to flow I can hardly type fast enough to capture all the ideas. It feels like I’m carried by a wave as the creative process unfolds. When I look back at materials that came out of this type of experience I still find the materials interesting, they stand the test of time. So I ask myself how could I transfer this experience/ process to when I’m working with challenging patterns of behavior in myself. Because this must be what observing from an open space must be like.
On the other hand when I observe myself and encounter unhelpful emotions or patterns of behavior then sometimes I get very upset with what I see. I can get swept up in negative feelings. I start to feel powerless. I know in the moment that I’m feeling contracted but I find it difficult to change and until this practice of observing process I didn’t have a clue as to how to move forward. I now realize that my attitude is closed. I’m observing from a closed space. In this scenario when I realize I don’t know what to do I see it as an end point. Whereas when I’m writing and I don’t know what to do next I see it as a starting point and that the inspiration will come. This was like a thunderbolt to me; I have two radically different attitudes when I feel “I don’t know”. One attitude leads to new discoveries and the other attitude lands me mired in misery. Can you see the difference in the two “I don’t knows”?
The next step was to try to apply a change in process when feeling contracted by seeing unpleasant patterns of behavior in myself. How could this be the starting instead of the end point? I could focus my attention on the information and tools that I already have about making changes. I could pay attention to the role models around me and draw motivation from them. I could pray for support while keeping alert so that I recognize the help when it comes. There are so many things I can do. I can see how this approach would open up the space.
I have to keep at this longer to see where it will take me. Hope this all makes sense to you. Let me know what you think.

Beginning To Figure Out How I Observe


 

 

 

 

 

Stop-at-the-first-thought-and-witnessA big part of my spiritual journey has been observing what is happening with me. I’ve focused a lot on what I observe in my inner space. So for example I can now see the types of thoughts I create in my mind and the emotions they generate. Of course I have been very interested in managing my mental and emotional creations.

 

I can also observe the vast space behind the thoughts and emotions, exploring the inner silence that is a constant companion.

 

In other words I’ve become more familiar with what is in my inner space. In a way it’s like entering a room and becoming familiar with what is in the room. I’ve enjoyed playing in that room, moving the “furniture” around and creating a pleasing environment. The furniture is like the events in my inner space.

I can say I have developed more confidence in my ability to observe myself. That is an important mile stone, “I can observe!”

 

 

 

 

Now I want to turn my attention to how I observe. What process do I use in observing? What are different ways of observing? What types of options are there? What is the effect of the different ways of observing? Are there more constructive ways of observing? Hmmm very interesting don’t you think? I shall report back on what I have discovered :). In the mean time feel free to share your process of observing.

Note the marvelous mindmap created by Paul Foreman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have I Taken Control Of My Day Or Is My Day Controlling Me?


How quickly time is passing by! We are well into the new year. I have to reflect on what’s been happening to see if I am spending my time in a way that is congruent with my larger vision for myself.

So far today have I taken control of my day or did I allow it to control me? Or was there a mixture of both; sometimes I was in charge and sometimes it controlled me? When and in what situations did I allow the day to control me? Was I controlled by the feelings of the body, or the triggers that come from other people, or energies from around me? How did I feel when things around controlled me? What was the feeling when I was in charge of what was happening?

Did I go with the flow of things and was I still in control? Was I keeping aware and changing when I thought it is not going where I want it to go? Did I manage my thoughts and emotions and align myself to what was happening around me in such a way that I felt more harmony?

Today my intention is to uplift my Self, Self inside and Self outside, to recognize the very same Source inside of me is looking at me through another, to come to the awareness that this is my Self in another person, “those eyes are looking from the same space that is inside of me”.

I seek to understand my Higher Self in everybody else. I want to understand that, I want to feel that, I want to know that Higher Self, to see my Higher Self in everything!

I want to recognize the energy working within me, and within others, feel peace within me, and recognize peace within others. The more I can feel that Higher Self inside of me, the more I will see it in others. It is by knowing Self that I begin to know my world.

I will keep a check on that ego part of me that is looking to be satisfied with the little things – a little fight here, a little pleasure there, the need for recognition here, not wanting to serve there, the need to protect personal property, the desire not to give but to hoard. All these are ego plays that serve no purpose. There is so much to learn, there is so much to know and there is so much to experience in every day! Today I am going to keep myself on track.

 

A Meditation Awareness While Drinking Water


 

I had a lot of private feedback about the last blog post on Diet As Spiritual Practice in addition to the marvelous comments posted here. It seems like that post hit a chord. Some of you were asking about how I learned to become so in tune with my body. You said that you don’t pick up the signals of the body the way I talked about in that post.

One thing to keep in mind is that I have developed a close relationship with my body over time. This closeness didn’t just happen, it has deepened over the years. I really believe in investing in a relationship, because one of the great values that I hold strongly to, is that I can make a difference in my life.

 

When I was very young I couldn’t stand pain in the body. Someone said to me, “Get used to it. That’s how life is.” I just couldn’t accept this statement, that life would throw pain to me at random and there was nothing I could do about it. It was pain avoidance that got me started in observing how my actions affected my experience of my body. I feel like my body speaks to me all the time, the thing is that I have to learn to listen to the body. This practice of listening and adjusting my behavior based on the feedback I am getting, also translates to every other area of my life, including my sitting meditation. It is a life skill!

 

So lets talk about how to start listening to the body’s signals. Today notice when you feel thirsty. What does thirsty feel like? I notice the dryness in my lips, mouth and throat. There is discomfort in my skin and internal organs but that is harder to describe and a much more subtle signal to pick up.

glass-water-32Then as I take a little sip of water at a time, I see the changes start to happen immediately as the dryness gets washed away. It’s like I can almost feel the cells in my body becoming more turgid as the water gets absorbed in the body because I feel more alert, refreshed.

Notice the feeling in the body that tells you how much to drink, that you have had enough.  As the water works its way through the body you might not notice it, but when it is time to eliminate the waste, notice what that feels like.

Now look back from the times you drank  water during the day, even if you can only remember one time when you consciously did it, to now that it has been eliminated.

What impact did this water have on you? What adjustments need to be made for a better experience? Even if I don’t feel I have the answers clearly, I might experiment by changing the temperature of the water, the quantity I drink, the quality of the water, my mood when I was drinking and any other factors I can think of that might affect the experience.

Do you see how the practice of observing the body signals can translate to other areas? Don’t you feel more aware of the power of choice, not just in drinking water but in so many other moments in life? Do you see the same conscious way of observing ourselves as we drink water, is the same way that we observe ourselves in sitting meditation? Training yourself to consciously engage is a marvelous life skill. Consciously drinking water is a fairly safe practice ground. What do you think? Have I given you a good starting point?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diet As Spiritual Practice


 

Happy new year everyone! I often feel when I write here, that we are sitting down for a cup of tea and having a lovely chat as we catch up on what is happening in our lives. I hope you feel that closeness too.

 

 

Traditionally at the start of a new year I set resolutions. But this year I didn’t set new ones since I feel my intentions from last year are still very relevant. I’m going to continue to give a lot of focus on my physical health. The better my body feels then the easier it is to focus on spiritual growth. In fact I use the same tools of observation that I develop from my sitting meditation, the same connection with the inner and outer guides, to help me to craft a diet that works best for me.

 

I’ve been experimenting with my diet to see if I could find ways to boost my feeling of health and well-being. I’ve found that my body is not the same all the time so it’s needs change. When I go to buy my groceries I pay attention to my body so that I can get cues on the supplies I need to better support the body. Of course I’m also paying attention to the signals I feel as I look at the various grocery items. Sometimes an idea pops into my mind, something that I wouldn’t have thought of before. Another way of saying this is that I stay open to the guidance that may come to me about what I need to pick up.

 

 

Even in the preparation of the food I look for guidance and inspiration. The way I choose to prepare the food depends on what the body needs and what would make it most accessible for the body at that time. I don’t have a fixed way of preparing food. So for example sometimes I go for making smoothies, sometimes I make various raw spreads, sometimes I choose to cook my food. It all depends on the state of health of my body. Of course such a choice comes from observing the effect on my body of various forms of food preparations.

 

 

I notice that food combinations really make a difference, some vegetables go well together and some not so much. Spices also have an effect, what spices I select, their quality and when they are added to the food. Some vegetables and fruits give me more of a boost than others. I am always testing things out to see their effect.

 

For example,  sometimes I notice that I get more from eating fruits individually, as a snack in between meals, than as a fruit salad or together with other foods.

 

 

The liquids I consume changes a lot too.  These days I’ve reduced the amount of tea I drink which is a little surprising. Usually in the winter time I like the hot drinks. Instead I’m drinking more room temperature water, smaller quantities but more frequent intervals. I find this gives me a better feeling of hydration. That brings me to timing, really noticing the impact of what I drink and when I drink it. I prefer to drink between meals rather than during the meal, unless the meal is very dry. I find I digest faster and feel the lift, the energy of the food more when I do this.

 

 

I like to eat slowly since I usually love what I’m eating. So I like to savor the tastes and textures. It’s also very interesting to see how the experience of the food changes from the tip of the tongue, as it goes down the throat and the whole digestive process, all the way to elimination. Here is a marvelous video showing the process of digestion.

 

Because I eat slowly I can better feel the stomach filling up, and I can gauge the most comfortable degree of fullness for me. If I get too full, I feel stuffed up, digestion is slow and I feel sluggish and out of sorts until the stomach becomes freer. If I’m not full enough then I feel kind of hollow, a sense of incompleteness. I can feel the gas in my stomach, which bubbles up as the food is eaten. At that point I’m usually full.

 

As much as I enjoy the taste of some foods, the driving force in my choice of food is how much it enhances my feeling of health and well-being. So the whole food preparation process is an integral part of my spiritual practice. You are familiar with my quest to expand my awareness, to make more conscious choices, to gain greater insight on navigating this human experience and I approach my diet from this point of view, as very much a spiritual practice. It is in fact a marvelous and practical way to grow the experience of witness consciousness.

I wish you the best of health in 2013!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pause That Keeps On Giving


 

This weekend we have been pausing and waiting for Divine guidance before entering into a situation. I have made some very interesting discoveries about when I connect with that guidance and when I don’t connect.

 

I notice that if in that pause I have already come to some conclusion about what is happening, then the result is that I have shut myself off from any kind of guidance. I feel contracted, confused, messed up. The trick is to train myself to open up to more, whenever I notice these types of negative feelings.

 

I begin the opening process by telling myself there are many possible interpretations of the signals that I’m picking up. As I try to observe more and hold off on drawing conclusions I start to come into a better frame of mind. I start to feel a change inside myself. I see the challenge the incident is presenting me but somehow there is a little space that allows more uplifting feelings to seep in. Then the guidance comes in how to act.

I need to practice pausing more before I enter into situations, I’m becoming very interested in this practice because it is improving my relationships. I’m not getting so cranky :). How is it going for you?