meditation monday – meditation for fall

fall is without a doubt my favorite season.  while i live in sunny southern california, where we are somewhat immune to the sweater weather and golden autumn leaves, i still love the general feeling of fall.  it is a time when we can truly examine our own, inner personal harvest, and how our life has grown.

in honor of this beautiful season, i’d like to offer up a contemplative meditation for fall.  enjoy!

meditation for fall

come to a comfortable sitting pose, with your eyes closed gently.

begin with three to five deep, long breaths.  with each inhale, pause for just a few seconds before the exhale.  let your body’s energy settle, and return your breath to normal breathing.

spend five or so minutes with your attention simply resting on the breath.  feel each inhale and exhale within your body.

when you are ready, begin to survey your year’s harvest; what have you achieved?  what great moments or lessons have you been gifted with this year?  what challenges have you been faced with and overcome?  let yourself sit with these moments.  give thanks for them, and give thanks to yourself for cultivating these gifts and lessons.  continue contemplating your harvest, your strength, and your greatness for as as you’d like.  allow yourself time to examine even the smallest moments.

then, turn your attention to those who have assisted in the realization of your harvest.  give thanks for their love, strength, and support.  commit to giving back that strength, support, and love.

next, take the time to release.  in the same way that we can harvest this year’s goodness, this is also a time to practice the art of letting go.  as the trees shed their leaves, we too can let go of certain behaviorisms, issues, problems, etc.  whatever has plagued us or is weighing us down, now is the time to let go.  take the time to focus on each of these aspects.  sit with them, learn from them, gently investigate them.  and when you are ready, imagine that each issue peacefully drifts away.

this is also a time for us to focus on what new seeds we want to plant for the future.  what are your hopes/goals/intentions/desires for the year ahead?  take the time to truly examine what it is you would like for the rest of this year, and that to follow.  imagine yourself planting those ideas/thoughts/dreams/goals/desires with loving kindness.  know that these seeds will continue to grow and flourish in the year to come.  with every seed you plant, know that you are manifesting these ideas for your future.  and feel free to visit those seeds which have not yet sprouted; maybe there are goals or intentions from the previous year you have not yet met.  which of your seeds this year has grown, and which have not?  continue to give love and light to those seeds, and know that they will flourish when the time is right.

to close this meditation, simply sit with the strength and lessons you have gained from your harvest.  have faith in the seeds you have planted within your heart.  have faith in the lessons you have learned.  and have faith in the goals and plans you are manifesting for your future.

when you are ready, slowly return your attention to your breath, and open your eyes.

in future meditations, feel free to visit these ‘crops’ in your heart.  continue to tend to these seeds of greatness as the year comes to a close.

sat nam everyone!

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quote of the day – be at peace

qod

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meditation monday

today’s meditation is another fantastic one from jack kornfield.  this meditation, taken from kornfield’s book a path with heart is all about wholeness in your spiritual practice.

finding wholeness within our practices involves learning not to set boundaries on the way we live our lives.  there cannot be limits to what is sacred and what isn’t.  we cannot choose to be spiritual in certain circumstances, and not in others.  we must learn not to dismiss the important connection between our hearts, our spiritual practice, and our lives.  what i mean by this is that we shouldn’t consider certain aspects of our lives as spiritual and others as not.

a personal example of this involves myself and loving kindness towards others.  when i was at my former job, there was one employee who drove me absolutely crazy.  he was always bothering me with inane questions or causing chaos within the company.  and despite being able to extend loving kindness to almost everyone i came into contact with, i never felt the need to extend it to him.  i would give myself a pass to forgo my spiritual outlook in favor of feeling negatively towards this person, choosing not to even try to understand him and his journey.  by continuing to dislike this person i was continuing a negative cycle and keeping myself from true spiritual peace.  finally, one day i decided to break the habit.  i challenged myself to look upon that person with love and acceptance.  i knew that to truly be spiritual in my relationships, i had to be spiritual in ALL of my relationships.  and surprise, surprise, not only did i end up being able to deal with that employee more harmoniously, i ended up rather liking the person.  in fact, even after leaving the company, i continue to talk to him on a regular basis.

we can imitate outer spirituality, but if we are not extending that spiritual strength to all aspects of our lives, we will not be able to achieve that lasting piece we desire.  we must be truthful with ourselves and locate those areas of our life in which we are not extending our spirituality, so that we can at least begin to learn to look upon them differently.

we need to learn to accept spirituality in totality, not only pieces of it.

hopefully, if you are like many who are struggling to find spiritual harmony in all aspects of your life, this meditation will benefit you greatly.

meditation for wholeness (as taught by jack kornfield)

come to a comfortable sitting position.  let your eyes come to close and begin to feel the natural rhythm of your breathing.  begin to find a sense of calm and a sense of presence.  take note of how your breath moves gently throughout the body.

when you feel settled and open, begin to reflect on the spiritual and the sacred in your life.  how, when, and where is your spiritual self strongest in your life.  contemplate what activities truly bring it to life.  think about the places, people, and situations that truly awaken this divine presence within you.  let yourself sit in that spiritual sense, feeling it’s strength and its loving compassion.

after sitting in this divine sensation, direct your reflection towards the opposite experiences.  think about the areas of your life that hold to be least sacred.  look for those parts of your life that our spirit and heart have not yet awakened.  dimensions of your life with little mindfulness and little compassion are he areas that you have forgotten to shed your divine light on.  they could be aspects of your physical self, certain feelings, certain activities, or maybe they are relationships.

let each of these excluded pieces/places/people/things arise in your mind, one by one.  look upon each area, sensing them truly.  as you sense them, hold them lightly in your heart and consider what it would mean to bring these into your practice.  envision your sense of sacred growing to include these entities in your practice, giving them full attention and compassion.  one by one, picture them and feel them respect and wholeness that could come about.  sense how every one of these moments has a lesson to teach and how each area will bring a deepening of your attention and an opening of your compassion.

once you have sat with these areas, unconditionally open to them, feel the strength and self respect you gain by shedding light on these entities, feel a sense of spiritual wholeness.

slowly let yourself come back to a calm, quiet rest.  turn your attention back to the breath, maybe feeling a new sense of wholeness with each inhale and exhale.

when you are ready, slowly open your eyes and come to a close.

hopefully this meditation will help you bring a new sense of attention, respect, compassion, and peace to every moment of your life.

sat nam everyone!

 

 

 

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you deserve to be happy

about a year ago, i was having a rather intense conversation with a friend of mine.  he is the kind of person who very openly lives in a sort of chaotic whirl and is always grasping desperately at elements of life in hopes of finding something to ground him.  as i listened to him talk about all the crazy things he was packing into his life, i stopped him to ask one simple question: “are you happy?”

at first he stumbled a bit, justifying that he had been at times happy or that he was happy under certain circumstances.  then finally he came to the realization that no, he was not happy.  this broke my heart, as i remember what it’s like to live life unhappily.

but it was what he said after that which really hit me.  he said, “i don’t deserve to be happy, i need to earn my happiness.  i need to sacrifice pieces of myself so that i am worthy of happiness”.  now to a meditation teacher (and a follower of ACIM), this was the most insane thing i’d ever heard in my life.  i remember grabbing him and saying “are you kidding me?!  you deserve to be happy.”  i repeated those words again “you deserve to be happy”, watching his face tense.  that sentence made him visibly uncomfortable.

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and he wasn’t the only person i’d come across that was feeling this way.  many people i spoke with felt almost guilty for being happy.  others felt that it was something to be earned, not a natural gift given to us.  some even feared the idea of true happiness.  and others simply accepted the idea that they just weren’t meant to be happy.  they did not believe that true lasting happiness would ever be theres.

but thats simply not the case.  every single person on this earth deserves to find happiness.  we all have the ability to be happy and we all deserve to be happy.

for me, this lesson was life changing.  i’d been meditating for most of my life, but i had become content with the idea that i would never find lasting happiness.  i was okay living in the doldrums, because i’d deemed it as normal.  it wasn’t until gabby bernstein’s books that i realized that i too deserved total happiness.  it was in that moment that my mediations got an amazing boost.  suddenly, within each sitting, as i looked for the happiness gabby and ACIM told me was mine for the taking, i found it.  i found a whole new sense of love, i found a whole new spiritual self, and i found an infinite amount of happiness.

and because that message is so life changing, i wanted to take the time today to pass it on.

regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, and the life you feel you are destined to live, you deserve true happiness.

stop accepting anything less than greatness.  stop being content with a lesser life.  stop punishing yourself and start accepting the happiness that is meant to be yours.  stop fearing happiness.  stop believing that you are not worthy.

you deserve to be the happiest person in every room you walk in.  you deserve to find joy in all moments.  you deserve to feel radiant.  you deserve to be happy.

i know this may be hard for some people to process initially, but i want to continue to put this idea out there, so that someday, hopefully everyone begins to accept it.

if you’re feeling unhappy, or less than, or trapped, lost, confused, anything other than pure happiness, know that you can rise above it.  know that you are meant to have all the bliss and joy you dream of.  know that you deserve that joy and that elation.  it may take time to find it, but if you’re willing to recognize that it is yours, you will find it.  of that i am certain.

please, every single one of you who reads this, know that you deserve to be happy.

sat nam everyone!

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happiness tip #12

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talk less, listen more.  open your ears and your heart.  hear the world around you.  sincerely listen to those you love.  listen for what they’re saying and not saying.  be their support system without having to say anything at all.  you might be surprised by what you hear!

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26

today is my 26th birthday, which is kind of hard to believe.  i still have the words ‘recent UCLA graduate’ on my resume…guess i need to change that :)

i had the amazing pleasure of spending the day meditating and enjoying time with my family, then ended it with a much needed facetime with my best friend who lives 300 miles away.  seeing his face always makes me smile.

every year on my birthday, i tend to look back and examine the last year of my life.  i think about the lessons, the people, the highs and lows, and everything that defined that year.  and while 25 was was a beautiful and unforgettable year filled with tons of amazing moments and life lessons, i’m not going to spend today looking back.

instead, i want to look forward to the year of 26.  this year, i’m planning to go above and beyond, to make the most of 26.  this year i challenge myself to 26 new things, to 26 leaps of faith, moments of greatness (big and small!).  i challenge myself to….

  1. re-learn to surf – it should be a crime to live in san diego and not take advantage of the surf daily!!
  2. volunteer for beach clean up
  3. finish my book (easier said than done, but i’m up for the challenge!)
  4.  go on a road trip (any suggestions?!)
  5. learn to sail
  6. join a new sangha
  7. join or start a peace alliance team
  8. plant a tree
  9. craft more
  10. visit/volunteer at a local animal sanctuary farm
  11. visit a new city in the USA
  12. take a cooking class/cooking classes
  13. start kayaking again
  14. downsize – during my most recent move, i started to get rid of stuff and it was really therapeutic, but i’m still overwhelmed in stuff i don’t need.  time to cleanse and get back to basics!
  15. bike instead of drive
  16. get another tattoo
  17. send a care package to a soldier
  18. master photoshop
  19. take a trip alone
  20. volunteer at a soup kitchen
  21. practice gratitude daily, openly express it weekly
  22. go on a juice bar crawl
  23. do another hello sunday morning challenge
  24. go on at least 2 more retreats
  25. read all 100 zen koans
  26. be honestly happy as much as possible

i cannot wait to accomplish many, if not all, of these goals.  and i can’t wait to see what other surprises this year has in store for me.  i’m ready and open to the path the divine has intended for me.  i am ready for love and divine miracles, 26 style.

sat nam everyone!

 

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i am peace

it’s hard to believe that the world has come to such a dismal place.  it seems every time you turn on the tv or read news, there’s nothing but death and destruction.  we live in a world filled with hate, breeding more hate.  unarmed, innocent children are dying.  people can’t understand one another, so instead of trying to find middle ground and acceptance, they are turning to violence.

whats even worse is that in response to these unexplainable acts of violence, even more violences is born.  violence breeds violence.  hate breeds hate.

in st. louis, in response to horrific acts, people have begun destroying their community.  across the globe protests surrounding the current international conflicts are turning dangerous.

what will it take for people to learn that peace is not born from violence?  peace is not born from anger.  peace is not born from hatred.

peace comes from our hearts, it comes from love and understanding.  it comes from an unwavering sense of compassion.

so how do we get back to peace?  how do we stop this senseless violence and end these cycles of anger?

people want someone to blame, they want someone to hate.  they want to have some sort of control over the situation, they want to stop it.  but as i look around, i see people letting anger and hate be their guides, not love.  instead of encouraging people to join their cause, they are just alienating and aggravating others who may have initially wanted to support.  we are turning our backs on each other because we don’t know how to handle this kind of sadness and devastation.

but its time we change that.  it’s time we stop senselessly protesting and rioting.  its time we end the violence.  its time that we bring love and compassion back to the world.

i’m in no way encouraging people to sit ideally by while these deaths occur.  what i’m suggesting is that we start to approach this is a new way.  fight for justice with peace, love, and knowledge.

write to your congressman.

write to the white house.

get involved in your local government.

find a peace action team.

volunteer to support those in need.

raise money to support your cause.

donate clothing, food, and resources.

practice tolerance.

educate yourself on all sides of the issue.

educate those in your community.  write about it.  speak to friends about it.  help people intelligently understand the crisis at hand.  but do so not with hate or anger, but as a call for help.

embody the peace you are so tirelessly fighting for.

you are peace.  you are love.  you can change the world.  but you can’t when your weapon is hate.  so instead of arming yourself with harsh words, senseless violence, and anger, lets arm ourselves with love.

we are peace.

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