Chrae’s Fall Updates


“Tantra is the hot blood of spiritual practice. It smashes the taboo against unreasonable happiness; a thunderbolt path, swift, joyful, and fierce. There is no authentic Tantra without profound commitment, discipline, courage, and a sense of wild, foolhardy, fearless abandon.” – Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Greetings everyone! So good to see you again. Hope you’ve been well!

Last spring I released a note about the change of title of these events. In that I included the following notes…Your reality will consist of what you bring into it:

Many people think of karma as fate, or determinism. But, really, karma is creative. It is unbounded. The common interpretation is when someone has something bad happen to them, we call it “bad karma.” But this interpretation of karma is misunderstood. We typically see karma as an uncontrollable factor in our lives. But, the literal translation of karma is “action” – human action. It does not control us. In fact, we control it. When we utilize action (even non-action is a form of action), we are influencing karma. When we are compassionate and friendly to others it’s because we want the same treatment in return. The reason to be compassionate should not be in anticipation of receiving it in return, but because it’s the right thing to do. Invite into your life what you want to share with others; we are all connected. If any one of us suffers, all the rest of us suffer. Everything you create in your life, every intention, thought, and action, will shape the rest of your creations. In every moment there is rebirth, in every moment there is death. We are always changing. But we are in control of that change. We can be whatever it is we want to be. Be creative with the way you live your life. Be aware of every moment, every thought. Be the witness, but also be the creator. So, the group is called “Creativity; Karma” because I want us to have a forum where we can explore ourselves, our ideas and our beliefs freely and openly, so we can expand our idea of what we want to bring into our lives, and share with others our thoughts without being put down. Since I believe that there is no such thing as teaching, we will experience mutual learning. I learn just as much from each of you as I may share with you. Let’s share some creative karma!

For now I’ll only be doing one event a week, but this is bound to change. I’m hoping to do the Chinese medicine discussions at Peaceful Dragon later in the year. Keep your eyes open for any changes!

All events start October 1, 2013.

~~~

☯Creativity, Tuesdays 7pmSLT
Perfect Paradise

This is a new discussion on Eastern concepts, topic likely to change every few weeks. We’ll start with a bit of yoga while we discuss the ideas of Tantra. Join me to stir the Kundalini (Shakti) energy!

~~~

All intro notes will be posted to the blog for further discussion:
https://chraeloos.wordpress.com/

Google+ group: https://plus.google.com/communities/116481394403768407840

Calendar:
https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=chraeloos%40gmail.com&ctz=America/Vancouver

Love to everyone! Namaste, Om Shanti, Sat nam! ☯
❤Chrae

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Sitting with Fear


Today was the first day of a six week Kundalini workshop I’m taking part in. I went in excited and thrilled to be there, and I came out wishing I hadn’t gone. This made me wonder. I hadn’t been to any Kundalini yoga classes before, but have practiced it minimally at home. I am familiar with the theory, and much less familiar with the practice. I’m much more familiar with Hatha yoga practice. Today I learned many things – chants, mantras, mudras, asanas. I even learned a bit about the chakras. Ultimately, I should have been thrilled when I left, just as I was when I entered. But, alas, here I was, a bit bummed, even.

So I asked myself, “What is wrong?” I followed the feeling. I learned two things. First, while chanting for the root chakra I had encountered a great fear. This startled me. Second, I was wary of the practice since it was unfamiliar, and I had experienced something new.

In yoga practice, especially when you go to class, you tend to experience a lot of the same things. The asanas are the same, the people are the same, the teachings are similar, and the energy is the same. What you encounter within yourself becomes familiar, and even welcome. So the experience of going to a new class with a new teacher from a different tantric background brought out this experience of fear for me that I hadn’t encountered in my practice before. After that, I was wary and uncomfortable for the rest of the practice. I kept thinking to myself, “Why did I sign up for this?” and “I wish I could just leave.”

I had to ask myself, “Why are you so afraid of encountering fear?” When it came up during the practice, I sat with it. It startled me, definitely, but I didn’t flinch. Kudos to the previous teachers for bringing to a point in my practice where I could recognize without becoming. I recognized it, for sure, but didn’t react. I was able to sit through it and continue the chant, even though with every sound the fear grew. I started wondering if it was the noise that was frightening me – usually I’m a very quiet person. Chanting is a bit out of character for me, though I’ve enjoyed it in the past.

For those who are unaware, I’ll give you a bit of background on the root chakra. Also known as the Muladhara or Mooladhara chakra, it is the chakra that sits at the base of your spine, near your coccyx. It is the chakra that deals with fundamental security and well-being, and innocence. Barbara Herring, from the Yoga Journal, says, “this energy vortex is involved in tending to our survival needs, establishing a healthy sense of groundedness, taking good basic care of the body, and purging the body of wastes.” It is the house of the unconscious. When opened, qualities that we have not realized were a part of us will emerge, “such as destructive rage, all-consuming passion, excessive desires or deep-seated anger.”(1) Others have experienced a closeness with God, great joy or freedom when activating this chakra. Because it is the home of the unconscious, emotions that we have hidden from ourselves, or that we may not even know we are feeling, arise.

In my case, the first thing to emerge was a great fear. It was the same kind of fear I experienced when I had night terrors. Thankfully, I don’t have them anymore, but that fear still lives in me. After class the teacher opened himself to any questions. Once people had left I told him of my experience and he nodded in understanding. He said that my reaction could be based on many things: a fear for my security or livelihood, fear for relationships, fear of uncertainty, or something that arose in my unconscious mind. None of those things really made me go, “Oh, yeah, that’s it!” But they definitely helped me understand that I have to work on my root chakra. He continued to say that through finding a chakra or practice I’m comfortable with, I can ground myself and work my way into the root chakra. I could chant the basic root tone: “Om Lam,” over and over just to slowly open it, and sit with whatever comes.

On the way home from class I listened to a podcast by Michael Stone, from the Centre of Gravity in Toronto. It was titled, “Feel the Fear (Heart Sutra 5)” released Mar 1, 2013. In it he mentioned the question the Dalai Lama was asked about how to deal with “deep fear effectively.” He answered:

There are quite a number of methods. The first is to think about actions and their effects. Usually when something bad happens, we say, “Oh, very unlucky,” and when something good happens, we say, “Oh, very lucky.” Actually, these two words, lucky and unlucky, are insufficient. There must be some reason. Because of a reason, a certain time became lucky or unlucky, but usually we do not go beyond lucky or unlucky. The reason, according to the Buddhist explanation, is our past karma, our actions.

One way to work with deep fears is to think that the fear comes as a result of your own actions in the past. Further, if you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.

Another technique is to investigate who is becoming afraid. Examine the nature of your self. Where is this I? Who is I? What is the nature of I? Is there an I besides my physical body and my consciousness? This may help.

Also, someone who is engaging in the Bodhisattva practices seeks to take others’ suffering onto himself or herself. When you have fear, you can think, “Others have fear similar to this; may I take to myself all of their fears.” Even though you are opening yourself to greater suffering, taking greater suffering to yourself, your fear lessens.(2)

Michael Stone went on to say that there are three steps to a mindfulness practice:

In one sit you can go from extreme bliss to extreme fear. What is interesting is not to know the bliss and know the fear, but to start to know the knowing mind. So to look at the mind that knows bliss, and to look at the mind that knows fear, and then to start to see that the knowing is stable. So when we’re fist meditating, we’re always focusing externally on the object of what we’re noticing. So if fear is arising there’s a sense of Me noticing the Fear. The second maturation of practice is when you can fully just feel fear, until there is nothing left of you – there is just Fear. There is just being terrified. And then, I would say, you could just keep going, one more level, where when you can really be in what you feel, you can then look at the consciousness that’s knowing the feeling. Look at that part of the mind that knows. Just like the Dalai Lama said to ask, well who’s knowing. So it’s like your turning around, and instead of looking at the object, you’re looking at knowing. And then you can see that the knowing is totally stable, like a mirror. It doesn’t take the shape of fear. The knowing doesn’t take the shape of bliss. It’s just knowing.

I’m sure in the following weeks we’ll be working with the chakras more, and I’ll encounter things in class that I may not be expecting, but I’ll be ready for them. In the meantime, I’m going to be doing a lot of sitting and chanting to explore what’s in here that I don’t know, and to work with this fear.

And here we think we can judge other people, when we don’t even know ourselves.

At this point, I am excited to go again next week.

1. http://www.chakras.net/energy-centers/muladhara
2. From, A Policy of Kindness: An Anthology of Writings By and About the Dalai Lama

Eastern Perspectives on Compassion


Isis Pleiades has honored me with inviting me to host at the official launch of Spirit Park! So, at 10am SLT on Saturday Sep 21 I will be hosting a meditation followed by some discussion, in humble consideration of the International Weekend of Peace. Please join us to share in an exploration of the energy within ourselves and how we can transform it into compassion for all living beings.

I’m so thrilled to be back in SL and connecting with you all!

The entire weekend is full of events at this same location. The lineup is as follow:

Saturday Sept 21

6:45 am – Opening address form Isis Pleides
7 am – Rtada hosts Vedic chanting
8 am – Andre Farstrider hosts Starseed Connections
9 am – Kana Koray hosts New Hero Journey
10 am – Chraeloos hosts Perspectives on Chinese Medicine
11 am – Lyle and Sedona host Reincarnation and Immortality of the Soul
12 Noon – Elizabeth hosts The Oz Experience
1 pm to 8 pm – Live Music!
8 pm – Rtada hosts Vedic Chanting

Sunday Sept 22

7 am – Rtada hosts Vedic Chanting
8 am – Divali hosts I Ching Revelations
9 am – Andre Farstrider hosts Pleiadian Discussions
10:30 am – Regis Roubodoo hosts Inner Harmony
12 pm – The Companions Tea Ceremony/Tour
1-9 pm – Live Music
9 pm – Rtada hosts Vedic Chanting

I do hope to see you there! Namaste _/\_

**

International Day of Peace Guided Meditation and Presentation
at Spirit Gate, 10-11am SLT Saturday Sept 21 2013

Welcome everyone to Spirit Park at Nirvana Island. Thank you all for coming to share and take part in our celebration of peace, love and harmony. Thank you to Isis who invited me to host this discussion today. I’m so happy to be here!

On this day of International Peace I present the following practices to you so that we may see that each and every one of us is connected. If one of us suffers, all of us suffer. If we show compassion to all living beings as much as we can, if we feel that we are even slightly responsible for the well-being of others, and that our actions affect everyone else, we would live in a much more peaceful world. Only through love can we achieve world peace. And by love I don’t mean the type of love where you can’t stand to be apart or are reliant on the other person for your happiness, but the kind of love that is unconditional and accepting regardless of the situation. If we can all open our minds and bodies to the feeling of pure love and pure energy and send that love out to all who need it, remembering to nurture ourselves at the same time, we can achieve true happiness and true peace.

In Buddhist practice, we commit to three things:
1. Not causing harm
2. Taking care of one another, and
3. Embracing the world just as it is

Pema Chodron says, “May we all learn that pain is not the end of the journey, and neither is delight. We can hold them both – indeed hold it all – at the same time…”

With this in mind, I would like to introduce you to a practice called Tonglen. The idea is to breathe in pain, and breathe out relief. For this short meditation I will go into voice. I will also post the instructions here for those who do not have access to voice.

If you could get comfortable, whether sitting, standing, or laying. Regardless of what position you are in please make sure that your spine is aligned, so if you were sitting your tailbone would be drawn towards the front slightly, straightening your lower back, and your shoulders would be dropped out of your ears and resting in a line above your hips. Pull your chin in slightly, bowing it to your chest to make the back of your neck straight. Place your hands where they fall comfortably.

Now, take a deep breath, and close your eyes. Let the sounds of the world surround you; listen to the birds, the air, the children playing outside. Notice your breathing getting calmer, deeper, and steadier. On your next breath in, try to feel it fill up your entire abdomen. Hold it for a moment. Let it out. Repeat… Take a deep breath in. Feel it fill up your entire abdomen. Hold it for a moment. Let it out. Try to see if you can make your in breath the same length as your out breath.

Now, following this in and out pattern, bring your attention to how you feel. If there is any sadness, anger, pain, or other strong feeling, don’t judge it. Instead of labelling it, just notice it. What does it feel like? Where do you feel it manifesting? Play with it a bit. Does the feeling move? …

Now, bring your mind to something that makes you very happy: a loved one, the beautiful Harvest Moon, the sound of the ocean. Whatever it may be, let the feeling of joy and love fill you up. Let it wash over the fear or pain. …

Let us together breathe in the fear and pain and sadness that we feel. When we breathe out, send the joy and love out to the world. At first, send it to someone close to you. Then try sending it to an acquaintance. Imagine this joy and love going out to all the people you know. Then imagine it going out to everyone sitting in this room. If you can, slowly spread it out every living creature. …

With every in breath we can pull in all the pain and sadness that we feel and with every out breath we can turn it into productive, compassionate energy. I’ll leave you in silence to practice this for a few minutes. …

Slowly bring your attention back to your body. When you’re ready, deepen your breath, wiggle your fingers and toes. If you’d I suggest drinking some water to help ground you.

~~

Norman Fischer talks about us all “swimming in an ocean of compassion.” He goes on to say that everything is compassion. If we can see that everything exists in this ocean of compassion, we can be free of suffering. The practice we just did is a good way to open ourselves to this ocean of compassion.

Tantric yoga is a path of union – yoking – between the one and the many. It is the path to liberation of the “self” – the entity that the ego insists is individual, but is merely a piece of the macrocosmic world. Where would we be without each other?

Tantra worships the divine dance of Shiva and Shakti, which we can safely relate to yin and yang in Chinese medicine. The breakdown works a bit differently, though, with Parama-shiva as the umbrella of ultimate reality. This is characterized by sac-cit-ananda, or Being (sat), Consciousness (cit), and Bliss (ananda).

David Bohm described reality as movement that occurs as “a series of interpenetrating and intermingling elements in different degrees of enfoldment all present together.” This accurately describes the tantric world-view, which only adds that this dynamic Being is conscious.

Tantric practitioners believe that all of us have this Consciousness within us. They believe it is located within the heart, the heart meaning here: “that which I truly am.” “[The heart] is not the body or the mind,” says Georg Feuerstein, “but pure Being-Consciousness-Bliss.” Remember here, that these terms don’t mean what they mean in ordinary western context, as in the ultimate being there is no differentiation between subject and object.

Shiva, is the aspect of the ultimate reality that is consciousness. It is pure subject rather than object; the notion of “I,” without a sense of “I am.” You may be familiar with the mantra for this aspect, located in the heart, “aham.” This sound means “I.” Shiva is often interpreted as the masculine aspect.

Shakti, is the second aspect of the ultimate Reality. It is creativity, energy. Shakti coexists with Shiva to create the universe. Shakti is considered to be the Bliss aspect of the ultimate Reality. Shakti is often interpreted as the feminine aspect.

We can view the union of Shiva and Shakti much like we do yin and yang: as a seemless continuity of Consciousness and Power within one and the same Reality. One cannot exist without the other, one exists within the other, and one manifests the other. This union is often viewed in the west as a sexual union between a couple, but we must keep in mind that this union is transcendental and therefore also asexual.

Shakti plays the active role, whereas Shiva plays the passive role. He manifests the absolute stillness of consciousness, and she expresses the unlimited potency of Power or Energy. “Together they symbolize the play of life and death, creation and annihilation, emptiness and form, dynamism and stasis. This interplay is found on all levels of cosmic existence because … it preexists the ultimate Reality itself.”

One of the first concepts that Eastern practitioners focus on is nonattachment. The Kula-Arnava-Tantra, an ancient Tantric text, reads: “nonattachment (nihsangha) alone is the means if liberation. All defects spring from attachment. Therefore one becomes happy by abandoning attachment and relying on Reality.”

Reality is seen as a continuous process in which everything is constantly in flux. This is mirrored in modern physics: “[current models show] that the properties of a particle can only be understood in terms of its activity – of its interaction with the surrounding environment – and that the particle, therefore, cannot be seen as an isolated entity, but has to be understood as an integrated part of the whole. … The fact that the mass of a particle is equivalent to a certain amount of energy means that the particle can no longer be seen as a static object, but has to be conceived as a dynamic pattern, a process involving the energy which manifests itself as the particle’s mass.”

Here we can see that everything, on both macro- and micro-cosmic levels, is continuously flowing and changing. By teaching nonattachment we learn that change is inevitable, and that only by letting go of our preconceptions and expectations will Reality reveal itself and all the Bliss that it contains.

Georg Feuerstein, in his book, “Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy” gives a typical path of the tantric practitioner, which you may be familiar with if you know of Patanjali:

1. Yama – moral restraint consisting of non-harming, truthfulness, chastity, and greedlessness, which are said to be valid on all levels, at all times, and everywhere.

2. Niyama – self-restraint through purity, contentment, austerity, study, and devotion to The Lord.

3. Asana – posture, which makes the practitioner immune against the onslaught from the pairs of opposites (dvandva), such as heat and cold or dry and moist.

4. Pranayama – lit. “Extension of the life energy” by means of breath control.

5. Pratyahara – sensory inhibition

6. Dharana – concentration, or fixing ones attention upon a selected object, be it a mantra or the graphic representation of a deity

7. Dhyana – meditation, which is a deepening of concentration marked by a progressive unification of consciousness

8. Samadhi – lit. “Putting together,” or ecstasy, which consists in ones complete merging with the object of meditation

The Sharada-Tilaka-Tantra adds five practices to the moral restraint category: compassion, rectitude, patience, stability, and moderate eating, and in place of greedlessness, cleanliness. Through all of these practices, the sages believe one can achieve self-transformation. In my own experience, through these practices and many more, one can achieve an understanding of our connectedness to each other. Through these practices we can move beyond our limited sense of the world – how we want it to be versus how it is – and find our true happiness. Once it’s been found, once Bliss or enlightenment has been reached, one can live in the ocean of compassion with all other beings, free of violence and hatred, free of shame or greed. Through compassion for others you will grow to love yourself, and through loving yourself you will be able to feel more compassion for others.

Just remember, the people that it is hardest to feel compassion for are the ones who likely need it the most. If someone is acting really rotten, just remind yourself that you don’t know what they are going through in life. Maybe your smile or small reassurance or understanding would turn their whole day around. Just knowing that someone cares, even a stranger, can be a very powerful thing.

You may hear me use the term Namaste quite often. This is an ancient term which means: my soul honours your soul. I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides. I horn the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.

I will leave you with one final quote:
“The opposite if consumption isn’t thrift, it’s generosity. ” – Raj Patel

Thank you for your time today! May all of you soak in the ocean of compassion, whatever path may lead you there! Much love and peace to you all. Namaste! _/|\_

The Book of Virtue


“A state is governed through regular means,
A war is conducted through irregular means,
But it is through doing nothing that one seizes the universe.
How do I know this is so?
The more taboos and prohibitions rule,
The poorer the people become.
The more one relies on good tools,
The more disorder rages.
The more ingenious minds there are,
The more frivolous luxury develops.
The more ordinances multiply,
The more bandits swarm.
That is why the sage says:
‘I do nothing
And the people improve.
I remain silent
And the people govern themselves.
I undertake nothing
And the people grow rich.
I desire to be without desires,
And the people rediscover simplicity.'”

An old lesson for our world from one of the great Ancients, Lao Tzu.