Dualism vs. Nondualism Intro Notes


Dualism Photo

Check out the intro notes from this afternoon’s philosophy discussion. If you missed it, feel free to leave a comment here!


Welcome to the Citta Bhavana Ashram everyone! Thank you for joining us today. I’ll give a brief introduction before opening the floor for discussion. Please hold all questions and comments until after the intro.

Please consider leaving a donation if you like what you see and want to see more. All donations go towards the sim tier. The donation jar is the candle just beside the fire.

It is most often thought that dualism is a Western idea and non-dualism is an Eastern idea. But, even within traditions we find opposing ideas. Let’s explore a bit what dualism and non-dualism are.

These are ideas put forth in the philosophy of mind, as well as religion. Very generally, there are two fundamental categories of things. Typically these are the difference between mind and body, and sometimes even mind and brain. In other words, the dualist/nondualist debate is arguing whether or not mind is separate from matter.

Now, since we don’t have an agreed upon definition of mind, I’d like us to explore it from the point of view of whatever it means to you – whether it is consciousness, spirit, soul, awareness, divine, whatever. I don’t want us to get caught up in this, since it could mean any of these things or more, and I feel that it’s meaning is a bit of a personal matter. I’d rather we focus on the difference between this and the material world.

On a personal level, body can be considered to be the physical experience, including, sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Mind can be considered to be immaterial experience: thoughts, patters, self, ego, memory, awareness. If you think of it like a venn diagram, what comes in the middle?

It has been debated, too, that body has memory – some may say “muscle memory” but others also speak about fascia as holding physical memory. Hence why sense objects can be a trigger for memories. However, this is not of as much importance in our discussion today.

In Indian philosophy, there are two concepts: purusha (consciousness, spirit) and prakriti (matter, nature). These are considered in nondualist philosophy to be AND – as in, they are inseparable and of the same importance; whereas in dualist philosophy it is purusha versus prakriti – as in, one always struggling for importance. In some dualist traditions they may consider that either purusha or prakriti is more important (depending on the tradition), though most often they say purusha (conscoiusness, spirit) is more important, and in fact more true reality than the material world.

We find this same idea all over religion, spirituality, and philosophy. Many dualists do consider that the material world is real – we can all experience it more or less the same. What is in debate is the non-material world, or mind.

Descartes, in his “Meditations,” argues for the point of view of mind and God as being one and the same. This is echoed in Eastern traditions through the concept of prana and qi (energy or life force), and even Atman and Brahman (individual consciousness and universal consciousness) – in other words, the part of us that is also in everything else. The most true essence of existence.

We know that all material things are subject to change. All things change over time, and this is unavoidable. So many schools of thought would argue that if it changes, it is not real. So that which is unchanging, this purusha (consciousness, divine, etc), is the most true, or the most real.

In nondualism, it is recognized that all things are ultimately the same. That nothing is unique, and even our consciousness is not our own. By that, it is meant that we are all drops of the same ocean – that we are all small parts of one big whole. That we are not existing without everything else, and everything else is not existing without us.

So, do you think that we have something in us, something perhaps divine or extensive in nature, that exists separate from the material world, or do we have an innate connection to that which surrounds us and can be experienced?

Are we unique individuals, or are we really part of one big whole?

Can our minds exist without our bodies?

Does whatever makes up the “I” exist in our minds, our bodies, or neither?

I open the floor. What do you think?

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“You pass through life like early morning…”


Sakura Blossom

Dreaming, not waking 

Early morning breezes tickle,

Dandelions dance.


       Amidst many changes in my life I am called to write. There is a certain kind of feeling experienced when you leave everything behind for a completely new path. It’s a feeling like floating on a wave – not quite awake, not quite asleep, dreaming, not waking. Every moment is full of endless potential. But, then again, isn’t it anyway? It is in these times of transition that we find ourselves – our real, true, unbiased, no-illusions, self. We tend to find that the Self is completely unlimited. That, in fact, there isn’t a Self, definable as such, but a series of comings-and-goings. A kind of desperate plea for uncertainty. At first, it feels liberating. You have no responsibilities, nothing in your name, no job to get to, no school, or family, or friends calling for your attention. Everything is just space. Everything is limitless. Driving over the mountains, clearly endless blue skies above us, we felt as though we were on top of the world. We had 14 hours of homelessness, in one of the most beautiful parts of this country. The air is so much fresher all these miles above the busy cities and refineries. It’s almost too easy to forget all of this modern world.

       Forgetting is what our minds want to do. It is the easy way out of responsibility. Caring is difficult. Caring takes time and attention and energy, none of which are easily replenished as every action takes time to see the result. Caring can be overwhelming. Up here, on top of the world, there is nothing to care about. It is here where I experience true release, true happiness. You see children smiling for no reason at all, smiling at the smell of the flowers and the songs of the birds and the feel of the air against their skin. It is up here that I can truly say I understand what they are smiling for. The sun feels so close and so warm, and time slows down.

       It has been one full week since we experienced that. It didn’t take long for the 14 hours to pass and for us to take the seemingly short descent into the valley that we now call home. You see the city before you see the ocean, all lights and busy people. It is like waking from an existential dream of non-duality. The experience is much like taking that first step out of a retreat hall and onto a busy street. It’s a bit overwhelming, but you’re lucky, because you have all this stored up happy energy from the experience of release. This stored-up energy allows you to see the new landscape with fresh eyes, non-judging and compassionate. You make it through the busy city, as your new home lies on the far side, only blocks away from the vast, free ocean. You get here unscathed, still holding that happy, light energy close to your heart. This energy had permeated your whole body, and it lifted you to a lightness that was like you had become a cloud. The flowing and pulsing dance of wind and life-energy still coursed through you, with you, as you.

       As you enter your new home and proceed with all the formalities, you take a deep breath, and feel suddenly dizzy with realization. The search you have been on for your whole life, this search to be happy and free like you feel on top of the mountains, you feel it now too. It hasn’t left. The only thing that changed is your perception. Rather than seeing it for what it is, always present, you see it as something only attainable in certain environments. You close your eyes, letting your other senses experience the moment, and you feel this dreamlike happiness. Opening your eyes, it’s still there. You take a step, and still, it’s with you. A smile spreads on your soft lips and your eyes brim with tears. Regardless of what life calls on you for, you are there, completely present, and it is okay. Everything is okay. Everything is okay because inherently, you are free. You are expansive and huge, infinite. You are potential. Everything is potential.

       Cherry blossoms line the streets, mingling with flowers you don’t recognize. You can pick up probably a dozen different bird songs. You tell yourself that the steady thrum and vibration is the sound of the nearby ocean, though you’re probably kidding yourself. The tides pull at you as the pulse closer and further, grasping and releasing. Even the concrete buildings squished into city-blocks pulse and vibrate with life. Everything exists in meditation. Everything meditates.

       Abandoning your few possessions, the first stop is the bay, the soft sand squishing between your toes, the smell of salt-water and fish a welcome reminder that you are home, and you are safe.

Photo Copyright (c) April 2014, Chraeloos

Working with Subtle Energy and Chakras – Awareness Intensive Week 5


Thank you all so much for being here today. It’s such a pleasure to share this space with you. Most of this session will be guided meditation, and at the end we will open up space for questions or comments. Please refrain from hitting the bowl to my right as everyone can hear it and it will be used as a tool for the meditation. Thank you.

Let us take a moment to dedicate this practice to those who we want to remember. Please type the name or relation into local if it suits you.

Over the first few weeks we dealt with embodiment, feeling, or the felt sense, and lastly with breath. Let us start delving into our awareness by practicing these a bit. I will lead a guided meditation in voice. Please follow along if you’d like or you can mute sound and do your own practice. I will ring the bowl once to start and twice to end, so make sure your sounds are on so you know when we are continuing the practice.

Today we will bring our attention to a different level of awareness. In our bodies there are many energy channels. Depending on what tradition you come from these may be called nadis, meridians, or various other things. These carry the prana or qi thoughout your body. There are three main channels that run from the root of our pelvis up to our third eye centre. The main one is called the sushumna nadi. Energy moves with breath. Each time we breath we are sending energy throughout our bodies.

Today we are going to work with this subtle energy, prana or qi. Bring your attention to this central channel, running from your pelvic floor to the space of the third eye. Each time you breath in, the energy moves up this column, and each time you breath out the energy moves down this column.

When you feel comfortable with this, we will try expanding this awareness outwards horizontally. You can do this simply by expanding this central channel outwards, or, work more precisely. I will walk you through the more precise practice, but if you feel more comfortable just expanding it outwards please practice that way.

Bring your attention to the root of your pelvis, or the muladhara chakra. Imagine a glowing red light there. When you breath in, this light expands horizontally in a complete circle. The light should therefore expand in all directions, each diagonal, forward, backward, right and left. When you breath out the light will pulse back into centre, and continue this motion with the breath like a wave.

Next, moving up the channel, bring your attention to the heart level of this central channel, or the anahatha chakra. Imagine a glowing green light there. When you breath in, this light expands horizontally in a complete circle. The light should therefore expand in all directions, each diagonal, forward, backward, right and left. When you breath out the light will pulse back into centre, and continue this motion with the breath like a wave.

Next, moving up the channel, bring your attention to the eyebrow centre of the central channel, or ajna chakra. Imagine a glowing indigo light there. When you breath in, this light expands horizontally in a complete circle. The light should therefore expand in all directions, each diagonal, forward, backward, right and left. When you breath out the light will pulse back into centre, and continue this motion with the breath like a wave.

This is feeling yourself as Stillness, the formless in form.

Take your time slowly coming out of the mind-practice. Bring your attention back to your body. Deepen your breath. Slowly wiggle your toes and fingers, and when you feel ready, slowly open your eyes. As you are opening your eyes, try to notice how you are feeling.

What did you notice in this practice?
Has your definition of awareness changed doing this exercise?

Awareness Intensive Week 3 Breath


Today we are going to observe our breath. We’ve worked on embodiment, a felt sense of “I”, and now it is time to just observe the breath.

We will do a lot of “just sitting” today. Just sitting means being alert, alive, responsive, creative, and quiet.

The last few classes I gave some directing questions to see what we could notice, to help you on the path to awareness, but today there are no questions, just a guiding statement. I’d like you to follow your breath. See if it fills up your whole body or if it transcends your physical body.

When we breath in there is a pause before we breath out. When we breath out there is a pause before we breath in again. This is called the ‘still point’ in the middle of each breath.

I’d like to you take some time observing this pause. Do not change it or do anything with it. No need to expect it to be a certain length, or even to match. Can you simply notice the pause between each breath? If it helps you to keep your attention focused, you may count each pause. For example, in breath, pause, one. Out breath, pause, two. In breath, pause, three. Out breath, pause, four. etc. When you get to 7, go back to one and start again. I will leave you with a few minutes of silence to practice this, and will ring the bell twice to end.

I will give a short meditation to help those who are new to meditating enter their practice. If you’d like to not listen, please mute my voice. The bell will ring over sound so you will be able to hear it and can then turn on your voice when you are ready.

Guided Meditation:
Make yourselves comfortable, whether by sitting, standing, or lying down. Close your eyes. If you are in a place where you are comfortable making noise, do the following with me. If not, just let out a big sigh. Take a slow, deep breath in. When you exhale, give a big roar like a lion or deep sigh. Great! One more time…

Just relax, let go of your day. Realize that all the stresses you’ve experienced are over, they can not harm you. Release them into the earth around you. The Earth is good at recycling.

I will leave you in a few minutes of silence. [I gave 15 minutes of silence, but you can go for as long as you are comfortable. Don’t be afraid to push your boundary though; the uncomfortable zone is where progress happens.]

Take your time slowly coming out of the mind-practice. Bring your attention back to your body. Deepen your breath. Slowly wiggle your toes and fingers, and when you feel ready, slowly open your eyes. As you are opening your eyes, try to notice how you are feeling.

I would like to ask some questions for discussion.

What did you notice in this practice?

How does the breath feel?

Where do you breathe? Where does it enter? Where does it go? Can you feel the movement within your nostrils, down the trachea, and in your lungs? Do you breath with your nose or mouth or both? Do you feel the movements in your best, back, and abdomen? Can you feel it in your hands and feet?

What part of your body moves with your inhalations and exhalations? Place your hand on your abdomen or chest if you can’t feel any movements sometimes your hands are able to feel more subtle movements.

What is your rate of breathing? How long does it take for you to inhale? Does your exhale match the inhale? How many breathes do you take per minute?

How are you feeling about the last few weeks?
Has your definition of awareness changed doing this exercise?

Tantra: The Subtle Realities


Tantra: Subtle Realities October 8 2013

Welcome to Perfect Paradise! I’m so honored to have you all here with me today.

I’ve decided to host this as we do yoga postures because I’ve found it helpful on my journey. If you would prefer to sit please feel free to let me know and I can rezz some pillows for you. If you are choosing to do yoga with me you can feel the poses as they manifest in your RL body while we discuss. Allow the energy of the water and the full sky above us to fill you up, and give back to the earth below what you don’t need.

Before we get started I invite you to take a few deep breaths with me. Let go of the day, join me in the present moment. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let it out with a sigh. Repeat this until you are feeling relaxed…I’ll give you a few moments…Let me know when you are ready and we will start.

**

Tantra: The Subtle Realities

“Because every embodied individual is composed of a body, a mind and a spirit, the ancient Rishis of India who developed the Science of Life organized their wisdom into three bodies of knowledge: Ayurveda, which deals mainly with the physical body; Yoga, which deals mainly with spirit; and Tantra, which is mainly concerned with the mind. The philosophy of all three is identical; their manifestations differ because of their differing emphases.” Robert Svoboda Motilal Banarsidass

The human experience is more than just the physical body. Between the material universe and the ultimate Reality are the multiple layers of subtle (sukshumna) existence.

These other realms of existence are considered in the Vedas to be the home of deities, ancestral spirits, and other entities, including various kinds of demonic beings (elementals).

All beings participate in these other realms, although we are rarely aware of it. In fact, our existence is active in these realms simultaneously as it is in the physical realm. In this sense, these realms are called sheaths, or kosha. These kosha’s are said in some schools to conceal the ultimate Reality, although in hatha yoga they experience them as a natural extension of the human body.

The Taittiriya-Upanishad names them as follows:

1. Anna-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of food,” is our familiar physical body, by which we navigate in the material world.
2. Prana-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of life force,” is the energy field associated with and sustaining the physical body. It is the connecting link between the physical body and the mind.
3. Mano-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of the mind,” refers to the mind in its lower function as a processor of sensory input. Manas (thinking-mind) is driven by doubt and volition (or desire) and vacillates between externalizing our consciousness and with-drawing it into the realm of imagination. This aspect of the mind is governed mainly by the factors of inertia (tamas) and dynamism (rajas).
4. Vijnana-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of intelligence,” refers to the mind in its higher function as an organ of discernment between what is real and unreal, that is, as the seat of wisdom. Where the lower mind causes doubt and uncertainty, the higher mind (often called buddhi) also brings certainty and faith, as well as a sense of stillness, because the lucidity factor (sattva-guna) is predominant in it.
5. Ananda-maya-kosha, or “sheath composed of bliss,” is equated in the Taittiriya-Upanishad with the transcendental Self (atman) itself, though subsequent Vedanta schools consider it to be the final veil surrounding the ultimate Reality, or Self. In any case, ananda (bliss) must not be mistaken for an emotional state, which is hierarchically higher than intellection or intelligence (vijnana). Emotions belong to the anna-maya- and prana-maya-koshas.

**

Within the subtle bodies is a subtle network of energy, which flows through the nadi’s (ie. meridians in TCM, or energy channels much like blood vessels but on an energetic level).

“This energy, called Prana in Sanskrit (Qi in Chinese), exists in many forms from the extremely gross to the infinitely subtle and life is an interplay of these energies. Metaphorically a cosmic dance of Shiva and Shakti, Yin and Yang, the Sun and the Moon. Within the human body these energies flow along a network of channels or lines (nadis or meridians).

Health in eastern philosophies is regarded as a state of balance between these energies, where all the systems of the body, including mind and spirit, function in harmony with each other. And disease (dis-ease) is seen as imbalance or disharmony in this flow of energies. But beyond feeling good physically an enlightened definition of health encompasses feelings of vitality, strength, inner peace and joy.” -http://www.adishakti.org/subtle_system/nadis.htm

nadis, the vast network of energy channels that makes each individual an integrated, conscious, and vital whole. The Sanskrit word nadi derives from the root nad, which means “flow,” “motion,” or “vibration.” Very similar to the meridians of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the sen lines of Thai Massage.

The nadis are our energetic irrigation system; in essence, they keep us alive. According to many Tantric texts, the human body contains 72,000 nadis that channel prana (energy) to every cell, each nadi having a specific function and energy that it deals with (although other sources vary, some in the millions!). When this system flows freely, we are vital and healthy; when it becomes weak or congested, we struggle with poor mental and physical health.

Three nadis are of particular interest to yogis. The sushumna (most gracious) nadi is the body’s great river, running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, passing through each of the seven chakras in its course. It is the channel through which kundalini shakti (the latent serpent power) —and the higher spiritual consciousness it can fuel—rises up from its origin at the muladhara (root) chakra to its true home at the sahasrara (thousandfold/crown) chakra at the crown of the head. In subtle body terms, the sushumna nadi is the path to enlightenment.

The ida (comfort) and pingala (tawny) nadis spiral around the sushumna nadi like the double helix of our DNA, crossing each other at every chakra. If you visualize the caduceus, the symbol of modern medicine, you’ll get a rough idea of the relationships among the ida, pingala, and sushumna nadis. Eventually, all three meet at the ajna (third eye) chakra, midway between the eyebrows.

The ida nadi begins and ends on the left side of sushumna. Ida is regarded as the lunar nadi, cool and nurturing by nature, and is said to control all mental processes and the more feminine aspects of our personality. The color white is used to represent the subtle vibrational quality of ida.

Pingala, the solar nadi, begins and ends to the right of sushumna. It is warm and stimulating by nature, controls all vital somatic processes, and oversees the more masculine aspects of our personality. The vibrational quality of pingala is represented by the color red.

The interaction between ida and pingala corresponds to the internal dance between intuition and rationality, consciousness and vital power, and the right and left brain hemispheres. In everyday life, one of these nadis is always dominant. Although this dominance alternates throughout the day, one nadi tends to be ascendant more often and for longer periods than the other. This results in personality, behavior, and health tendencies that can be called ida-like or pingala-like.

Bringing ida and pingala into equilibrium is a major focus of hatha yoga (tantra)—so important, in fact, that the term hatha symbolizes this balance. Although the word hatha literally means “forceful” in Sanskrit, it is composed of ha and tha, two esoteric bija (seed) mantras that have arcane meaning and power. Ha represents the solar qualities, the vital force, of pingala; tha represents the mind and the lunar qualities of ida.

All the Nadis spring from the Kanda, the junction where the Sushumna Nadi is connected with the Muladhara Chakra. This Kanda is thought to be about 12 inches above the anus. Out of the innumerable Nadis, 14 are said to be most important. They are Sushumna, Ida, Pingala, Gandhari, Hastajihva, Kuhu, Saraswati, Pusha, Sankhini, Payasvini, Varuni, Alambusha, vishvodhara, and Yasasvini.

**

At the main points where nadi’s intersect are chakras.

In many styles of yoga and many practices of Ayurveda, the Chakra’s have great importance. There are said to be seven Chakra’s in the human body. They form a line up the spine, some say in the center of the body, others think these centers are “attached” to the spine. A chakra is a center of energy, the literal translation being “wheel” or, less commonly, “vortex.” The English terms for the chakras, starting from the bottom, are: root chakra (Muladhara), sacral chakra (Svadishthana), solar plexus chakra (Manipura), heart chakra (Anahata), throat chakra (Visuddha), third eye chakra (Ajna), and crown chakra (Sahasrara). As in most Eastern medicine systems, the goal is to have the energies in the chakra’s balanced in order to have the best possible mind/body relationship and health.

**

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…” What I take from this quote is that, among other things, within these layers of existence we can live outside of the boundaries of physical existence, therefore overcoming suffering. In the physical and mental bodies we live in this kind of see-saw with depression on one side and elation on the other. In the centre, when it is balanced, is calmness, or bliss. By taping into these other subtle realities, we can see the situation for what it really is, therefore not becoming depressed or elated by it.

By becoming aware of all five subtle bodies, we are able to undo the vehicle of karma, which lives in the causal body. It is said that this body enables continuity not only from life to life but even from one cosmic creation to another. The subtle bodies do not fall away when death occurs, but continue on to the next life, until full liberation when the individual drops all bodies and is present purely as the transcendental Reality.

When we experience life only from the senses of the physical body we see ourselves as separate from others. But when we can learn to experience life with awareness from all subtle bodies we can continuously see the connection between ourselves and all other beings, thereby making compassion more accessible.

It is shown in modern science that all beings are made of the same things – particles. When we test for properties of a particle, we see a particle, but when we test for properties of a wave, we see a wave. We can hardly say we understand the nature of things, but what we can grasp from this is that our bodies, despite us experiencing them as solid entities with definable boundaries, are always changing. If particles also behave as waves then we can safely say that our bodies are not defined by a finite boundary, but in fact must extend out past the physical “edge”. We also know that our bodies function off electricity and also emit it in waves. They also say that it can now be monitored that our heart beats and thought patterns coincide with those we are physically close to if we are positively relating.

So, next time you’re holding a loved one or having a conversation with a friend bring your awareness into your subtle bodies and see if you can feel their energy mingling with yours. You can also work with this experience in meditation by starting with embodiment – asking yourself “where is my body right now?” and feeling the floor beneath your feet, the air on your skin, your blood pulsing throughout your veins. Once you can feel that – be patient, it may take some practice – you can start to send your awareness out a bit, feeling the air around you, listening to any sounds and seeing how far away you can still notice things. Eventually you may be able to release the idea of having a solid body. In my own experience I’ve been able, through meditation, to stop feeling as though there was a boundary to my body and start feeling the whole world as one continuous experience. You may have a completely different experience. Play with your awareness as much as you are comfortable. You never know what other experiences are out there until you open yourself to them. Only do what is comfortable for you.

Let’s do a tantric practice to align the nadi’s, branching from kundalini yoga.

To practice Nadi Shodhana, the main practice of balancing the nadis, sit in a comfortable meditative position. Make a fist with your right hand, then partially re-extend your ring and little fingers. Lightly place the pad of the thumb on your nose just to the right and below the bridge; lightly place the pads of your ring and little fingers on the corresponding flesh on the left side of your nose. Gently pressing with the ring and little fingers to close the left nostril, exhale fully through the right. Then inhale fully through the right, close it with the thumb, release the left nostril, and exhale through it. Inhale through the left nostril, close it with the fingers, release the right nostril, and exhale through it. This completes one round of Nadi Shodhana.

I’ll leave you with a quote…

“…each one of us is a union of all universal energy. Everything that we need in order to be complete is within us right at this very moment. It is simply a matter of being able to recognize it. This is the tantric approach.” Lama Thubten Yeshe

Thank you all so much for coming and sharing your energy with us today! It truly was a pleasure. Namaste, hugs!

A Bit On Buddhism and Karma and Rebirth.


I posted this on a Google+ community today, and I thought it was worth sharing here. Original post can be found here.

In no way am I learned in Buddhism, but I happen to have a community about karma and creativity. Here is a bit of my beliefs: 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 common interpretation of karma is misunderstood. We typically see karma as an uncontrollable factor in our lives, based on past 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. The reason to be compassionate should not be in anticipation of receiving it in return, or being reborn in a better life, 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.

Rebirth, to me, does not only mean rebirth into a new life after death of this body. Rebirth happens in every moment, every breath, every blink of your eye, and every passing thought. I think on this scale, the Buddha was referring to karma as intention and consequences of action in this lifetime, in this moment and the next. Why put off to the next lifetime what you can do in this one? Karma is creative action/intent/thoughts. Karma is effective now, tomorrow, next week, and next lifetime. Perhaps there is no scientific proof for an afterlife, but there is very logical proof that there is death and birth within yourself and all around you in every moment.

Whether or not you believe in an afterlife, or rebirth, the teaching of karma can be utilized here and now. Why would you not want to give and take good things in your life? The consequences of these actions/intentions/thoughts start now, and will continue forever, whether forever is until this body dies or until the soul reaches nirvana, or whatever else may be out there.

Be the witness to your thoughts, and you will see this cycle of birth/death/rebirth. Be the witness to your breath and feel it all arise, and fall away. A great friend and mentor often says, “Give what you don’t need to the Earth, and let her recycle it for you.” Maybe all the answers aren’t clear now, maybe they never will be, but your intentions and thoughts and actions undoubtedly influence your future, so be conscious of them.

A close friend once told me, “Your thoughts are not your own.” and, “The truth is in mirrors.” We are all reflections of the world around us, and every thought has been thought before. Our thoughts, emotions, sensations, are not our own. We are the witness to the events and phenomena that go on in this world, in this body. There is no “I”, simply because nothing is the same. “I” am not the same person “I” was this morning, yesterday, or last year. Physically, your entire body replaces itself every ~7 years. Your cells are constantly dying and regrowing, your liver cells live for around 150 days, your skin replaces itself every 2-4 weeks, hair replaces itself every 2-6 years, etc. All the organs in your body, all the bones and muscles, are constantly replacing the dead cells with new ones. And with that, your personality, your thoughts, all change in moments, not even considering days or years. There is no “I”, no “self”, because nothing is permanent. (For more neat statistics, refer here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1219995/Believe-lungs-weeks-old–taste-buds-just-days-So-old-rest-body.html)

To me, rebirth doesn’t resonate as a new body and a new life necessarily, but a cycle in this body, in this life. Perhaps the same way that karma sticks with all this change in this body (which is only really this body for a few more minutes), works the same with another body, in another lifetime.

Safe journey to you, my friend, and enjoy the path that you’re on, as it is forever changing!

A Bit On ADD/ADHD/OCD


I attended a yoga workshop this weekend that dealt a bit with energy, input and ADD/ADHD. We as society are trying to sculpt each other to act and think in certain ways. We expect people to ignore all the input their senses pick up on, in order to “fit in”. In my experience, yoga and meditation both work for the opposite – to settle into your mind and truly feel reality. Don’t ask anything of it, don’t expect anything from it, but just sense it. There is so much going on in this world, so much energy flowing through and around us and so much other life. How can we expect people, especially children who are completely open and sensitive to all this, to stop noticing it? Many of us adults have built up walls and barriers to it all, stuck ourselves in a kind of cell where nothing can get in so we can stand up to societies expectations – go to school, get good grades, be a good athlete, get a job, contribute to society, have a family, etc. When really all we need to do sometimes is sit and breathe. Let our senses notice; become one with the earth. Perhaps people diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are simply more attuned to the reality around us, and less blocked up with walls shoving it all out. I know people with OCD and ADD/ADHD will find a way to let out all this energy that they are receiving from the world around them. Some tap, some draw, some organize, some make noises, whatever it is, it is just a way to release the energy that you are attuned to. Perhaps these diagnosed people aren’t in a bad place, aren’t different than us, but are just more open and receiving the energies around them, which is what we as yogis, Buddhists, meditators, etc. are all looking for. Sure, it can be frustrating and make you anxious, but is that because we as society tell you it’s wrong? When working with yoga and meditation, you learn ways to let it pass through you and back into the earth without letting it fill you up. In other words, you may always have an empty cup. Inner peace. I hope you may find a path to help you along your journey. Just remember to breathe. Don’t let your thoughts become you. Notice, but don’t hold on. Namaste, my friend.

Originally posted as a reply to a question on Google+: https://plus.google.com/116772688653951753345/posts/8cZhzLSj72E