Weekend Events List!


The Art of Bowing Logo

Events this weekend!

You can now find me in InWorldz as Chraeloos Aristotelous, and in my group “The Art of Bowing”.

What? 30 min Guided Meditation

   Where? Namaste, InWorldz (Namaste/124/68/28)

   When? Saturday, Jul 19 @ 9amIWT/PST

What? Series on Japanese Philosophers

   Where? Sengoku Japan, Second Life (Ocarina Beach/197/190/51)

   When? Sunday, Jul 20 @ 5pmSLT/PST

~~~~~~~

I look forward to seeing you around! Namaste, my friends, and big hugs to you all!

Looking for me outside of the grid? Went to a discussion and didn’t get the notes? Check out the links below:

Blog:

https://chraeloos.wordpress.com/

Calendar:

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

Google+ Community:

https://plus.google.com/communities/116481394403768407840

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Chraeloos

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/chraeloos.aristotelous

Chrae

Mental Health Awareness and Meditation


Every month has been made into a commemoration of some kind. May has quite a few national and international holidays ranging from National Brain Tumor Awareness Month to Celiac Awareness Month to Haitian Heritage Month to National Moving Month in the United States and National Smile Month in the United Kingdom. For a larger and more comprehensive list, please go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May

I have chosen to share about National Mental Health Awareness Month.

In recent times, attitudes towards mental health issues appear to be changing. Negative attitudes and stigma associated with mental health have reduced and there has been growing acceptance towards mental health issues and support for people with them.

Despite this shift in attitude, the idea of a mental health awareness campaign is not a recent one. In the late 1940’s, the first National Mental Health Awareness Week was launched in the United States. During the 1960’s, this annual, weekly campaign was upgraded to a monthly one with May the designated month. During this month, National Health America, the main organization which sponsors this event, run a number of activities which are often based on a theme.

Mental illnesses can take many forms, just as physical illnesses do. Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people, but the fear will disappear as people learn more about them. If you, or someone you know, has a mental illness, there is good news: all mental illnesses can be treated.

Did you know?:
-About 1 in 5 American adults will have a mental health condition in any given year?
-But only 41 percent of them will receive services?
-About 10 percent of the American adult population will have a mood disorder, such as depression or bipolar?
-And 18 percent have an anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder?

Follow this link to see when you or someone you know should receive help. Remember, help isn’t something to be ashamed of!:
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/finding-help-when-get-it-and-where-go

One of the breakthroughs in modern psychology and neuroscience has been showing that meditation reduces depression, anxiety, stress, phobias, addictions, and many other impairments to mental health. Plus, it feels good. Fraser Collins says: “It is estimated that we have around 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day and that around 70% – 90% of the thoughts we have are negative – thus creating huge levels of stress and anxiety. So the challenge is how we reduce these thoughts?”

The answer is meditation and mindfulness. If you are unfamiliar with how to meditate, please take a moment to read the cutoff below.

If you’d like company, there is a group in SL that is there for support. Visit the Landmark below for more resources and great people.
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Shanghai%20Mountains/126/134/1750

More info:

http://www.inspirationalmentalhealth.com/p/resources.html

http://www.whathealth.com/awareness/event/nationalmentalhealthmonth.html

http://www.cmha.ca/mental-health/understanding-mental-illness/

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/mental-health-awareness-week/

http://life.utoronto.ca/stories/build-on-your-strengths-mental-health-awareness-month/

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/10/10/meditation-mental-illness-anxiety-depression_n_4076036.html

http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/07/does-meditation-help-or-hinder-mental-illnesses/

Continue reading

“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?

Review of Awareness Intensive Weeks 1-3


Review Week 4 Awareness Intensive
A short letter written by Osho:

“I speak, I work,
but I am steeped in emptiness within.
There, there is no movement.
Thus I seem to be living two lives at one time.
What a drama!
but perhaps all of life is a drama
and becoming aware of this opens the door
to a unique freedom.
That which is
inaction in action
still in motion
eternity in change
-that is truth
and that is existence.
Real life lies in this eternity –
everything else is just the stream of dreams.
In truth the world is juat a dream
and the question is not whtether to leave these dreams or not,
one just has to be aware of them.
With this awareness, everything changes.
The center moves.
A shift takes place from body to soul.
And what is there.
It cannot be told.
It has never been told
and it never will be.
There is no other way but to know it for oneself.
Death is known only through dying
and truth is known only through diving deep within oneself.”

Let us take a few minutes to breath, to centre ourselves, and find ourselves truly in the Now.
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. 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.
Let us take a few minutes to dedicate our practice to the people that need it.
During the first week we explored embodiment – what does it feel like to be here, now. Some of the questions that came up were:
Can you notice if your breath has a temperature?
When does the breath stop being breath and start being part of you?
Can you feel your whole body? Is there any tension or is it relaxed?
What is your posture like?
Can you feel the floor beneath you?
Can you feel the clothing and air against your skin?
Where does your body end and the objects touching it begin?
Can you feel the vibration of sound in your ears?
How many sounds can you hear? How far away are they?
Can you recognize when hearing stops and it’s just sound?
What can you taste? Is the taste external or internal?
What can you smell?
What does the smell remind you of?
These questions should be approached in a similar way to koans, where we hold them in our awareness but don’t pry for an answer. Don’t think about it, just feel it. See what you notice. There are no right or wrong answers.
During week two we worked with feeling. We touched on ‘Emotion’ as ‘Energy in Motion’. We worked on seeing if we could notice the ‘felt sense’ of a thought/image/emotion arising and falling away. Rather than paying attention to what the thoughts are and clinging to them, in this practice we would like to just feel them.
Some of the questions we asked in relation to this were:
Where do the thoughts/images/emotions arise?
When these feeilngs arise can you feel it in a certain place in your body?
Where does it start?
Does it move?
How long do they stay for?
Are the thoughts and sensations you are experiencing in your practice pleasant (attraction), unpleasant (aversion), or neutral?
Does the same feeling/image/emotion arise multiple times? Does it feel the same every time?
During week three we worked with our breath. When we breathe in there is a pause before we breathe out. When we breathe out there is a pause before we breathe in again. This is a still point in the middle of each breath. We spent most of the class seeing if we can notice this pause between each breath.
Our breath is the most powerful tool we have. In Taoism and qigong we find many breath practices relating to the different types of breath we can have. When we breathe quick and shallow we tend to feel uptight and anxious. When we breathe slow and deep we tend to feel relaxed and at peace. Letting out a sigh or a roar like a lion tends to make us feel better as it releases tension. Following the breath can be a very difficult practice, both because it is difficult to hold our attention there when these thoughts keep coming up in our minds, but also because when we work with our breath we are working with all of our emotions and all layers of our being. Yogis would say that our breath allows us to work with the five koshas, or sheaths, which each constitute a different aspect of being. The five koshas are constituted of a physical body, energy body, emotional body, wisdom body, and bliss body.
Our breath work is what allows us to work through all the things that these consist of – all emotion and sensation from past, present, and future. It works through our auras, our body, mind, and spirit, or anything else you’d like to call it. Anything we’ve supressed over the years or thought we worked through but didn’t really, everything that makes us who we are today is accessed through the breath. So, as you can imagine, it can be a little overwhelming. For this reason, it is advisable to take breath work one step at a time. Push to the part of practice that is uncomfortable but not painful, because just like in physical yoga asanas (postures) the uncomfortable practices are where we get stronger.
By using these three practices together you have the stepping stones for doing three different types of awareness or meditation practice, but you can also help ease yourself into your breath work. Because of the potential for intense experiences during breathing practice I advise using these as a kind of stepping stone, so rather than jumping into the boiling hot tub you can ease yourself in so you don’t get burned.
Remember, listen to your heart. If something is definitely “not okay”, don’t force yourself to do it. Things will come with time, and not every practice is right for every body.
For further reading about breath awareness please find the following links:
“We all have emotional experiences that feel terrifying, and in order to experience our natural state, we have to be willing to experience these emotions—to actually experience our ego and our ego clinging. This may feel disturbing and negative, or even insane. Most of us, consciously or unconsciously, would like meditation to be a chill-out session where we don’t have to relate to unpleasantness…”
“…But we don’t need to try so hard to sort it all out. We don’t have to attach so much meaning to what arises, and we also don’t have to identify with our emotions so strongly. All we need to do is allow ourselves to experience the energy—and in time it will move through you. It will. But we need to experience the emotion—not think about the emotion.”
Meditating with Emotions by Pema Chodron http://goo.gl/uB93bu

“It is important to remember that there is no “right” breath. If you carry with you the idea that your breath should be deep and full when in reality it is shallow, you immediately get into trouble. At times the breath is deep, at times shallow, at times freely flowing, and at other times it can feel blocked. Your practice is to be with your breath as it is, learning to let go of how you think things “should be.” Mindfulness of breathing is a practice of learning to harmonize your attention with what is, in this moment. Short, long, deep, shallow are all fine breaths. Trust your body; it knows what is needed.”
 Receiving the Breath: Meditation Q & A by Christina Feldman http://goo.gl/CM2nQx
Are there any questions or comments about this?
What has your experience been over the past few weeks?

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: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra Ch 1


Good morning, I wanted to share with you folks today a podcast that I feel is a very good overview of the four noble truths and the other teachings of the Buddha. And! It’s under an hour long. It’s a Zencast episode, talk given by Andrea Fella.

Also, I believe I did not yet upload the notes from Tuesday’s chat. We’ve started going over Patanajali’s Yoga Sutra. We made it part way through the first chapter, but I’ll give you the notes I have for the whole chapter. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments! If you’d like to join us next week you can, just click here for the SLURL. We meet every Tuesday at 7pmSLT.

I will be hosting a special event this Saturday at 11amSLT on Dogen’s Mountains and Waters Sutra. If you’d like to read it ahead of time, which I do suggest as it’s a pretty heavy text, you can click here. Many other translations are available on the web as well. Join my group “Creativity; Karma” or my Google+ Community to keep up to date on events.

Tantra: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Welcome to Perfect Paradise! I’m so honoured 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 chosing 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.

Let us open with a brief mindfulness exercise…please take a moment to make yourself comfortable, drink some water, and stop any and all distractions you are able to.

Once you’re comfortable, preferably sitting, with your head, neck and truck straight, eyes open or closed, whatever is more comfortable, become aware of your body where it comes in contact with the earth…

Notice how the earth is providing continual support…

Notice what it feels like to be supported…

Now become aware of the sensation of weight…

Notice what it feels like to be an object of gravity…

Feel the sensation of weight in different parts of your body – from your head, to your shoulders, to your chest, trunk, hips, legs and feet…

Avoid using thoughts, rely instead on physical sensation, and really examine what weight and gravity feel like.

Please find yourself coming back into the discussion with ease, take a drink of water or tea if you feel the need, and we can get started in just a moment. If you’d care to share, please tell us how was your experience?

1.1 Now is when yoga begins.

Some translations take sutra 1.1 to be an explanation of the text. In my experience, however, the first sutra of any text is the most important description of the meaning of the entire text. This, to me shows that yoga practice is accessible in every moment, in every “now”. Some other translations are: “Now, instruction in Union.” and, “thus, with certainty, we delve into the definitive explication of yoga.” So, thus we go.

We won’t be able to go through the entire Yoga Sutra, since there are 196 sutra’s in four chapters, but we will have a brief overview today. You can find many translations online free of charge. A concise overview (and fairly accessible translation) can be found here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/yogasutr.htm for further reading.

I got the photo’s on the board behind me from this outstanding website: http://atma.mobi/category/ch-1-sutras-1-1-1-51/

1.2 Yoga is the control of the (moral) character of thought; the re-channeling of the impressions and habits of the mind and the control of the fluctuations of consciousness.

In other words, yoga aims to reflect the true nature of the person. Persons, in Patanjali’s view, are intrinsically pure, benign moral beings. You may be familiar with the moral code, more frequently known as the eight limbs of yoga. We will explore this a little later, but they first appeared in these Yoga Sutra’s as well.

Patanjali holds a dualistic view that distinguishes persons from the natural world, but this view should be distinguished from the dualisms prominent in the western world where the mind (soul) is regarded as the essential feature of persons. For Indian dualists such as Patanjali the mind is typically seen as a feature of the natural world, dependent on the conditions of the elements.

1.3 Then, the seer can abide in its essence; dwell in their own nature.

Upon realizing union, the seer can be free of the creations of the mind; free of the misconceptions that lead us to wrong-doing and immoral action. We can find our original state.

1.5 There are five characters of thought, or mental habits – some afflicted, degrading, others not afflicted, uplifting.

Sutras 1.6-1.11 deal directly with describing these epistemic states.

1.6 These five states are: knowledge, illusion, verbal delusion, sleep and memory. In other words,

be aware of what is actually in front of you,
mistake what is in front of you,
imagine or fantasize something,
be unconscious, or
remember something.

1.7 We attain knowledge through (empirical) perception, inference (logic) and the scriptural traditions (ie. a reliable source).

1.8 Illusion is the improper comprehension (of real objects) not based on their true forms.

In other words, you are trusting your senses, which could be (and probably are) flawed. Perceptual error always contains a grain of truth in it, because Patanjali sees illusion not just on pure imagination but but a misperception of real objects.

1.9 Verbal delusion arises when words do not track (real) objects.

All of language is a metaphor. You can say with certainty, “That is a couch.” But, it could be used as a bed, or a table if you were sitting on the floor, and if you take it apart all of the things that make it up are not couches in and of themselves, they are bolts and screws, planks, wood, material, padding, etc. And even that doesn’t give you the true essence of what those things are. Any time we use language we are put our own perceptions and understanding behind it, and the person we are communicating with may not have the same perception or understanding, therefore making the communication delusional.

1.10 Deep sleep is the morally evaluatable character of mentality conditioned by the relationship between the awareness of nothing and nothingness; it is the mental habit characterized by the absence of form.

Sleep is a positive state of experience, note, this is not necessarily referring to dreams. In the practice of yoga nidra, for example, we give our minds something to focus on, such as embodiment or following a sound or guided imagery in order to maintain the mind. These objects of focus are not real object as they exist only in our minds, and therefore are nothing, empty, and inconsequential and meaningless to existence. This suggests that the mind can’t function without being “turned off” regularly.

1.11 Memory is the prevention of loss of experienced content; sensory experiences.

Samskaras, or the imprints left on the mind from past experiences make up our karma, and are barely distinguishable from memories, except that they exist unconsciously most often, where we may not remember them. It is said that we actively hold on to these by participating in the continuous cyclic existence of suffering. Through yoga, we can relinquish these impressions. This implies that, by putting effort into defining ourselves through past experiences, we can also let go of these experiences and redefine ourselves. This can be accomplished over time with many different practices, namely nonattachment.

☯☯☯☯☯☯☯

1.16 Greater than detachment from the material world is to lose all interest in the very fabric of our reality. This comes from experiencing the nature of Consciousness (soul).

Here we are transcending the qualities of nature and directly perceiving the soul. This practice takes a very long time to achieve. Essentially this is achieving bliss.

Sutras 1.23-1.29 deal with attaining union, or success in yoga, through meditation on the Lord. It mention chanting Om, the primordial seed syllable. In doing this you can reach the knowledge of consciousness, intelligence and volition, and also nullify the impediments to that knowledge.

1.30 Illness, apathy, doubt, negligence, sloth, non restraint, delusion, perspectivism, failing to be grounded (flightiness/hyperactivity), and inconsistency, scatter the mind and constitute an impediment to yoga; act as barriers to stillness.

These are the obstacles to practicing yoga.

1.31 Accompanying these distractions are discomfort, depression, trembling of the body, and disturbed inhalation and exhalation.

Interestingly, these are all signs of poor health. It also mentions breathing, or pranayama. If you’ve been to my other discussions you’ll be familiar with a few pranayama practices.

1.33 Consciousness settles as one radiates friendliness, compassion, delight, and equanimity toward all things, whether pleasant or painful, good or bad.

In order to overcome these disturbances one can practice compassion and equanimity…beautiful words of wisdom. In Buddhism these four practices are called brahmavihara, or the “divine state”. Rather than the yogi transcending right and wrong, they are to view them with equanimity. In other words, you can’t look down at someone who is unsuccessful in yoga, but great them with compassion. Every situation, good or bad, that we are in is an opportunity to practice yoga, and we should be thankful for this.

In order to do this successfully we need to rid ourselves of negative reactions and worrying over problems. Patanajali lists the ways of doing this as practicing pranayama, meditation (“binding the mind into stillness to observe the contents of the mind as they arise”), non attachment, awareness, embodiment, insights culled from sleep and dreaming, and oneness.

That is all I have for tonight. Thank you all so much for coming and sharing your energy with us today! It truly was a pleasure. Namaste, hugs! I now open the floor to casual conversation.