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Coming Home to Ourselves, A Meditation Experience

Have you ever had the feeling of being at Home in yourself? How did it feel in your body? What else became available in those moments? What did you come to know as true?

Perhaps it was in a moment where circumstances or conditions were not necessarily perfect.  It might even have felt a little messy, yet at the same time you experienced the ease or the peacefulness of Being at home in your humanity.  The messy parts were not denied. The ‘put together’ parts were not held close. It was all just allowed to Be.

This ground of Being can feel natural and familiar, almost like we have always known how to Be.  We have just forgotten. The felt sense of Being can reveal an underlying stillness, spaciousness and silence.  This unchanging ground gently embraces the depths of our changing humanity.

How do we get there?  Well, perhaps there is no where to get.  It is already here, and what is needed is pause and rest. The portal is the field of the body itself. 

What do we do when we are there?  Once we are oriented, there is nothing to do.  We can Be, feel and sense what already is.

On April 21st I’ll be offering a meditation event at Yoga Yoga North.  While words can convey understanding, ultimately the jewel is known in experience itself.  With this in mind, I will orient briefly to practices and then guide you toward your direct experience and the wisdom within.

Our time will include gentle and enlivening pranayama and movement.  There will be periods of pause, and quiet sitting or reclining. I will lead you through a longer guided iRest® yoga nidra meditation, and we will also explore the ground of Being through walking meditation.  Our time will close with inquiry, journaling, and sharing as it feels appropriate to you. This will be open to all levels. There are no barriers to Being. All that is needed is the curiosity to explore.

Yoga Yoga North, April 21, 1-4:30pm 

registration: http://www.yogayoga.com/calendar/details?event_id=31914981

be easy. take your time. you are coming home. to yourself.   Nayyirah Waheed

Simplicity

I had the pleasure of sitting with some dear students yesterday, and I listened as they shared their reflections after meditation.  The feeling and idea of simplicity surfaced, especially in contrast to the moments of life that instead feel complex and complicated.  How often are we caught in the web of our thinking mind?  How often are we chasing our ideas and beliefs, our past and future, our sorrows and joys?  While this is a part of our human experience and not to be denied, it is also exhausting if this our prominent way of navigating life.

What if we had the space to lay all of this to Rest just for a while, allowing it to come and go like the clouds in the sky?  Instead of being caught inside the clouds, we could feel the space through which they move.  We could begin to open to the fullness of the moment and our direct experience by way of sensations and vibration.  For moments or more, we might open to the Simplicity of just this.  Just Being.  This is not something that we can strive toward or try to think our way into.  That only perpetuates the narrow and constricted conditioning.  Instead we avail ourselves to moments of Being, feeling and sensing our way into Life beneath the complexity and conditioning.  These moments and spaces allow us to return to our natural state: open, undirected and uncontrived.

When we emerge back into life, we may carry insights that were otherwise not available through the thinking mind.  We may feel a fresh and new relationship to the very same situations and people.  This can arise quickly or even days, weeks, months later.  I’ll share an example of this from my walk early this morning.  I stepped into the crisp morning air caught in a mind full of things to do and stories about the week’s unfolding.  Several minutes into my walk, my attention opened to the gentle rush of cool air across my skin, warm sun upon my face.  My eyes caught the vibrant, green leaves on the trees, not just seeing, but also feeling.  These same trees just weeks prior were barren.  My whole body began to fill with vibration, and for some moments I was available to the simplicity and the beauty of life.  I returned to my house not feeling as limited for time, nor feeling the urgency of my to do’s.  I knew they would get done, and even if not, things would likely be fine. I felt open and free, at least for a while.

If this resonates, I encourage you to allow for spaces in your day, brief pauses between tasks, between arriving and leaving work, or dropping off children.  Allow these moments to give you the opportunity to return to the simplicity of Being and aliveness of Life.  If you are interested in more of this, I will be offering a 3 1/2 hour event at Yoga Yoga North on April 21, 1 to 4:30pm, Coming Home to Ourselves.  You are welcome to read a brief post about what I hope to offer.

I’ll leave you with this poem by Mary Oliver.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Retreating and Remembering

I am returning home from leading a weeklong retreat in Tulum, Mexico, and I am filled with gratitude, joy, compassion and inspiration.  I am not even sure I have all the words to describe the experience.  We had a diverse age group, ranging from the 30’s to approaching 70.  There were a few folks who knew one other participant, and most who didn’t know anyone. They traveled from as far as Paris, France to embark on an adventure within themselves.  I was inspired by the courage that it must have taken to show up in this way.

I am so grateful for my teaching partner, Karlie Lemos, with whom I had not before taught.  Serendipity led me to her, and intuition led much of what and how we shared throughout the week.  Together we held a space of no agenda and non-judgement.  We offered practices daily, but none of it was imposed or required.  We asked that each individual honored what would serve them most.  There were generous spaces between offerings for time alone, connecting with others, frolicking in the water and the sand, and connecting with nature.  There was song and dance, tears and joy, quiet and conversation.

I had the great honor of witnessing the unfolding of this beautiful circle of human beings over the course of the week.  As I sat this morning back home in Austin, I was filled with emotion, my body almost too small to contain it.

This week I remembered that we all have stories, and that what we see on the surface conveys so little of the depths within.  I remembered that we all want to belong.  We want to feel seen, heard and held, just as we are.  And beneath the stories and the heartaches, there is something radiant, beautiful and limitless.  It has always been there.  It is ancient as the stars.  Only we need safe spaces, unstructured time and community to remember.  I hope that this week served in this way, a time for meeting our humanity and for planting the seeds of remembering our True, whole and unbroken nature.  As we transition back into this dance of life, as much as we will forget and stray, I trust that we will remember and return home.  Often.

We are all just walking each other Home.  Ram Dass

the Wisdom of the Body

Finally, this week we will begin to explore why we spend so much time in the field of the body in meditation.  The body can be a source of many things: pain and pleasure, birth and death, health and illness … the list goes on.  The body is a play (lila as spoken in sanskrit) of these opposites of experience, truly a dance of that which is always changing.  When we embody this dance and its vibration, perhaps there are moments we drop beneath the appearance of opposites, and we deepen into the unchanging essence of Being … Being that is complete, whole, perfect and timeless.

As much as we may try, we cannot think our way into this experience, we arrive by feeling and sensing our way into what already is and has always been here.  Please don’t take this as your truth.  I offer it to you as an exploration, so that you can recognize Truth in your own way.  If you are able to think yourself into this unchanging experience, please share it with me.  As a student, my intention is to remain open and curious.  I will continue to share some reflections and guidance on exploring the realm of the body in future posts.

For now, I leave you with some words from Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now.

“Do not turn away from the body, for within that symbol of impermanence, limitation, and death … is concealed the splendor of your essential and immortal reality.  Do not turn your attention elsewhere in your search for the Truth, for it is nowhere to be found but within your body.

Do not fight against the body, for in doing so you are fighting against your own reality.  You are your body.  The body that you can see and touch is only a thin illusory veil.  Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into Being, into Life Unmanifested.  Through the inner body,  you are inseparably connected to this unmanifested One Life – birthless, deathless, eternally present.”

 

 

Thank you SAFE

After four weeks and forty hours of exploration, reflection and training with SAFE Alliance, I am in awe of the depth and the breadth of the work this organization does in an area that, lightly put, is difficult to navigate.  This training has enriched me in so many ways, and I am only just starting to integrate.  It has shed a much needed light on the broader history and social context of violence, abuse and oppression, and the systems that perpetuate them. In my own world, I am waking up to the norms, beliefs, and behaviors that support and normalize the aforementioned.  At the same time, I am becoming aware of the work being done in the way of prevention, intervention and advocacy.  In a world where I have at times felt helpless, I am beginning to see where I can become involved and engaged.

I have yet to see exactly where this path will take me, but I leave this training more informed and awake as a human being, a partner and especially as a parent of two incredible girls.  One of my greatest devotions is the work I do as a parent, the safety I can create in my home, and the way I can encourage my girls to see themselves and the world around them.  In my role as a teacher and a guide, I am ever more committed to creating and holding spaces that feel safe and grounded for those who come to explore meditation and self-inquiry.

This moment feels right and in harmony with where life has been leading me.

I am so grateful for the integrity, the heart and the devotion with which all of the staff and the presenters at SAFE led this training, and for all the people who choose to do this work … to stand up and speak for those who have been oppressed, abused and diminished.  I am inspired by their dedication to lifting these communities up, and seeing them as whole, unbroken and complete beings who have the great potential of finding and reclaiming their place in this world.

Most of all, thank you to my girls, my husband and my mom for their gracious support.  I know that this training would not have been possible without it.  ❤