Chopra and Oprah, At It Again

You may have noticed the phenomenon that someone is always socialmedia-sharing their progression through one Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra meditation program or another. They’ve become very popular. After all, who wouldn’t want to take a lesson from these two inspirational people? Plus, who can argue against the benefits of daily meditation?

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My friends and family certainly seem more grateful and shiny as they write about what they have learned about life and themselves on any given day of the programs.

I want in! Not only does daily meditation always sound like a fun and worthy intention, but getting a syllabus and a daily pat on the back might be the right recipe to get it beyond my fits and starts.

So when a friend sent me this……

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…I said, “Sign me up!”

The program begins on July 13th. I don’t know exactly what it entails, but away we go! If you like the idea of guided daily meditation and an online community with whom to enjoy the experience, join us!! I definitely know myself well enough to know that I will NOT be posting regular “Today I am grateful for…” posts, but I’ll try to share some thoughts and updates. It’s always more fun if we do it together. 🙂

You can go to THEIR WEBSITE HERE to register. Or get there through their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ChopraMeditation .

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Travel Tuesday: Silent Meditation Retreat

Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

It’s so fun to make a list of the places in the world you’d like to go. It’s interesting to ask yourself why you picked the places on your list. I have recently been considering the possibilities and with last week’s post about The Elephant Nature Park, I began this series: Travel Tuesdays. I would love to hear about your favorite places to travel too!

This week, I’m writing about silent meditation retreats. During some online daydreaming, I came across a list on The Huffington Post called, Silent Retreats: 10 Fantastic Retreat Centers in the U.S. For Peace and Quiet. Massachusetts and California rule the list, but there are other highly-ranked  locations in Oregon, North Carolina, and Hawaii.

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I wondered, what would be the benefits and challenges of a silent meditation retreat versus a regular meditation retreat? I can imagine the liberation of releasing the need to verbalize everything or to employ social niceties with everyone you encounter. I think for me it would be relatively easy to be silent…with the exception of the fact that I’m a chronic hummer and self-talker! I can imagine hearing new sounds you’d never noticed before. Like the quote above describes, I can imagine perceiving subtle energies in different kinds of silences. It all sounds lovely.

 "Listening to the Wind in Pines," by Ma Lin

“Listening to the Wind in Pines,” by Ma Lin

And what about the challenges? I know that sometimes when I’ve had a solitary day I feel a little stir-crazy in my own head (hence the self-talk). We are perpetually wanting to say what we think, how we feel. We want to ask questions and inquire. Being called to transcend those impulses would be quite the test. A worthy one I think! I also think there is a good chance that many hidden inner parts, seeking the ear that has suddenly become available, would present themselves and all of their needs. As long as there were skillful guides to help navigate these challenges, I would love to give this kind of retreat a try.

Have you ever been on a silent retreat? If so, where and for how long? And what did you think? Would you recommend a silent retreat to a fellow seeker?

For now, a silent retreat is officially on my list of “Get Me There!” places.

More next week. Enjoy your wanderlust and be beautiful.

~~~S Wave~~~

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Exercise Your Inner Senses

“The inner senses will allow you to perceive the reality that is independent of physical form.… Try this simple exercise.…

…pretend that you are on a lighted stage, the stage being the room in which you now sit. Close your eyes and pretend that the lights have gone out, the setting has disappeared and you are alone.

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Everything is dark. Be quiet. Imagine as vividly as you can the existence of inner senses. For now pretend that they correspond to your physical ones. Clear from your mind all thoughts and worries. Be receptive. Very gently listen, not to physical sounds but to sounds that come through the inner senses.

Images may begin to appear. Accept them as sights quite as valid as those you see physically. Pretend that there is an inner world, and that it will be revealed to you as you learn to perceive it with these inner senses.

Pretend that you have been blind to this world all your life, and are now slowly gaining sight within it. Do not judge the whole inner world by the disjointed images that you may at first perceive, or by the sounds that you may at first hear, for you will still be using your inner senses quite imperfectly.

Do this simple exercise for a few moments before sleep or in the resting state. It may also be done even in the midst of an ordinary task that does not take all of your attention.

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“Meditation” by Jepchumba

You will simply be learning to focus in a new dimension of awareness, taking quick snapshots, as it were, in a strange environment. Remember that you will only be perceiving snatches. Simply accept them, but do not attempt to make any overall judgments or interpretations at this stage.

10 minutes a day to begin with is quite sufficient.”

From Jane Roberts, Seth Speaks

Untethered Soul, Chapter 4: Get Me Lucid!

“What differentiates a conscious, centered being from a person who is not so conscious is simply the focus of their awareness. It’s not a difference in the consciousness itself.… Just as all light from the sun is the same, all awareness is the same.”

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Are you lucid?

Now that you know you are aware, based on the last four posts we’ve shared covering the topics in The Untethered Soul, have you found yourself being more aware that you are aware? Chapter 4 is called The Lucid Self and wraps up Part 1 for us. So let’s see what Singer has to say about all this awareness stuff before we launch into the very exciting Part 2, Experiencing Energy.

A lucid dream, as you probably know, is a dream in which often you are flying but especially in which you know that you are dreaming while having the dream. Michael Singer says that similarly if you are aware that you are Awareness, then you are lucid.

Throughout the day you might not be aware that you are Awareness. But when you’re seated in the self you’re lucid, aware that the thoughts, feelings, judgments, labels, emotions that you are experiencing are not you but that they are the dream in which you are immersed. Or, if it resonates more with you, they are the movie in which you are immersed.

Singer uses the analogy of TV to make clear that we can allow our awareness, or our consciousness, to wander. When you’re watching TV, you often don’t focus at all on what else is going on in the room, or the time that his passing. In the same way, we can get wrapped up in what Singer calls our “inner show.”

Let me get a little personal to make this more relevant. I don’t just want to write chapter summaries here. I want to be real and I want you to take something from this for your OWN lives. In thinking about all this in relation to my own life and trying to think of a way to make it functional for you readers, I ended up noticing that there are three levels of lucidity for me. (Nothing is really so easily categorized, but for the sake of ease let’s say three levels.)

Level 1: I Love Lucid!

This strongest level of lucidity happens for me during times of meditation and prayer when I can remove all distraction and “go inside” to be in the witness seat. With practice, I am more and more able to remain there fairly steadfastly and commune with whoever/whatever I want to from that place. When I began the exercise of silent mediation a few years ago it was MUCH harder to quiet down and let the monkey brain relax. Now, I can get myself into that seat of witness with more ease and once there, I let the prayer begin…if that is what needs to happen. I rarely start with prayer anymore (unless I am praying with someone in person) because it is much better for me to get into the seat of Self and pray from that spot instead of just sitting down and praying from a more ego-run place.

Level 2: Lucid or Lose It!

My Level 2 is the point where I have to work out my awareness muscles. It is where I am inundated by distractions of my external movie and internal reactions and so my intention and effort to remain aware of my awareness is in full effect. This would be for example while I am driving my car in busy traffic, while at the grocery store, hiking at the busy and bustling Hollyridge Trail, or surrounded by energies at a family gathering. Basically, anywhere that is not my quiet meditation spot requires me to flex my awareness muscle!

The great thing though it that I fully believe that the more I flex, the easier it will become. It is very liberating to be among people and egos and be in the seat of witness, from which I can interact with them with less attachment, emotion, and defensiveness. Things get to me less, traffic is okay because all things unfold as they are meant to, people are more lovable because they are on a journey just as I am, etc. You get the idea. Stuff is just better.

Level 3: Luciwhat?

This Level is where I am not at all lucid. Not even thinking about it. Forgot all about my Self. Totally engrossed in my movie and emotions. What are we even talking about?

This inattention happens most frequently and intensely when I’m at work. Work is busy, busy, busy; I have anxieties that get triggered easily at work; I am almost constantly in someone else’s presence so there is little gratuitous alone time. In a social situation I can step aside and get reentered before entering back into the pool of egos. At work, not so easy.

No guilt though. This level just gives me a challenge, helps me set a goal. What would it be like, after all, to be more Self and less Ego at work?? It probably would be pretty amazing. I probably wouldn’t feel as stressed or nervous.

So those are my levels. What about you? Where is your awareness throughout the day? Is it in your movie, in your emotions? do you remember at different points in your coming and going that you are much, much more than all of that external and internal gunk?

“You will find that you are tremendously expansive.… You realize that your consciousness only appears to be small and limited because you are focusing on small and limited objects. ” Pg. 37

I’m setting a goal. I’m going to try recalling my true identity during my work days. That’s at least 40 hours a week in which I have a chance to be more of who I want to be! To be more free! To be more authentic! What a great opportunity.

Will you join me? If you have already grasped your true identity through reading the previous Untethered posts, now think about when and where you can bring that awareness of awareness into your daily life. I’ll meet you there!

With Love,

~~~S Wave~~~

Untethered Soul: Introduction

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Happy November everyone!

The past month has been full of a lot of learning. It’s been very busy here and even though I haven’t written much, my Life As a Wave family is always on my mind.

I’ve been doing more and more energy therapy and prayer support with people, both friends and family, and with NEW friends that come my way via word-of-mouth. I’ve been taking some new classes to hone these skills and am still holding down my fabulous 9-5. Walking more and more in my passion and purpose and loving it! But more on that later…

One resource from which I’ve gotten a lot of peace and power during this time of growth is a book I read recently. It is called The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. It is the kind of book I want to go back and read again and again. And so, instead of doing that by myself, I want to invite all of you to join me in a week by week “reading” of the untethered soul. I know it’s hard to sit down and read the kinds of encouraging, inspiring, nourishing books on our wish list. But you deserve that encouragement, inspiration and nourishment! So let me make it easier for you!

Each week I will summarize one chapter and propose ways that we can take the ideas from that chapter and bring them into our “real” lives. I hope you will follow along with us and through this process I hope we can each experience some measure of benefit in.

For today, let me introduce, well, the introduction. 🙂 It opens with a quote from William Shakespeare: “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Singer uses this quote to pose the conundrum to us of what the “self” really is. (Buckle up, because this is the heart of the book!) Is it Freud’s ego, superego, id? Is it the part of us that feels strong emotions? Is it our mind? Is it our ethics?

Here, the author unveils that in this book the real meaning of self is determined by one expert alone… You. To be clear, you are not an expert based on your studies, on your philosophies. It is based on your “direct experience,” the “intuitive experience of what it is like to be you. ” Through the chapters to come, Singer will elaborate on the premise that when all the distractions and opinions and voices are pulled away and you are guided to realize your true self, then you are also therefore able to free your own self. This is a matter of empowerment. Clarity. For now, embrace the idea that you are the best expert on knowing what your self is, you just might not know that yet.

And so, for this first week let us ruminate on that question: What is your “self?” To thine own self be true… What is that? What does that really mean? And let’s not only ponder it with our minds, but also with our hearts. In existential meditation one poses a question and allows that question to repeat itself in the heart and mind as the person remains still and receptive. Let the question marinate, let it rest in your awareness throughout the week and see what kinds of responses you get from the world. 

Next week I will begin summarizing Part 1 with Chapter 1, “The Voice Inside Your Head.” It’s a good one! Stay tuned!

 

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Freedom On the Mat

 

Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems.
― Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

 

I’ve been practicing yoga on my own now for a while but just this past year I have been practicing with others at a yoga studio. The presence of others can certainly challenge the practice, especially initially! Judgement, embarrassment, distraction, all kinds of energies swirling around the room…it can be difficult to focus with all these things contending for attention. Our mind wants to react to it all!

What a joy it has been to face these exterior and inner workings with curiosity. By no means have I overcome the temptations of the mind during my practice, but that’s not really the point anyway is it? Instead of overcoming (a bit too violent a term for me these days) the mind and its wanderings, what is better sought perhaps is a steady awareness in the midst of the wanderings. Or, as others have talked about it, remaining in the Seat of the Witness as distractions come and go, generating reactionary thoughts and emotions in our psyche.

Now, on a great day, I am eager for the challenge of going with the “flow,” riding the waves, and letting my yoga practice be one of mindfulness as well. Even on a not-so-great day I find that I can at the least be comfortable with the surroundings and the resulting mind chatter, knowing that each practice is unique and has something to teach. I have also come to terms with my yoga practice being JUST. WHAT. IT. IS. …no more and no less. I begin with fewer expectations, judge myself less, enjoy my breath more, and notice unfamiliar nuances of my body electric with great gratitude. The practice guides me more and more and there is actually a great sense of freedom in that.

Last evening, as I meditated and prayed in my room, sitting on my yoga mat, I was struck with the similarity of the challenges one faces in these activities as well. Challenges and benefits. Outer distraction, the wandering mind, physical discomfort, self-judgment…there they are, ready to greet you during your “quiet time” (an ironic label actually.) They require the same detached allowing as they do in yoga. And, just as the yoga mat can teach us to remain open to what our body calls us to do during our yoga practice, so too the mat of spiritual practice beckons us to heed what our hearts call us to do in spiritual practice. When we let go of rules and scripts before going inside to meet with god and our Self in prayer and meditation, we find that same freedom that we find in yoga. We flow in the trusting of our Selves, our body, and our connection to god.

May you find freedom on your mat!

Blessings,

~~~S Wave~~~

 

Your Weekend To-Do (Good) List!

The weekend To-Do (Good) List returns this weekend to give you some suggestions for ways to include altruism and activism, introspection and evolution, compassion and connection in your weekend!

1. Good for the Animals

The Performing Animals Welfare Society provides a new home to animals who have been used (and frequently abused) in the entertainment industries. One of their residents needs a little help and it couldn’t be an easier assignment for you! Here is their request:

Ferguson, PAWS macaque, has become more ape-like as he reaches middle age. A few years ago he began destroying his mattresses so we decided to provide him with disposable beds made of paper or straw stuffed inside a pillowcase. We now have an ongoing need for used pillowcases. If you have used pillowcases you would like to donate to Ferguson, please mail them to our Galt office at P. O. Box 849, Galt, CA 95632.

2. Good For Others

The Greater Good Science Center just added an article about the importance of social connection for the lives of seniors. How can you take some time out of your busy weekend to be that connection for them?

Here are some ideas:

– Schedule a visit to a local retirement community…if you’ve got a skill to share, share it! My Grandmother enjoys it when visitors come to her assisted living community to perform, visit, bring their therapy animals, join in game night, etc. Be creative! Maybe you can simply bring some flowers to distribute door to door. Or a St. Patrick’s Day token. Or offer to drive a resident to run some errands or attend church.

– Call a senior you know! Take time to really listen to them. A phone call may not fulfill their need for daily community, but for that hour you will be a welcomed connection. Don’t know any senior who might appreciate a call?….Nah, I don’t believe you.

– Establish a plan to incorporate your senior loved ones into your family routine more consistently. Build that “village” that we know benefits our kids, our elders, and ourselves.

3. Good For You

Take a lesson from St. Patrick! Did you know that St. Patrick was taken captive from Roman Britain when he was a teen and kept in Ireland for 6 years in servitude until he escaped? In some of his writing he said:

The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same. … I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.

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As part of your To-Do (Good) assignment I suggest you spend some time meditating on what you can learn from his experience. I don’t want to be too leading here since it will be YOUR meditation, but I’ll just say that you don’t have to be a catholic to relate to his revelation.

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Have a wonderful weekend! Make sure to report back on any other good things you added to your

To-Do (Good) list. We would love to hear them!

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